My collection

My photographic collection first began in 1986, in a flea market in Paris. While wading through a bunch of old papers, my attention was drawn by a "Carte de visite" photography of a cavalry superior officier. The clear crisp of the photo, the soldiery attitude and the nice uniform outfit stroke a light. My collection had begun.

Photo Hanssens (Aire sur Lys)

Year after year, I have accumulated an important collection (around 2000 pièces ?) and I started to specialize my research to officiers and more rare uniforms (colonial troops, zouaves...). When I can identify a soldier, I often go to the military archives (SHAT and SHM) to search more detailled information on his career.

My period of search goes from 1860 to 1914, when the Carte de Visite was a craze, and I deal quite exclusively on french uniforms, on cardboard support (carte de visites and cabinet).

Yet, I have also widened my scope on all the military photographs on the period (groups, regimental photography, manoeuvers, official photographies...)

My dearst piece remains my grandfather's portrait, Gilbert Discours, fighter pilot during the First World War (4 victories), who retired as a Major in 1934.

Photo Lang (Orange)

Although this index is in english, the text of the folowing pages are still in french.



Evolution of uniforms of the french army between 1850 and 1914, illustrated by photographs :

color process andblack and with / color comparison
Infantry : Evolution of infnatry uniforms from 1850 to 1914.
Cavalry : Dragons, cuirassiers, chasseurs and hussards
Services : supply, medical corps ...
Staff corps
Military scools : Saint cyr, Polytechnique...

North African troops : Zouaves, turcos and spahis...
  colonial troops : France expansion in the colonies.
  Imperial Gard Napoleon III trusted soldiers.
  General officers : Generals, and Marshals of the Empire and the "belle époque".
Les gendarmes : peace keepers in France
National guards

Eléments d'uniformology

Histor of th franch army (1840-1914)

Glory and sad days of the army from the Juillet monarchy to the Belle epoque

The conquest of Algeria (1830-1871)                                      


War in Crimea (1854-1856)


Italian campaign (1859)                                                


The mexican adventure (1861-1867)

L'année terrible : portraits and history of the 1870 /1871 soldiers.


Other campaigns of the Second Empire et the IInd Republic


Campaigns of the Republic (1871-1914)

Les Orders and medals : illustrated guide of military medals given to the french soldiers from 1860 to 1914.


The french army (1860-1914)

Organisation and equipment of the french army from the Second Empire to 1914


History of regiment and batalions of the French Army (1850-1914).


History and organisation of the french army between 1873 and 1914 : List and biographies of the major commanders


Organisation of the major units who fought during the First World War


Army and politics : The tense relations between the military and the Republic (1870-1914)


Weapons of the french army (1850-1914)




Bibliography on french military history from 1830 to 1918


Biographical notices of french officers : a travel through the XIX century history

military personalities : French officers who made french army history.
Identified officers : Biographical sketches, and photos on some officers and generals of the french army.
Heroes : Biography of french army heroes.
Bother in arms : Families in uniforms.

The old ones : They fought with Napoleon 1er.

Orlean family : portraits of the officer corps from this notorious family, from King Louis Philippe descent.

  Killed and wounded : Grim realities of war.


  Highlanders : they fought in skirts.
  papal zouaves : They fought for the Pope and for France.


group photographs 


Nice attitudes


Help me to identify these men...

funny and strange photos


Photo to trade


Women in the army : les cantinières


Some interseting websites on military photo and foreigh armies of the victorian era

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