Blomfield, Reginald. French Architecture and its Relation to Modern Practice. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927.
Nostalgia defines this the third title in our French architecture series from the pen of Sir Reginal Blomfield. An English gentlemen, architect and scholar, Blomfield extends his considerable experience beyond the bounds of academic contribution and into the realm of criticism to celebrate purity and order in architectural design. His romanticized yearnings locate a peak in French Architectural achievement, one that slowly erodes “in the shallows and quicksands of Viollet le Duc’s medieval travesties.” This 21-page manifesto includes other such vitriolic gems extolling, by nation, the undesirable idiosyncrasies of modernist experimentation happening throughout the continent. At times, Blomfield betrays a chauvinism born not out of a natural proclivity toward racial superiority but rather emerging out of his own quintessential Englishness, a celebration of the exquisiteness of his own citizenship. And in his nationalist reverence for the past and even pastness, he recalls the Scholar Gypsy, who witnesses “this strange disease of modern life” as it “Still nurs[es] the unconquerable hope, Still clutch[es] the inviolable shade.”
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 B5
Blomfield, Reginald. Three Hundred Years of French Architecture, 1491-1794. London: A. Maclehose, 1936.
This is the second installment from the pen of Sir Reginald Blomfield to be included in our series on French Architecture. In Three Hundred Years of French Architecture, the English scholar and architect, whose own architectural work represents a rejection of what he considered “the paralysing conventions of the Victorian era,” explores the relationship between the evolution of style in French architecture and its historical backdrop. Blomfield addresses Three Hundred Years of French Architecture to the everyman, whose collective cultural curiosity he believes should be tempered by history. To that end, he parallels an indulgent listing of canonical works with often entertaining prose, generating a well-illustrated, linear narrative of the intellectual history of style through the rich period of Neoclassicism in France.
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 B53
Blomfield, Reginald. A History of French Architecture 1494 to 1661: From the Reign of Charles VIII till the Death of Mazarin. 2 vols. London: G. Bell, 1911.
In 1911, architect and scholar Sir Reginald Blomfield penned A History of French Architecture 1494 to 1661, an authoritative two-volume work on the history of French architecture. Part of the Architecture & Planning Library’s Paul Philippe Cret collection, A History of French Architecture constructs a linear history of French architecture encompassing the scope of what might be termed a long 16th century. In this English-language text, Blomfield endeavors to locate a continuous trajectory between the beginnings of Italian renaissance influence in French architecture and the inception of a neo-classical design expression during the era of Louis XIV. Blomfield’s is an essential reference for the renaissance historian, functioning at once as an erudite piece of scholarship and a foundational historiographical text.
Library of Congress call number: NA 1044 B6