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The Chalon Astronomer Benjamin Baillaud, and a short history of the bust erected in a public garden in Chalon-sur-Saône

by Lucien Baillaud

Published privately in Clermont-Ferrand, France, 2004. Posted by permission of the author, Lucien Baillaud, a grandson of Benjamin Baillaud. Scanned and posted by Joseph S. Tenn in conjunction with his Bruce Medalists page on Benjamin Baillaud. Translation by Joseph S. Tenn with assistance from Howard Limoli.

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Figure 1: The house where Benjamin Baillaud was born: the brasserie du Tonneau d'Or. Photo courtesy M. Henri Huet.
Figure 2: The house in 2002. Photo courtesy Virginie Gaiffe.
Figure 3: Students at l’École normale supérieure. In the last row are three future members of the Academy of Sciences: Benjamin Baillaud is in the middle; on his right, his future brother-in-law, the mathematician Jules Tannery (husband of Esther Baillaud of Chalon), on the far left his other future brother-in-law, the physicist Edmond Bouty (husband of Émilie Pons of Laissac). Photo courtesy the Bouty family.
Figure 4: Edmond Bouty, Jules Tannery, Benjamin Baillaud [from Figure 3].
Figure 5: Benjamin and his family about 1898. From left to right, front: Madeleine, Hélène and Hélène (mother and daughter), Marthe; rear: Pierre, Henri, Émile, Benjamin, Jules and René.
Figure 6: Benjamin and nearly all of his family at the wedding of Paulette Baillaud and Pierre Boisdon, 9 April 1931, in Toulouse. Back row: René1, Jules1, Pierre5, Emile1. Next row: Alfred5, Next row: Jean3 and Marthe2 Privat, Jeanne4, Raymond5, Hélène de Madinhac2. Next row: Marie6 and Marcel Didier7, Marthe4, Louise (Chouquette)6, Gaby6, Hélène;6 Adrienne4, Madeleine Privat2 (and Henri Didier8), Paulette Baillaud Boisdon [bride]6, Benjamin, Pierre Boisdon [groom]7, Henri1, Joseph5, Edouard Privat3. Front row: Paul5, Madeleine5, Madeleine de Madinhac (Nichette)6, Etienne5, Pierre Privat5, Lucien5 [author], Raymond de Madinhac5. Absent: Marcel5, Paul de Madinhac3, and Paul Privat5.

1son, 2daughter, 3son-in-law, 4daughter-in-law, 5grandson, 6granddaughter, 7grandson-in-law, 8great grandson.
Figure 7: Portrait from the collection, Benjamin Baillaud 1848-1934, Privat, Toulouse, 1937, 175 p.
Figure 8: Portrait of Benjamin Baillaud, painted in 1916 by André Rixens (Saint-Gaudens 1846 – Paris 1924), a friend of the Privats, Benjamin Baillaud’s daughters and sons-in-law. At Palmas, home of Hélène Lionnet, great- granddaughter of Benjamin Baillaud. © Hélène Lionnet.
Figure 9: Benjamin Baillaud in 1916. Painting by Miss Madeleine Cartailhac, Member of the Salon of French Artists (who exhibited mainly from 1923 to 1940); she was a daughter of the Toulouse historian Émile Cartailhac (1845 – 1921). This painting, donated by Jules Baillaud to the Paris Observatory, is a copy of the portrait (Figure 8) by André Rixens (Saint-Gaudens, 1846 – Paris, 1924), © Paris Observatory.
Figure 10: Medallion made in 1923 by the sculptor and engraver and recipient of the Rome Prize Raoul Bénard (Elbeuf, 1881 – Hendaye, 1961), a cousin by marriage of the astronomer René Baillaud. Photo courtesy Laurent Baillaud. This was one of a set of medallions which won a gold medal at the Salon in 1924.
Figure 11: The room of the “ladies of the map,” about 1900. Collection of René Baillaud: Reference “A.M.T., 7 Z (Observatory Archives),” photo published on p. 184 of Cinq siècles d’astronomie toulousaine. Ils observaient les étoiles [Five Centuries of Toulouse Astronomy: They Observed the Stars], Archives Municipales de Toulouse, Toulouse 2002, ISBN, 2-95-13479.4.4, 260 p. The third “lady” from the right (in back, facing the bust) is Léonie Pons, sister of Hélène.
Figure 12: Bust of Benjamin Baillaud preserved at the Denon Museum of Chalon-sur-Saône (donated by Mr. Gustave Pinette), photographed from below, with difficulty, by Virginie Gaiffe. Bust in marble of Benjamin Baillaud (sculpted by Maurette in 1890), kept at his home, then the Toulouse Observatory, then the Paris Observatory, given by him on his retirement or by his children to the Toulouse Observatory, now at the library of the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées. Photo courtesy Emmanuel Davoust. At the bottom right, the signature and date.
Figure 13: “Monument erected to the memory of B. Baillaud in the Palace of Justice Square” and bronze bust of Benjamin Baillaud. From the Bulletin de l’Association amicale des anciens élèves du Collège de Chalon-sur-Saône, 1938.
Figure 14: From left to right: Original terracotta bust of Benjamin Baillaud, by Henry Maurette. Photo courtesy Jacques Baillaud. Plaster bust kept at one time at Sévérac-l’Église by Christiane and Denis Baillaud, currently held by Madeleine and Marie-Thé, daughters of Paulette Boisdon at Laissac. Photo courtesy Christiane Baillaud. Detail: Decorations. Plaster bust kept at Sévérac-l’Église by the family of Marcel Baillaud, courtesy Christiane Baillaud. Detail: signature and date 1887.
Figure 15: 1945: Mock re-enactment of the inauguration photo of Yves Guignardat, reproduced in the 29 August 1980 issue of the Chalon-sur-Saône Courrier de Saône et Loire. According to Yves Guignardat, “The Vergobrets [Gallic Celts] and Druids represented are, from left to right: Bernard Parizot (who owned a large hotel in Gets), then three-quarters hidden, Jean Trémeau, who was a major director of a valve-manufacturing company, then Jean Carrière, who was director of the international bank and whom Mitterand named head of the government-owned tobacco monopoly. Then, I am there in golf knickers, then Robert Ponnet, who was a rather good jazz trumpeter and who became one of the directors of the Thomson Co. On the other side: Gérard Jannin, Director of the Bank of France of Grenoble, Jean Guénot, who became a professor, then René Galals, who was the director of an Orléans hospital, then Pierre Micheron, manufacturer of perfumes.”
Figure 16: The new stone bust, sculpted by Georges Granger in 1953, after a molding he had made from the bronze bust, on the left courtesy Henri Huet, 2003. On the right, a picture from the Courrier de Saône et Loire of 22 September 1970; the stele still has the original inscription.
Figure 17: The bust sculpted by Georges Granger in 1953, on the 1938 stele, with the inscriptions transcribed about 1988 on the renovated plaque. The shadows of the trees make photography difficult. Photo courtesy Virginie Gaiffe, 2001.
Figure 18: The 2009 French stamp issued to commemorate the centennial of the Baillaud Dome at Pic du Midi.
Figure 19: The set of stamps issued by the Republic of Guinea honoring six astronomers on the occasion of the International Year of Astronomy, 2009. The astronomers are Benjamin Baillaud, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, S. Chandrasekhar, Pierre-Simon Laplace, and Nicolaus Copernicus.


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