Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Knight Attire

Armour and top hat

Eccentric helmet and suit of armour

Tall helmet

Soldier wearing gambison

Brigand soldier

15th century armour

Knight in armour end 14th cent.

Knight with bow

Lateral view rider's armour

15th century sword hilt

15th century horse and rider armour

Horse armour late 1400s

Horse head armour

Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814-1879) was an influential French architect, particularly noted for his central role in the Gothic Revival* movement. In the aftermath of the French Revolution, he carried out a number of significant restoration projects on prominent buildings, including Notre Dame.

In addition to his practical work, Viollet-le-Duc taught art history at L'École des Beaux-Arts and published several renowned works that had considerable impact on the Art Nouveau movement by inspiring Gaudi and Horta, among others.

Chief among his writings were 'Dictionnaire Raisonné de L’Architecture' (Dictionary of Architecture), from 1854, and the wider ranging series, from which the above images were taken, 'Dictionnaire Raisonné du Mobilier Français de L'Époque Carlovingienne à la Renaissance' (Dictionary of French Furniture from the Carolingian era to the Renaissance).

The furniture series - which obviously goes far beyond furniture - consisted of 12 volumes and its publication began in 1858. The first six volumes are available online. The first two volumes feature domestic and religious tools and furniture as well as ornamental motifs in building and objets d'art. Volumes II + III are approximately devoted to costumes. The last two books relate to armour and weapons, essentially.

The illustrations are more along the lines of technical drawings rather than artistic pieces, per se; but it's definitely worth skimming through them all. There is some interesting and quirky material depicted. I imagine this series would be a useful authority for clothing and decor accuracy in period illustration work, re-enactments, craft or dressmaking and the like.

The series is online at the University of Heidelberg: Volume I «» Volume II «» Volume III «» Volume IV «» Volume V «» Volume VI.
(note: click anything below 'Inhalt' and then the '-' sign at the top of the page to get thumbnail images)

Information about Eugène Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc: one, two, three, four.


Mamadou said...

Late medieval armor was so elaborate, I'm not very surprised to find it included in what is styled an art book. The plates are great to browse.

Kittybriton said...

I wish I could find a picture - there is an astonishing suit of ceremonial armour made for King Henry VIII with diabolical horns and spectacles on the helmet!
The drawings here are very typical of an era when people were less familiar with the style of accoutrement of the Middle Ages, but beautiful nevertheless.

peacay said...

Kittybriton, I think you must be looking for this, no? Pity the large versions have enormous watermarks across them. There seems to be a few modern (art) variants with an image search on 'henry horn helmet'.

peacay said...

A partially de-watermarked Henry VIII horned helmet. (needs more work somebody!)

Kittybriton said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! <jumping up-and-down emoticon>
That's exactly the one I was thinking of. And it's no great surprise that it was a commission by Emperor Maximilian; the man was utterly focused on building his empire. Not a single opening to forge a new alliance or seize new territory was allowed to slip away.

Hilda said...

Awesome detailed drawings. But the two helmets (or whatever they're called) up there look mighty awkward to wear during a fight or a joust.

Anonymous said...

I love the way some of these guys are posing like a GQ spread. Some things never change.

The whole kit was pretty cumbersome for a fight, but would probably have been worn for a joust, not a battle.

Chiastych said...

Thank you for these images. They keep cycling through my head while I'm falling off to sleep. They're the kind of images that would have ushered me to other realms in the daytime too when I was a boy.

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