Notre-Dame Water Pump

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View of the water pump which used to stand at the pont Notre-Dame, with its timber pile structure
Notre-Dame pump.




University of California Libraries, The Internet Archive


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View of the water pump which used to stand against the pont Notre-Dame, showing the timber pile structure extending over the Seine, the tower containing the pump, and the houses surrounding it. On the water, two men can be seen operating a fishing net from a small boat.

The Notre-Dame water pump was demolished in 1858 as part of Haussmann’s plan for the renovation of Paris. Méryon mentioned this etching in a letter to Paul Mantz dated June 4, 1853:

La Pompe Notre-Dame is a very nearly accurate reproduction of that building, which, it is said, is soon to disappear. I have nevertheless allowed myself to make a few modifications, and changed the proportions of certain parts, in order to relieve the monument of some of its heaviness. The towers[1] also rise a little higher than in reality, but I consider that these licenses are allowed, as this is, so to speak, the way in which the mind works as soon as the object which made an impression upon it has disappeared from before the eyes…

(La Pompe Notre-Dame est à bien peu près la reproduction textuelle de cette bâtisse qui va, dit-on, bientôt disparaître. Je me suis cependant permis quelques petits changements, en modifiant les rapports de certaines parties, dans le but d’enlever au monument un peu de sa lourdeur. Les tours saillent aussi un peu plus que dans la réalité ; mais je considère que ce sont licences permises, puisque c’est pour ainsi dire dans ce sens que travaille l’esprit, sitôt que l’objet qui l’a frappé a disparu de devant les yeux…[2])

(Translation ours)

  1. ^ of Notre-Dame Cathedral.
  2. ^ Quoted in Delteil, Loys. Le peintre-graveur illustré, vol. 2. Paris: 1907, plate 31.
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