One of the finest photographers of the early 1850s remains a mysterious figure. More than one hundred of his salted paper prints survive, many signed in the negative "Em. Pec," a name that is not found in any early photographic journals, records of photographic societies, or exhibition catalogues.
It seems likely that this photographer was Emile Peccarère (inconsistently spelled Peccarrère, Pecarrère, Pecarère, and Pecarer), a lawyer who learned photography from Gustave Le Gray and was among the founding members of the Société Héliographique. The confusion over his identity is compounded by the fact that fifty photographs, many with titles that correspond in subject to Pec's surviving signed works, were shown at the Society of Arts in London in 1852, listed in the exhibition catalogue as the work of "Pecquerel." One can only surmise that this was a misunderstanding of the name "Peccarère" by the exhibition's British organizers, who saw photographs signed "Pec" but were more familiar with the French scientist and daguerreotypist Edmond Becquerel, also a member of the Société Héliographique.
Pec photographed throughout France and Italy in the first years of the 1850s.
Chartres Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres), is a Gothic Catholic cathedral of the Latin Church located in Chartres, France, about 80 km (50 miles) southwest of Paris. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1194 and 1220, is the last of at least five which have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century. It is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, which calls it "the high point of French Gothic art" and a "masterpiece".
Signature: Photographer's EM. PEC signature and "Chartres 24" reversed out of negative at upper right in darker area.
Andre Jammes; French book dealer.
About Pierre Emile Joseph Pécarrère
French, 1816-1904, Saint-Jean-de-Luz, France