Art & Photography

Victor Hugo and Guernsey: Jean Hugo

3rd April 2019
Jean Hugo was the great-grandson of Victor Hugo. A talented artist and theatre designer, he was a schoolboy at Elizabeth College in Guernsey and made later visits to the island, of which he was very fond, including attending the inauguration of Jean Boucher's celebrated statue of the poet in 1914. The Library has a signed copy of his autobiography, Le Regard de la mémoire, which he gave to Roger Martin, the curator of Hauteville House at the time of his visit in 1977; Roger Martin's ancestor was, coincidentally, one of Victor Hugo's 'poor children.' The photograph is courtesy of the Guernsey Press.

Victor Hugo and Guernsey: Lost things: La Marcherie

7th November 2018
Once a magnificent farm house with 15 bedrooms, made of the best blue granite, said to be haunted, the old house of the La Marche family in St Martin's saw highs and lows. Its story ended with demolition by the Occupying Forces in 1944, and the memory of the house itself and a reputed connection with Victor Hugo became shrouded in mystery. It is quite possible that Victor Hugo admired the house - he certainly would have admired its wonderful situation, and is quoted as saying (in the advertisement above from a 1915 tourist brochure), 'Live at Icart, live forever!,' but there is no evidence he ever set foot in it. His family, however, were indeed intimately connected with it.

The carved chests of the Channel Islands

9th July 2018
'A slightly coloured sketch.'An oaken chest, half eaten by the worm, But richly carved by Anthony of Trent, With Scripture stories from the life of Christ; A chest that came from Venice, and had held The ducal robes of some old ancestor. That by the way—it may be true or false.[From] Rogers’ Italy.By Samuel Elliott Hoskins. Victor Hugo was not, it would seem, the first to transform the carved wooden chests of Guernsey into some other form of decorative furniture. De Beauvoir De Lisle got there before him!

Victor Hugo and Guernsey

8th November 2016
A new digital project based upon the book, Victor Hugo's Guernsey Neighbours, by Gregory Stevens Cox, MBE, MA (Oxon), Ph.D. The publication of the book was timed to coincide with the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Festival which took place in Guernsey in May, 2016. From this festival was born The Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society. The Festival celebrated the 150th anniversary of the publication of Victor Hugo's great novel, Les Travailleurs de la mer, or Toilers of the sea, which with its references to actual people and localities demonstrates a detailed knowledge of and interest in the island, and an understanding and empathy for Guernsey's culture and inhabitants, unparalleled until the publication of G B Edwards' Ebenezer Le Page in 1981. Hugo was not only influenced by Guernsey in writing this novel, however, but absorbed everything around him in his new home, and the legacy of Guernsey can be detected in every aspect of his life and work. The intention of this project, hosted by the Priaulx Library, is that it should collect and examine that island influence, and we welcome any contribution.

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