Lintel with locomotive

Architectural element from the Bordeaux warehouses, 6 Cours d'Alsace-et-Lorraine.
Sculpted limestone. Around 1870-1872. 240 x 137 x 95 cm. Inventaire : 72.17.1

The Bordeaux warehouses, constructed around 1870-1872 at Place du Palais and Cours d'Alsace-et-Lorraine, were the repository for all sorts of overseas goods. The buildings were demolished in 1972 following a fire, but this lintel remains, and its decoration perfectly symbolises the 19th century with its technical and industrial progress during which the commercial vocation of Bordeaux was central.

This is illustrated by a steam locomotive, seen in profile, appearing in the midst of barrels, bales and ships' sails which it overturns, surrounded by palms and two cornucopias spilling out a profusion of fruit, flowers and vegetables. The locomotive's mechanism is emphasised by the careful and accurate stereotomy of the tall funnel at the front of the machine, and its wheels, connecting rods and pipes.  This sculpted spandrel decorated the main entrance of the warehouses leading onto Cours d'Alsace-et-Lorraine.

Lintel with locomotive (c) mairie de Bordeaux