Lyon - The Site of the Secretariat of the French Division of The I.A.P
Lyon - The Site of the Secretariat of the French Division of The I.A.P
During my visit to Lyon in mid January 2002, Chantal Donne, Immediate Past President of the French Division kindly took time to show me something of “her” city where she has lived from her early childhood. The French Division has now made her their representative for international relations. The office of the French Division of the I.A.P. is situated close to the main hospitals in Lyon on the Rue Albert Thomas.
Lyon is the second largest city in France. The central portion of the
city is situated on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the two rivers
- the Rhone and the Saone. The centre of the present city is the large
square - Bellecour, on the peninsula itself. This square was created in
1617. It was then surrounded by four-storey buildings which date from
the 17th century. With Bellecour as a central focus, the new city of Lyon
spreads outwards into the suburbs.
The 17th century buildings surrounding Bellecour were built during the
time when the silk industry flourished in this area. This industry formed
the basis of the commercial development of Lyon. The industry survived
until the end of the Second World War when it became uncompetitive. Louis
Pasteur, the great microbiologist, made one of his first important microbiological
contributions in 1864. The silkworms were dying and the silk industry
was in grave danger of dying as well. Pasteur demonstrated that the disease
was caused by a micro-organism transferred by direct contact from infected
worms to uninfected ones. By separating the infected worms, the disease
was controlled. This was one of the many applied scientific contributions
which Pasteur made to French industry.
To the East across the River Rhone from Bellecour there is a line of Government buildings built in the architectural tradition of the 19th century. The City Council regulations ensure that any changes to these three areas must maintain the integrity of the original architecture. Lyon has recently been awarded an accolade for its maintenance of three different periods of architecture in its central city area. Separating the Eastern end of Bellecour from the River Rhone is a group of four storey stone buildings which originally were houses owned by the silk merchants of the 17th century (Figure 1). Now these four storey houses are divided into apartments. Each apartment consists of many rooms, each of which is large with high ceilings and lined by beautiful wood panelling. Each room has an ornately decorated fireplace. These apartments have been fully renovated by their present owners. The apartments on the fourth floor have nice views, but they are smaller than those on the lower floors and the ceilings are lower.
When the houses were first built, the owners lived in the rooms on the lower floors and the servants lived in the top floor. Across the Rue de la Barre to the North of this complex of buildings is the Hotel Dieu. This is still an active hospital. The oldest part of the Hotel Dieu was built during the 17th century when Bellecour and its surrounding houses were built. These buildings now house a museum which has exhibits demonstrating something of 17th century medicine. A number of epidemics of plague devastated Europe from the 1300’s to the 1600’s. A number of museums in Europe have models dressed like the one illustrated in the Hotel Dieu. This is a doctor in his clothes which were meant to protect him from the plague. In the pointed nosepiece they used to put sweet smelling scents. The halberds (pikes) beside the plague doctor were used by hospital guards to keep away non residents of Lyon.
Figure 3 shows a number of large copper bowls in which liquid medicines were mixed and then dispensed through the taps at the bottom of each bowl. The apothecaries jars contained various ingredients for these medicines. Figure 4 is a hospital bed made to take a number of patients, anything from four to seven. The sickest patients and those nearest to death were kept towards the sides of the bed.
A few years ago, a 12th century stone abbey on the Ile Barbe in the centre of the River Saone close to the central city area was divided into nine sections which were sold as separate entities. The new owners have set about renovating these buildings in the spirit of the era, but more luxuriously and with many more modern comforts than the original monks would have approved. This development further underlines the importance placed by the City Council on maintaining the heritage character of the city of Lyon (Figure 5).
One of the important former scientific and industrial institutions of Lyon is preserved in the Institut Lumiere at 25 Rue du Premier-Film (Figure 6). This was the home of the Lumiere Brothers who developed the first motion picture. The opening scene of this picture first screened in march 1895, showed the workers from the Lumiere Factory leaving work at the end of a day. The factory used to be in the grounds behind the house, but it has now been demolished except for the door which appeared in the opening scene of the film. A still picture of this scene is incorporated in the banner outside the Institut. This building is now a museum which houses historical documents and various pieces of photographic equipment used by the Lumiere Brothers.
One ought not visit this part of France without visiting the local wine
growing area - in this case the Beaujolais area North of Lyon around the
town of Belleville. At the time of my visit, the vines were leafless and
the farmers were doing routine runing work. One could imagine the beauty
of the countryside in Spring and Summer when the gently rolling hills
are covered with green vines.
The Opening Ceremony
The Main Hall in the RAI Congress Centre was filled almost to capacity with delegates and associates. After a short speech of welcome by the Congress President, Jan van den Tweel, the audience was entertained with songs about Amsterdam. Then came the piece de resistance. Gary Schwartz, an Art Historian and Director of a Foundation for Museum Curators of Dutch and Flemish Art, gave an entertaining and scholarly talk which he called “Everything you always wanted to know about Amsterdam and Rembrandt”. The talk was illustrated by photographs of paintings by the famous Dutch and Flemish artists, together with scenes from Amsterdam in the 17th century and photographs of similar aspects of the city which he took a few weeks before giving this lecture.
Gary set the scene for the entry of the 25 year old Rembrandt from his home city of Leiden into the cosmopolitan city of Amsterdam, which at that time was one of the wealthiest and most powerful cities in the world. Rembrandt chose the genre of portraiture, in particular, group portraiture as his speciality. His first group portrait was a masterpiece which is still reproduced the world over. It is “The Anatomy Lesson”, completed in 1632.
The lecturer was Dr Nicolaes Tulp, a surgeon and anatomist in Amsterdam. He was well placed socially, and later became Burgomaster (Mayor) of the city. Undoubtedly, this association greatly assisted in making Rembrandt the most sought after portrait painter in Amsterdam. (With so many wealthy businessmen in the city wanting themselves recorded for posterity, many portrait painters were attracted there). Because of this pre-eminence, he charged a high fee for his services - 500 guilders for a full length portrait. This was the equivalent of a whole year’s salary for a skilled tradesman. During the ten years or so that he was at the height of his popularity, Rembrandt lived like a millionaire. In later life he became much less affluent, and sank into bankruptcy.
While “The Anatomy Lesson” is famous, his most famous group
portrait is “The Night Watch”. This is a portrait of a guild
of Musketeers - civic guardsmen (civilian soldiers). In Amsterdam at that
time there were many similar guilds. They were usually based around the
particular weapon that the guildsmen became experts in using - cross bow,
hand (long) bow, musket etc. it was customary for the guilds to commission
portrait painters to paint the group - just like group or team photographs
today. “The Night Watch” was commissioned in 1642.
The painting itself has had a chequered history in the 370 years since
it was completed. It has suffered from the hands of inexpert restorers
trying to preserve the surface of the painting with various types of varnish.
Twice it was attacked by deranged viewers - one threw acid on it, and
the other slashed it with a knife. In 1715, a piece was cut from each
side so that it would fit better into the hanging space that had been
allocated to it. Nowadays it is one of the most treasured possessions
of the Rijksmuseum situated close to the centre of Amsterdam.
25 Years of the Journal “Histopathology”
During the Amsterdam Congress, Blackwell Publishing and the British Division of the I.A.P. had a small cocktail function to celebrate 25 years of a very successful partnership. In 1977 the two bodies combined to publish a new pathology journal which was named “Histopathology”. Roger Cotton from Nottingham, President of the British Division, and Editor of a book that ran to three editions over thirty years “Lecture Notes in Pathology” was appointed the first Editor.
The journal was successful from its first edition, and some of the profits
from the journal were paid to the Division. Over the years this money
has allowed the British Division to support educational activities at
home and abroad, in particular the Arab Division of the I.A.P. and the
pathologists in Southern Africa.
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