The Honorat Collection: Exceptional Amateur French Stereography
In terms of my expertise and areas of interest within the study of the Great War, amateur French stereography tops the list. So imagine my joy when gifted with a series of roughly 300 such stereoviews (some duplicates)! Most are negatives – but I have no problem with negatives. And the icing on the cake is that the slides arrived with both handwritten and typed “shot lists” which describe every slide!
Of course, nothing in life is perfect. And the amateur French stereographer who completed this survey of Verdun was a perfectionist – which complicates things. From the score marks evident on some of the slides, this is hand-cut glass, coated with a home-brew emulsion. The emulsion is only responsive to one solvent, PEC-12, which is quite volatile. And since he printed his own diapositives, Honorat failed to perfectly align each image. Therefore, the diapositives need a lot of manipulation to digitize. In point of fact, while these are amazing images, I have never before spent two months working on digitizing ~200 images. However, the quality of these images (as well as the first text I noticed on the shot list – “dans la région de VERDUN) made this a no-brainer. And as you’ll soon see, the time commitment payed off.
Sadly, like most amateur French stereography in the Jordan/Ference Collection, the Honorat Collection is incomplete. The shot list is not isomorphic to the slides, and while I was initially hopeful while putting them in order, there are definitely slides which appear neither in positive or negative. Regardless, this is an astounding collection from a very talented amateur French stereographer. The remainder of the collection will be available on the Western Front Association Stereoscope project and Great War in 3D image gallery in upcoming weeks. Enjoy!