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Saturday, 25 May 2013


The architecture of The French Enlightenment [mid-18th century until the French Revolution] you can but admire in Britain - William Kent, Vanburgh, Hawksmoor, Robert Adam [right: portrait by George Willison c.1773], Tradition of the Grand Tour, etc.

Zoffany's painting of Charles Towneley and colleagues, of c.1781, recently-imported classical statuary at his home of 14 Queen Anne's Gate, London. Note the splendid carpet.
From: The Architecture of The French Enlightenment
Left: St-symphorien, view of the interior, painting by de Machy [1772]Right: The salt works of Arc and Senans, the house of the director. The remoteness of the site and the authority of the director of the factory are emphasised by the heavy banded columns.
The Barrieres of Paris, elevations of ten now destroyed customs posts

In the 19th century, my favourite is Schinkel [1781-1841], a charming looking man. 

Above: Schinkel's set design for Mozart's 'The Magic Flute' [1816]

Extract from Karl Friedrich Schinkel 'The English Journey' Journal of a Visit to France and Britain in 1826: 

Friday, 16 June

Looked at interiors of colleges and churches.  First a beautiful garden outside one of these buildings, and old church, part of which is Anglo-Saxon, Christ Church.  Picture gallery in Radcliffe's foundation, bad, incomprehensible how such things can be exhibited. - Chapel and cloister in the college at the entrance to the town [Magdalen].  Good stained glass from Rubens's time, new glass opposite, vestibule of the church with an iron stove in the middle, where the smoke is drawn away under the floor. - Another courtyard and church at the entrance to the park, vestibule, 4 pinnacles on the tower. - Church in the main street. the wooden roof construction without beams and with flat pointed arches, as small iron roofs are now made. - Library [Radcliffe Camera], circular building with arches all round; 2 fine candelabra, especially the one with the 3 Ibis figures.  Once can see clearly how the circular shape is retained in a triangle.  View from the gallery of the Library into the various colleges quite distinctive and opulent but very repetitive architecture. - Collection of natural history specimens and antiquities in another ponderous building (next to it execrable herms), Druid rings in glass mosaic, perhaps Phonoecian. Models of Stonehenge near Salisbury. - The church of another college with stained glass windows by the old Dutch school and that of West.  

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