First photographic image of Girona discovered

21/07/15 | The photograph, dating to around 1852, is preserved in the National Library of Ireland.

Girona City Council's Centre for Image Research and Dissemination (CRDI) has received a digital reproduction of the first photographic image of Girona, which is currently preserved at the National Library of Ireland, in Dublin. The photograph dates back to around 1852 and is a view of the River Onyar, at the point where the Peixateries Velles bridge now stands. However, in this image, instead of Gustave Eiffel's iron bridge (built in 1877) we see a rather rickety-looking wooden bridge connecting the houses on either side of the river.

The original photograph kept in Dublin was taken by François Gobinet de Villecholes, a French photographer (widely known as Franck) who settled in Barcelona in 1849, where he set up a highly renowned photographic studio.

Until now, the oldest surviving photograph of Girona was thought to be a view of the Pont de Pedra bridge from the L'Areny market area, a photograph from 1867 on albumin paper signed by the photographer José Martínez Sánchez, as explained in the introduction to the book Joan Martí Centellas. Bellezas de Gerona, 1877. Therefore, this photograph by Franck pre-dates this moment by 15 years and provides a new point of reference for studies into the history of photography in Girona.