Tag Archives: Viollet-le-Duc

New exhibition of historic photos of Notre-Dame in Paris

Notre-Dame, Paris, west front. Print by J. Coney, 1830

In response to the devastating Notre-Dame fire in April 2019, the Courtauld has published an online exhibition featuring 19th- and early 20th-century images of the cathedral taken from the Courtauld’s Conway Library.

Modern media gave the terrible fire at the cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris a shocking immediacy. We watched it live on 24-hour television, and followed the unfolding story on social media. Now comes the slow process of stabilising and conserving the damaged building, and, more controversially, restoring and rebuilding. The magnificent and largely 13th-century wooden roof above the vault has gone, and the central spire built by Viollet-le-Duc in the 1850s collapsed dramatically into the flames. But most of the cathedral church, begun around 1160, finished by around 1330, and heavily restored by Viollet-le-Duc and Lassus in the mid-19th century, has survived surprisingly intact.

Images have been chosen that help to tell the story of the cathedral. Many of them are photographs taken in the 19th century, during the restoration of the cathedral by Viollet-le-Duc. We have included some prints made by English artists which show the cathedral before the restoration. Evocative images of the cathedral in its cityscape are found in photographs by a British tourist, taken around 1911, and by the great architectural photographer A. F. Kersting in the third quarter of the 20th century. The early post-war city captured by Kersting now seems almost as remote as that of 1911. Photographs from the Macmillan Commission recording war damage in Europe during the Second World War show the emotive power of the cathedral and its ability to survive.

The Conway Library at The Courtauld is a collection of approximately one million photographic and printed images of architecture, sculpture and medieval painting, founded by the journalist, mountaineer, politician and pioneering art historian, Martin Conway, Lord Conway of Allington. Conway began collecting images of works of art as a student in the 1880s, and bequeathed his collection to The Courtauld Institute of Art when it was founded in 1932. A project to provide a digitised version of the entire collection is currently underway and is made possible through a dedicated team of staff and volunteers.

See the exhibition here

Conference: Robert Willis: Science, Technology and Architecture in the 19th Century

report16-17 September 2016

This two-day conference explores the extraordinary life and work of the Cambridge academic Robert Willis (1800-1875). Willis was a famous Cambridge polymath. A Fellow of Gonville and Caius, he was Jacksonian Professor of Natural and Experimental Philosophy and taught engineering in the early years of that subject.

His research and teaching was spread over a wide range of interests. He was in particular a pioneer of the study of Medieval vaulting and did extensive research on Gothic Cathedrals and Medieval architectural nomenclature. In Cambridge, he is best known as the originator and author of The Architectural History of the University and Colleges of Cambridge which was put together from his papers and additional material by his nephew John Willis

This conference, set in the beautiful surroundings of Willis’s own college, will look at the whole range of his interests, with lectures on the first day and tours of the buildings he discussed on the

Further details and booking:

From the local to the global

James Campbell Willis and Cambridge architecture
Alex Buchanan Willis and his networks of knowledge

Willis and science

Jacques Heymann The teaching of engineering in Cambridge
Ben Marsden Willis and science
Robin Maconie Willis, speech, sound and music

Willis and archaeology

Chris Elliott Willis and Egyptian architecture
Martin Biddle Willis and the Holy Sepulchre Church in Jerusalem
Toby Huitson Circular stairs, Norman galleries and polychrome stonemasonry: Willis’s work on Worcester Cathedral
Tim Tatton‐Brown Willis and Chichester Cathedral

Willis, vaults and drawing

Santiago Huerta Willis and gothic vault studies before 1850
Antonio Becchi Drawing proofs: The tangible worlds of Robert Willis and Oliver Byrne
Javier Girón Willis and the constructive drawing in architecture
Nick Webb Digital re‐presentation of Willis’s work on medieval vaults

Willis’s influence

David Wendland Robert Willis and Germany: Gothic Revival and research on mediaeval architecture
Simone Talenti Willis’s influence in 19th-century Italy
Martin Bressani Willis and Viollet‐le‐Duc
Adrian Forty Willis and the Modernists

The programme will conclude with a celebratory dinner at Caius College. Day 2 will comprise a walking tour of sites with Willis interest in Cambridge and a coach trip to Ely.