January 06, 2012

Bortier Gallery

The Galerie Bortier in the center of Brussels is a covered shopping arcade constructed in 1847 - 1848 by the architect J.P. Cluysenaer. Initially it was part of a larger complex including the Madeleine market,  which today no longer exists. The gallery remains a beautiful example of the simultaneous use of cast iron and glass.  The narrow passageway built on two levels has a mainly Neo-Rennaissance style.  The gallery's entrance is located at Rue de la Madeleine and its facade incorporates part of an old town house, the former Van Gend transport company. 
Today the gallery mostly houses bookshops and art galleries.
From a comment by Frans, a blogger and expert on cameras and photography (http://thecameracollector.skynetblogs.be/), I just learned that this gallery also houses the antiquarian shop of Tristan Schwilden, a renowned Belgian author on XIX Century photography. Schwilden is the co-author of "The First Daguerreian Studios in Brussels," a survey of the development of photography in Brussels, beginning with the opening of the first studios in 1842, and including biographical details of the photographers concerned.