Photographers such as Baldus who depicted the relics and ruin of their own countries did so for a variety of reasons. Some, driven by encroaching modernity all around them, sought to document cultural symbols that they thought were in danger of vanishing. Others treated these photographs as homages to their history, or in some cases, as nationalistic responses to other photographers' depictions of foreign landmarks. In Baldus' case, he was one of five photographers chosen in 1851 by Napoleon III to photograph historic architecture in northern France, a project that owed its existence to a mixture of these motives.
Signed on mount in ink LR: "E. Baldus"