Charles Marville (1813 – 1879), was a French photographer, who mainly photographed architecture, landscapes and the urban environment.
Sometime in the1850s Charles Marville was asked to document the old quarters of the French capital by the government’s Commission for Monumental Historical Monuments. Marville purposely took the photographs of Paris’s architecture and streets scenes when it was raining, so that the soft diffused light mixed with the rain on the cobblestone produced a picturesque image that elicited a feeling of perfection. One of Charles Marville’s good friends was Blanquart-Evrard and through the years he published many of Charles Marville’s images, including a group of his negatives of France and Germany in the album Art Religieux in 1854.
It has been said that Charles Marville accomplished “documentary perfection” with his images of Paris before it was destroyed by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann’s urban renewal projects. Charles Marville’s body of photographs is one of the few records left of Paris before 1870.