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.
List of photographs in Vols. XI-XIII of this invaluable journal,which can be consulted at the Library. As listed in the original publication. The Library has original photographic prints by one of the main contributors of photographs at this period, S M Henry.
This invaluable publication is available for consultation at the Library. A list of its photographic illustrations from vols. III-IV 1947-1949. Please ask for further information. The items may no longer be with the same owners or guardians.
Opinions on the building of the Castle Emplacement from Victor Hugo and his son Charles. Charles took the accompanying photograph, The Castle Emplacement under construction, c 1856; he also took a fine study of St Catherine's Breakwater in Jersey some years earlier. (Hugo family friend Auguste Vacquerie was also an excellent photographer, and may possibly be responsible for this photograph, but Charles shared his father's appreciation of the effort and skill required to build these types of structures, and of the progress and growth they embodied, and is likely to have found this and the Jersey breakwater an appealing subject). The photograph is in the collection of Paris Musées: Construction de la digue reliant le château Cornet au port, attribuée à Charles Hugo, 1855-6.
The loss of the paddle-steamer Normandy, 17 March 1870
The exiled Victor Hugo was forced to leave Jersey very quickly. Here he describes his arrival in Guernsey in a letter to his wife, Adèle Foucher, who had remained for the time in Jersey. The image is from a set of engravings of drawings by Hugo in the Priaulx Library collection.
Biography of Mrs Curtin, from the Gazette de Guernesey, May 1914
'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!
By Thomas Cave, from the North Devon Journal, September 20 1866. 'It is always interesting to trace the home and associations of an eminent author and to realize a little of the inner life of the man whose works instruct or amuse us, especially when the impress of his mind is so visibly traceable in the material objects about him. It seems as if the fanciful taste which has arranged all these materials at its will in turn receives daily promptings from its very creation.' The engraving of The Oak Gallery is by one of Hugo's favoured artists, Fortune Méaulle, from Alfred Barbou's Victor Hugo and his times, New York: Harper, 1881, in the Library Collection.
The Priaulx Library has many photographs and cartes de visite by Arsène Garnier, including many of Victor Hugo and his family. This is part of the Victor Hugo and Guernsey project. The carte de visite above is a studio self-portrait from the Library collection, with Garnier's signature red outline and text.
The Vimeira estate. An article from the Morning Advertiser, January 18, 1951, by Basil C de Guerin. From his Scrapbook K, p. 10 (Staff.)
More exceptionally interesting 17th-century observations from Elie Brevint. Brevint (1587-1674) was minister of Sark from 1612. His father Cosmé, also a minister, was a Huguenot refugee from Angoulême who had accompanied Helier De Carteret from Jersey in his colonisation of Sark. Transcriptions and microfilm of Elie's 14 Notebooks, which were found in a loft in Sark in the 19th century, are held in the Priaulx Library. They are written in French. The picture above is a detail from Boethius, In philosophia consolationem, Strasbourg 1501, one of the rare books in the Library’s collection.