Extraordinary photographs of Victor Hugo, his family and Hauteville House will be on display in the gardens of the Priaulx Library this summer.
The library’s annual garden exhibition, which is being sponsored for a sixth time by Ravenscroft, will feature more than 30 images of the famous author, his wife, children and grandchildren, his home in Hauteville where he lived from 1856 to 1870 and the house where his mistress Juliette Drouet lived.
The Priaulx Library has collaborated with Maisons de Victor Hugo Paris/Guernesey to put on the exhibition, which is called Hauteville House and the Hugo family. More images will be on display inside the library as well as documents and books including a letter from his daughter Adele to her mother, which was recently donated to the library, books illustrated by his great-grandson Jean Hugo, who attended Elizabeth College, and books from Victor Hugo’s library in Hauteville House.
‘With Hauteville House being closed for major renovation, we wanted to ensure that we continued to celebrate Victor Hugo, the author of LesMisérables, who is undoubtedly Guernsey’s most famous resident,’ said Dinah Bott, Victor Hugo specialist at the Priaulx Library and president of the Victor Hugo in Guernsey Society.
‘Hugo spent years creating the interior of Hauteville House and it provided a safe haven for his family in exile. His wife said “my husband is carving his soul into these walls” and it became an extraordinary work of art. We are thrilled that with Ravenscroft’s support, and in collaboration with Maisons de Victor Hugo Paris/Guernesey, that we are able to share a glimpse of what life at Hauteville House was like.’
Each year, the exhibition in the gardens of the Priaulx Library attract thousands of islanders and visitors alike.
‘An outdoor exhibition is something different and last year we had people from all over the world including Belgium, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. It encourages people to come into the library and learn more about the island’s history. For the first time, this year we have also provided explanatory captions in French as well as in English,’ said Mrs Bott.
Toby Peatfield, director of stockbroking at Ravenscroft, said the exhibition had now become a popular event in the calendar.
‘The exhibition continues to grow in popularity and is enjoyed by those who make a point of visiting and those who come across it by chance. Victor Hugo was a remarkable character and Guernsey is justifiable proud of the fact that he spent so many years living here. Ravenscroft is delighted that we can sponsor this exhibition which celebrates his life.’
The exhibition opens on Thursday 14th June and will be on display until early September.