From horse to "velocipede"

From horse to

  • Triumph of the velocipede. The stable of the Marquis de Lagrange in 1870.

  • Regina.

    CHAPELLER Philippe

To close

Title: Triumph of the velocipede. The stable of the Marquis de Lagrange in 1870.

Author :

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 21.4 - Width 18.5

Technique and other indications: Colored lithograph. Extract from the publication "Actualités"

Storage location: National Museum of Car and Tourism website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux website

Picture reference: 06-531137 / MV1304

Triumph of the velocipede. The stable of the Marquis de Lagrange in 1870.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux

To close

Title: Regina.

Author : CHAPELLER Philippe (-)

Date shown:

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Handcoloured lithograph. Advertising poster for the Regina velocipede. Text of the poster: "Finally! He got off his horse to ride a RÉGINA".

Storage location: National Museum and Castle Estate of Pau (Pau) website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - V. Dubourg

Picture reference: 94-055931 / P.84-16-1

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - V. Dubourg

Publication date: June 2011

Historical context

The "velocipede" of the 1870s at the turn of the XXe century

Invented by Pierre Michaux in 1861, the pedal bicycle quickly became very popular. From the 1870s, clubs, races and specialized newspapers multiplied, and the practice of "velocipede", which was at first a "bourgeois hobby", gradually became more democratic. In the city and then in the countryside, the "velocipede" then becomes a new means of transport and walk which competes and replaces the horse in uses and representations, as illustrated by the two images studied here, Triumph of the velocipede. The stable of the Marquis de Lagrange in 1870 and the advertising poster for the Régina velocipede.

Image Analysis

A new mount

Published in the journal News during the period 1870-1880, the print Triumph of the velocipede. The stable of the Marquis de Lagrange in 1870 depicts a large stable room where large wheels, seemingly aligned to infinity, have replaced the horses. Strictly speaking, these are not bicycles (two-wheeled and pedal-operated), they do, however, refer to the "velocipede", which still took various forms at the time. The unnecessary presence of the stable boy (with his brush and his bucket which, if they could be used to clean the wheels, should rather have been intended for the animals) and of a guard in uniform completes the suggestion of a "revolution" on a comical and funny fashion.

Made by illustrator Philippe Chapellier at the start of the 20th centurye century, the advertising poster for the Regina velocipede uses the historical figure of King Henry IV. All in period armor, the famous sculpture of the monarch of Pont-Neuf abandons his horse to ride the brand's most modern bicycle, arousing the surprise and panic of passers-by.

Interpretation

Images of modernity

Quite obviously and similarly, both prints humorously emphasize the idea that the bicycle is the horse of modern times. If it is not strictly speaking an advertisement, Triumph of the velocipede. The stable of the Marquis de Lagrange in 1870 reports on the success of the new machine. Produced at the start of this "revolution", the illustration can still exploit its novelty: by dazzlingly replacing the horse, it disrupts customs, leaving the Marquis's staff helpless. Still not very democratic in 1870, the velocipede remains here, like the horse, a practice associated with a social rank: only a marquis can have a stable in which to store these new "mounts".

More recent, the advertising poster for the Régina velocipede shows a state-of-the-art bicycle, the technical excellence of which can be guessed, excellence that the sovereign's metal armor can highlight both by contrast and by visually inscribing itself. gleaming, in the continuation of the beautiful mechanics of the velocipede. The opposition between the speed of Henri IV (despite his armor) and the immobility of the statue (and therefore of the horse), by definition frozen in time, is that of modernity and tradition. Henri IV can thus finally "escape" from historic old Paris (the Pont-Neuf is the oldest in the capital) and, rider of new times, conquer the city's space at full speed. If the brand name as the historical figure chosen evoke royalty, they refer more to the quality of the product (the best bike for the great man) than to a certain elitism of this type of leisure, already in the process of democratization, the "Claims" the proposing besides here to the greatest number.

  • Bourbons
  • New Bridge
  • publicity
  • bike

Bibliography

Pierre CHANY, La Fabuleuse Histoire du cyclisme, volume I “From the origins to 1955”, Paris, Nathan, 1988.Alain CORBIN (dir.), L'Avénement des loisirs (1850-1960), Paris, Aubier, 1995.Pryor DODGE , The Great History of Cycling, Paris, Flammarion, 1996.

To cite this article

Alexandre SUMPF, "From the horse to the" velocipede ""


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