Life in gardens: Bélesta, France

Bebe et les pigeons, Belesta, 1897, flickr Commons

“Bébé et les pigeons, Bélesta,” 1897, by Eugène Trutat, via Bibliothèque de Toulouse Commons on flickr.

Trutat (1840-1910) was a naturalist, geologist, mountaineer of the Pyrenees, and the curator of the Museum of Toulouse.

He was also an early photographer — beginning in 1859 — and was particularly interested in using the medium for science. He eventually took almost 15,000 images and authored a number of books, including Photography Applied to Archaeology and Photography Applied to Natural History.

Trutat took many beautiful pictures of his family and friends, including the one here, of his sons, Paul and Henri. He took several photos of Bébé, a little girl, in October 1897.

There’s more in words than I can teach:
Yet listen, Child! — I would not preach;
But only give some plain directions
To guide your speech and your affections.
Say not you love a roasted fowl
But you may love a screaming owl,
And, if you can, the unwieldy toad
That crawls from his secure abode
Within the mossy garden wall
When evening dews begin to fall,
Oh! mark the beauty of his eye:
What wonders in that circle lie!
So clear, so bright, our fathers said
He wears a jewel in his head!
And when, upon some showery day,
Into a path or public way
A frog leaps out from bordering grass,
Startling the timid as they pass,
Do you observe him, and endeavour
To take the intruder into favour:
Learning from him to find a reason
For a light heart in a dull season.
And you may love him in the pool,
That is for him a happy school,
In which he swims as taught by nature,
Fit pattern for a human creature,
Glancing amid the water bright,
And sending upward sparkling light.

— Dorothy Wordsworth, from “Loving and Liking: Irregular Verses Addressed to a Child

10 thoughts on “Life in gardens: Bélesta, France

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