Jobard, J.B.A.M. (Marcellin)



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Baissey [Haute Marne, F], 1792 - Brussels - Ixelles, 1861


1839 * - 1841 Bruxelles, Place des Barricades, 1
Jean Baptiste Ambroise Marcellin Jobard, ° 14.5.1792; + 27.10.1861. A former surveyor at the land registry, in 1817 he founded the first and leading lithographic establishment in Belgium, in which graphic artists such as Madou, Vanderhaert, and Wauquier were trained. Jobard's output included "the largest lithographic collection of 600 views of the country in four stout quarto volumes" (Journal de Bruges, 13.9.1839). Jobard claimed he had been ruined by the Belgian revolution of 1830. He then turned to journalism and became the proprietor-editor of two newspapers "Fanal de l'Industrie" and "Courrier belge". They became the mouthpiece of Jobard's social and economic views based in part on doctrines espoused by the Comte de Saint-Simon (1760 - 1825), popularly known as Saint-Simonianism.
In 1839 Jobard represented the Belgian government at the exhibition of French industrial goods in Paris. He met Daguerre in July and published enthusiastic articles about his invention throughout July and August. One of the first two Belgians to import a camera, his acquired from Isidore Niépce (son of Nicéphore). He succeeded in taking the first documented daguerreotype in Belgium, a seven minute exposure on 16.9.1839: view of the Place des Barricades in Brussels. In September 1839 Jobard founded the "Société belge du Daguerrotype" [sic] with a view to exploiting the new technology, but the project seems to have come to nothing. In October 1839 he managed to make his first portrait, that of a young woman asleep on a sofa.
Jobard regularly published articles relating to the progress of photography until 1841. Appointed director of the "Musée Royal de l'Industrie" in Brussels (Rue du Musée, 2), Jobard was a keen disseminator of all discoveries and inventions. Thus, in July 1845, he was the first to import a Morse telegraph, which was successfully demonstrated in his museum. Inventive and whimsical, Jobard conceived numerous inventions in various fields: lighting, heating, ballistics, printing, etc. As a firm promotor of intellectual property rights, he founded the "Office des brevets d'invention" in 1850. Portrait taken by Louis Ghémar in Brussels in 1856.
In 1859, the "Académie des Sciences" in Paris opened a sealed document which Jobard had deposited in 1840 containing ideas on a potential process for transferring photographic images onto lithographic stone, one of the first conceptions of photomechanical printing. "Monsieur Jobard can thus place himself at the top of the list of those who attempted to follow up this discovery. Perhaps he ought not to have left it so long in obscurity" ("Heliolithographie", Journal de Bruges, 4.2.1859, quoting the Gazette de France). Jobard lies buried in Brussels Cemetery beneath a monument raised by subscription and unveiled in October 1863.


1839 * - 1841 Bruxelles, Place des Barricades, 1


Brussels, 1839.

Genres / subject matter



JOSEPH, Steven F. & SCHWILDEN, Tristan. "Un cadeau à l'Europe : naissance de la photographie en Belgique", Bulletin trimestriel du Crédit Communal de Belgique, n° 168, 1989, pp. 2-22.
JOSEPH, Steven F. & SCHWILDEN, Tristan. "Sunrise over Brussels: the First Year of Photography in Belgium", History of Photography, vol. 13, 1989, pp. 355-368.
JOSEPH, S.F. & SCHWILDEN, T. A l'aube de la photographie en Belgique: Guillaume Claine (1811-1869) et son cercle. Bruxelles, 1991, p. 12.
CLAES, Marie-Christine. J.B.A.M. Jobard (1792-1861), visionnaire de nouveaux rapports entre l'art et l'industrie, acteur priviligié des mutations de l'image en Belgique au XIXe siècle. Louvain-la-Neuve, Université Catholique de Louvain, Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres, Département d'Archéologie et d'Histoire de l'Art, 2006 (online at:
CLAES, Marie-Christine. "Marcellin Jobard et le musée de l'Industrie de Bruxelles", La Revue du Musée des arts et métiers, n° 51-52, 2010, pp. 44-55.
CLAES, Marie-Christine. "Marcellin Jobard et le Musée royal de l’Industrie de Bruxelles", Musées éphémères, musées imaginaires, musées perdus, Actes du colloque Cabinets de curiosités, collections techniques et musées d’arts et métiers : origines, mutations et usages, des Lumières à la Seconde Guerre mondiale Paris, Sorbonne – Musée des Arts et Métiers, 29 septembre – 1er octobre 2011, Rennes, Artefact, 2017, pp. 59-75, online :

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SFJ revised 27.1.2017; MCC revised 25.1.2019 & 4.8.2019; SFJ revised 24.10.2020 partly based on information supplied by M. Demaeght




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