Étienne-Jules Marey's laboratory and home

Étienne-Jules Marey lived and worked in this house of Paris (14 Rue de l'Ancienne Comédie) since 1864. Thanks to the success of his first invention, the sphygmograph, he earned "enough royalties to furnish the kind of laboratory he needed, installed first in the rue Cuvier and then, in 1864, at 14 rue de l'Ancienne Comédie, in a house that had once belonged to Molière. Marey had the fifth floor, a large sunlit attic that had originally served as a theater for Molière and more recently had been the studio of the painter Horace Vernet. Marey subdivided it into chambers and compartments of various sizes; the photographer Nadar, who visited it in 1864, likened it to a beehive at whose center Marey worked, surrounded by a 'beautiful, irreproachable order…among machines and scientific instruments of every kind, classics or ones thought up yesterday - new tools for a new science. In addition to Marey's office, his living quarters, and his mother's apartment, the attic held a lecture room and a series of small drumlike rooms under the eaves - the "cells of the hive" for the young scientists (…). One room was devoted exclusively to creating, developing, and experimenting with new machines and scientific instruments, and another was given over to the subjects his machines would study"1, i.e. every kind of animals!

  • Photos by Luca Borghi ti.supmacinu|ihgrob.l#| (July 2014)

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