Description & Technical information

This large drawing is a preparatory study for one of the full-page framing illustrations in the volume of Baron Taylor’s Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France devoted to the region of Picardy, published in instalments between 1835 and 1845. The monumental publication of the Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France, illustrating the architectural and artistic heritage of the various regions of France, was issued in twenty-four volumes between 1820 and 1878. The text was the work of various authors and the accompanying illustrations were commissioned from several artists, notably Viollet-le-Duc, who produced over 220 of them for the book.

As one modern scholar has noted of his work for the Voyages pittoresques et romantiques, ‘The invention that went into these astonishing specimens of the current medievalizing mania is striking, giving them a special quality that Baron Isidore Justin Séverin Taylor recognized. These ornamental exercises testify in great measure to Viollet-le-Duc’s unrestrained love for decoration, a type of work he considered “truly artistic”, and likewise the nature of his relationship with the Middle Ages, a world he believed to have been bursting with vitality. What distinguished his decorative borders from those of others was not only the inventive nature of the compositions, but also the choice of subject.’ 

A number of other drawings for the same work are in the extensive collection of drawings by Viollet-le-Duc in the Médiathèque du Patrimoine et de la Photographie (Centre de Recherches sur les Monuments Historiques) in Charenton-le-Pont.

Medium: Pencil and two shades of grey wash
Signature: Inscribed and signed Picardie / 13eme Siècle / E. Viollet Leduc / ne pas copier au miroir / 6 eme in pencil in the centre of the sheet. 

Dimensions: 46.3 x 29.3 cm (18¹/₄ x 11¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: Baron Justin Taylor, Charles Nodier and Alphonse de Cailleux, Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l’ancienne France. Picardie, Paris, 1835, unpaginated.

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints