Monday, June 22, 2009

Mme Gardriol en chaise, Luchon, 9 juillet 1899

Mme Gardriol en chaise, Luchon, 9 juillet 1899
Originally uploaded by Bibliothèque de Toulouse

Another fin-de-siecle matron in a wheeled chair turned up in the Flickr Commons today, this time in the uploads from the Bibliotheque de Toulouse. Above, a black-and-white photograph shows a man standing behind a woman using a three-wheeled chair, in an outdoor setting we're told is Luchon, on 9 July 1899.

Luchon was a spa town in the French Pyrenees--still is. Who was Madame Gardriol? It's probably safe to assume she was a summer visitor to the springs. Was she someone who used a wheelchair ordinarily, or was this day in 1899 (perhaps like Mrs. Field's photo, in an earlier DS,TU post) a special occasion of touring, for which she chose wheels? Mme Gardriol's chair looks a bit sturdier than the wicker at the Bronx Zoo--hard to tell from this angle, though. The man is holding a parasol--is it for himself, or an additional accommodation for Mme. Gardriol's health and comfort? Anyone have more insight into the Luchon wheelchair accommodations in 1899?

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