It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and never could it be more true than in 1888, when these impressions of a holiday island were published in a French book entitled Plages de Bretagne et Jersey (Beaches of Brittany and Jersey). No words other than the original captions are needed to sum up the image which was created of an island which was beginning to rely heavily on tourism to expand its economy as the Victorian era was at its peak. (Note: These images were previously dated to 1912 and Edwardian Jersey, drawn from a later edition of the book, now known to have first been published in 1888.)
On the left is the title page of the book, which features over a hundred delightful drawings of beaches and other scenes, all along the north Brittany coastline from Mont Michel to Brest, and including St Malo, Paramé, Cancale, Dinard, Saint Lunaire, Portrieux Saint Quay (as it was known then, the two parts of the name now having reversed), Roscoff and Brest.
The caption to the picture on the top right of a couple enjoying the view over St Aubin's Bay and its fort, is Un vrai paradis terrestre, 'pas chere amie?: En effet mon ami, Un paradis sans serpent (A real paradise on earth, my love? In fact, my love, a paradise without snakes)
Left: A St Helier, l'armée Anglaise assiégée par le bataillon Jersiais. "Se rendra! Rendra pas!! Rendra!" (At St Helier the English army besieged by the Jersey batallion. "Give up! Don't give up! Give up!")
Above: A couple struggling on the rocks at Corbière Lighthouse.
- - Ouf! je m'en peux plus
- - Et moi donc!
- - On pourrait construire les phares un peu moins haut
- - Parbleu! Les touristes sont aussi intéressants que les navigateurs
(Phew! I can't go any further: Nor me!: They could build the lighthouses a little less high: Of course, the tourists are as important as navigators)
Petite marchande de raisin
The little grape seller: En la voyant passer, plus d'un se dit tous bas: Le beau fruit! Mais trop verte, et bon pour les goujats! (Seeing her pass, more than one says softly: Beautiful fruit! But too green, and good for boors!)
Mont Orgueil Castle was as popular a tourist destination and image in Edwardian times as it is today, and it appears that there was then the added attraction of cattle grazing on Castle Green. This father and daughter were clearly impressed:
Voyons, papa, tu te mets à saluer les vaches
Ma chère enfant, qu'il soit permis à un éleveur francais de se découvrir devant ces représentantes autorisées d'une aristocratie justement célèbre et de faire des voeux pour l'union des nobles vaches jersiaises et de nos grandes vaches nationales
(Look, father, you're even beginning to greet the cows: My dear child, it is permitted for a French breeder to take off his hat before these approved representatives of a justly celebrated aristocracy and to wish for a union of these noble Jersey cows with our large national cattle.)