Cave Series: Bruguiere’s “Grotte de Courniou” (The Glass Spinner’s Palace)

Bruguiere was a manufacturer that created exemplary quality 45×107″ stereoviews in postwar 1940s, before switching to 35mm film in 4-up sets to be fed into a stereoscope similar to a Lestrade. While I’m generally uninterested in most of the subject matter put out by Bruguiere, there’s no denying the quality of the slides – a thick, somewhat scratch-resistant emulsion with a warm orange tone was used. The views, in general, are nice and crisp. So when I found one that translated roughly to “Cave of Courniou”, I decided to grab it – I always find caves to be a fun afternoon. It just arrived in the mail yesterday – let’s take a look, shall we?

It took a bit – well, quite a bit really – of research to find out more about the subject pictured, before diving into the slides themselves. The cave in question is actually known as the Grotte de la Devèze, or “The Glass Spinner’s Palace”, as I eventually found out by translating pages from the French wikipedia page through Google Translate. The English language version was virtually useless in researching the place – in fact, this is the page on Couniou – which gives me a few population numbers as well as the department that the commune is located in. Utterly useless.

So now I had a cave name, but lacked any details as to what I was viewing through the scope – though I was impressed with the views. The tones were great, there was barely a defect on any of the slides, and the stereo merges worked wonderfully. If they seemed a bit repetitive, one must remember that this cave only has 7 major rooms in it, with a lower level that only serious speleologists may attempt to explore. I got to the end and what do you know? I find this:

The index to Bruguiere’s “Grotte de Courniou” – translations will be in the captions of the various scans.

I guess it pays to go looking for the index with commercial glass – since I mostly buy amateur Great War glass, I don’t generally get any context besides what’s written on a slide or, particularly, what’s seen when viewing it. And on that note, enjoy the stereoviews!

“1. Cascades and Organs”
“2. The Altar and the Candle.”
“3. Details of the ceiling of the Altar. The Hunting Horn.”
“4. The Crystal Basin.”
“5. Morel and Pink Flow. “
“6. The Gours.”
“7. The Grande Coulée.”
“8. The Trees. In the foreground: The Serpent.”
“9. The Draperies Room.”
“10. The Eccentric Room.”
“11. The Great Eccentrics.”
“12. The Fringes Basin.”


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