Terrasse, Charles. Fountainebleau. Paris: Draeger et Verve, 1951.

Charles Terrasse’s Fountainebleau monograph celebrates this site of hunting and retreat, documenting its interior architecture, paintings and sculptures while chronicling its quotidian functions. Often ethereal black and white photographs as well as a few color images complement Terrasse’s prose, resulting in a truly romantic portrayal of the chateau’s exquisite interiors and collection of centuries of painted and sculpted masterpieces. Though devoid of any plans, Fountainebleau‘s assembly of visual material animates the day-to-day of royal life and all of its accompanying courtly duties within the spaces of this renaissance chateau.


And the pièce de résistance.

Library of Congress call number: DC 801 F67 T4

French Provincial Architecture

Goodwin, Philip Lippincott and Henry Oothovt Milliken. French Provincial Architecture: As Shown in Various Examples of Town and Country Houses, Shops and Public Places Adaptable to American Conditions. London: B.T. Batsford, 1924.

American architects Philip Lippincott Goodwin and Henry Oothovt Milliken assembled this study of French provincial architecture to provide an American audience access to lesser known and vernacular French architecture. The book includes photographs, sketches and drawings of these buildings accompanied by an index to facilitate research. Though images included in the book are of middling quality, they represent a unique addition to the literature on French architecture, resurrecting the vernacular as a significant cultural object.

Library of Congress call numbers: NA 1041 G6 1924A

Architectural Studies in France

Petit, John Louis. Architectural Studies in France. New ed.; Revised Edition. London: G. Bell, 1890.

In this study of medieval French Architecture, John Petit utilizes a comparative framework to generate analyses of various buildings and building elements. The product of his travels in France, Petit celebrates his visitor status, acknowledging that the outsider who lacks cultural access notes significances that might otherwise be glossed or even neglected. It naturally follows that Petit opens with a discussion of French architecture as it relates to his experience and observation of English architecture. This comparative trope enables Petit to elegantly extend his conversation from the architectural majuscule to those bit parts which create it. Combined with engravings of significant buildings and architectural components, Petit’s Architectural Studies in France is an excellent resource for the medievalist and for those who delight in directed travel literature.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1042 P485 1890

L’Art Architectural en France: Francois I to Louis XIV

Rouyer, Eugène. L’Art Architectural en France depuis François Ier jusqu’à Louis XVI : Motifs de Décoration Intérieure et Extérieure Dessinés d’après des Modèles Exécutés et Inédits des Principales Époques de la Renaissance.

Collection: Cret

In the opening lines of the two-volume, French language text, L’Art Architectural en France depuis François Ier jusqu’à Louis XVI, architect Eugène Rouyer and conservationist Alfred Darcel call attention to the lack of critical literature concerning French Renaissance architecture. In 1863, at the time of original publication, these Louvre scholars noted a high degree of sycophantism in contemporary writing on the period, the work of men seduced by beauty–“Mais arrivée à la Renaissance, à une époque où les documents abondent, il semble que, séduite par la grâce toute nouvelle des monuments qu’elle rencontre, elle ait abdiqué toute idée critique.” In response, Rouyer and Darcel produced a series of truly elegant building analyses unencumbered by obsequious prose and illustrated with exquisite engravings noting building details on both a large and small scale. The Cret volumes are organized building analyses first, followed by a table of contents that triangulates the location of engravings with that of its associated text. Together, these tomes represent an integral reference for the Renaissance scholar.

Library of Congress call numbers: NA 1044 R7 1863 V. 1 Copy 2, NA 1044 R7 1863 V. 2

Monuments Historique de France

Roussel, Joules. Monuments Historiques de France. Ensembles d’Architectura, Détails Décoratifs, Documents, d’après les Archives du Ministère de l’Instruction Publique et des Beaux-arts. 3 Vols. Paris: A. Guérinet, [n.d.].

Assembled by the French Ministère de l’Instruction Publique et des Beaux-Arts, Monuments Historiques de France is a three volume series containing over 200 19th- and 20th-century photographs that document French monumental architecture from the Roman Empire to the 18th century. A range of building types are represented including public works, cathedrals, palaces and other domestic architecture. These volumes are organized chronologically and provide high-quality photographs capturing exterior, interior, and detailed views of some of France’s most renowned architectural spaces. A product of the neoimperialist era, a small section of photographs also documents Algerian architecture, though these plates are strangle absent from the volumes available in the Architecture & Planning Library special collection.

Library of Congress call numbers: NA 1041 R63 V. 1, V.2, V3

Small French Buildings

Coffin, Jr., Lewis A., Henry M. Polhemus and Addison F. Worthington. Small French Buildings: The Architecture of Town and Country, Comprising Cottages, Farmhouses, Minor Chateaux or Manors with their Farm Groups, Small Town Dwellings, and a Few Churches. New York: C. Scribner, 1921.

Small French Buildings is an English-language celebration of the French vernacular in Normandy, Brittany, the Cote d’Or and Dordogne. The book divides its collection of 183 plates into four sections by building type: Cottages, Churches and Chapels, Town Houses, and small Châteaux, Manors and other farm buildings. While it is unclear why certain buildings are highlighted in this volume, the images included provide access (though somewhat distilled) to the architecture of the everyday–where people lived, worked, played and dreamed. Published in 1921, this idealized vernacular, however uncluttered by its society, is a unique document in an era when art and architectural historians were generally concerned with the canon.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 C6

The Artists’ Society’s Pugin

Pugin, Augustus Welby. Details of Ancient Timber Houses of the 15th & 16th Centuries: Selected from Those Existing at Rouen, Caen, Beauvais, Gisors, Abbeville, Strasbourg. London: Ackermann, 1836.

In 1836, Augustus Pugin, England’s renowned Neo-Gothic architect, completed a series of studies that document French timber architecture from the 15th and 16th centuries. “Drawn on the spot and etched” in Rouen, Caen, Beauvais, Gisors, Abbeville, Strasbourg and more, these sketches and etchings largely record timber design details on architectural elements embellishing pubs, manor houses, churches–largely vernacular architecture. From time to time, Pugin sees fit to establish scale and even intimate construction technique. However, as a source, Pugin’s studies tell us more about iconography than construction practices.

Notably, our copy of Pugin’s Details of Ancient Timber Houses of the 15th & 16th Centuries once belonged to the Langham Sketching Society, one of London’s artist collectives which became so popular in the 19th century and an important precursor to the establishment of true professional societies. The circulation manifesto appears fixed to the book’s front binder and establishes basic circulation practices. Interestingly, these “bye-laws” also provide some insight into the activities of the society–“All Costumes or draperies must be returned on the Saturday evening before the Monday on which the draped figure is to be set.”

Library of Congress call number: NA 1042 P755