Born Charles-Francois Bossu in 1813, Bossu adopted the pseudonym Marville in 1831. He worked as an illustrator in Paris in the 1830s and 40s, primarily providing drawings that were subsequently engraved and published in books and magazines. In 1850, Marville began to make photographs, at first using the paper negative process. From 1851 to 1854, he published over 100 photographs in the albums of Blanquart-Evrard, beginning with Album Photographique de l'Artiste et de l'Amateur (1851). In 1852-1853 made photographic expeditions in central France and Germany. By the mid 1850s he was using the collodion negative process. In 1856 he recorded the baptism of the Prince Imperial in Notre Dame, Paris. In 1858 he photographed newly refubished parks such as the Bois de Boulogne for the city of Paris and in 1861-1862 photographed drawings by Italian masters in Milan and Turin. From 1864 to 1868, he worked on commission for the city of Paris to photographs the streets, monuments, and parks of the city both before and after the radical changes implemented by Napoleon III and Baron Haussmann.In the late 1860s and early 1870s he undertook a series of photographs documenting the city's new adornments, such as street lamps and public urinals. Throughout his career, Marville also photographed numerous architectural projects, including the Paris Opera, and made acclaimed reproductions of fine art, including celebrated photographs after drawings by Jean-Dominique Ingres.
Hambourge, Maria Morris. Charles Marville: Photographs of Paris at the Time of the Second Empire on Loan from the Musée Carnavalet, Paris. Exh. cat. French Institute. New York, 1981.
Hungerford, Constance Cain. "Charles Marville, Popular Illustrator: The Origins of a Photographic Sensibility." History of Photography 9:3 (July-September 1985): pp. 227-246.