The Honorat Collection

A Senegalese (French Colonial) soldier proudly stands guard over Austrian prisoners of war in Verdun.

The Jordan/Ference Collection is honored to present the Honorat Collection, the most comprehensive survey and photostudy of Verdun we have come across, taken shortly before, during, and after 11/11/1918. The Collection includes approximately 300 items, both negatives and positives, of which a little over a hundred are duplicates. They are of exemplary stereoscopic quality; Mssr. Honorat was a perfectionist, cutting his own glass and coating his own plates for negatives, which provide a rich tonality and wonderful levels of detail. The best version of each image is up on the Image Gallery now!

The Honorat Collection - anaglyphic representation of two skeletons in No Man's Land

Most images are available in anaglyph format as well, and it is recommended that the viewer zoom in to maximum size and allow themselves to pan over the destroyed landscapes, shell craters, and near total destruction that mark this French battlefield. While Honorat sometimes includes human subjects – often just a single soldier for scale – it is clear that he is attempting to show us the uniform devastation of the battle that has rendered a portion of France uninhabitable for over 100 years. The studies of battlefield damage are almost typologies, akin to the work of Berndt and Hilla Becher, showing us the similarities in the scale of destruction that occurred throughout the Région Fortifiée de Verdun.

Honorat provided a shot list detailing what is portrayed in each image, as well as dates for many of them. André Ruiter, Subject Specialist in French Commercial Glass for the Collection, has provided additional details based on his many trips to Verdun to personally document it as it stands today, which are available beneath each slide. He has also provided a detailed Google map which grounds the locations geographically, so that one may trace Honorat’s journey through the RFV. These were some of the most technically challenging slides the Collection has digitized to date, and we hope you enjoy them!

The Honorat Collection - A scuttled tank on the fields of Verdun.

As always, if you have information to add or comments to make on the stereoviews or anaglyphs, please leave a comment on the particular image, or email – the more feedback we get, the more likely we are to continue to provide anaglyphs alongside the collections of stereoviews which regularly appear in the Gallery. So take an hour, and take a voyage to Verdun in the final days of the War!

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