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J. S. K

Notes by way of remembrance of a trip to France and Belgium at Easter, 1882.

France ; Belgium, 1882, April 7-16.
Physical Description:
2 v. (108, 118 p.) ; 16 cm.
Rare Books and Manuscripts
NA5543.K2 N68 1882
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Binding: Limp morocco notebooks, one dark green, the other dark plum; with marbled edges and marbled endpapers.
Manuscript diary of a 10-day tour of cathedrals in France and Belgium. The author, an unidentified Englishman from Bath, signs the work "J.S.K.". Although written in a complete and well-structured style, the recollections appear to have been written during the course of the travels. The first volume of the diary has writing on both sides of each page, with numerous corrections and additions. The second volume consists of a clean, corrected copy of the text of the first volume, here written on the recto only of each page. Both diaries are in pen and black ink throughout, in a single hand, without illustration.
The author leaves Bath on 7 April 1882, meets his two travelling companions (John Day and Mr. Willis) in London, and crosses the Channel to Boulogne the next day. The purpose of the trip is clearly architectural, and the text consists almost exclusively of his notes on the French gothic style of church architecture, with many comparisons to English style. The diarist writes lengthy opinions on the great cathedrals. The cathedral at Amiens generally pleases. The author considers the Cathédrale Saint-Pierre at Beauvais dangerous, due to poor engineering, although the tapestries there are excellent. The grace and balance of Chartres is noted ("we had as yet seen nothing so beautiful"), and the author climbs to the top of its spire to view the surrounding country. After Chartres, the diarist is less impressed with remaining churches on the itinerary, including those at Le Mans, Soissons, Rheims, Laon, and Ghent. At Saint Bavo Cathedral in Ghent he expresses his dislike for the vulgar artwork of Rubens while showing great admiration for the Ghent Altarpiece. Interspersed with his reviews of specific pieces of architecture, the author offers elaborate musings on topics such as "truth of construction" and the picturesque versus the beautiful. While discussing these topics he occasionally refers to the likes of Ruskin and Fergusson.
Subject Terms:
Architecture, Gothic -- Belgium.
Architecture, Gothic -- France.
Belgium -- Description and travel.
Cathédrale d'Amiens.
Cathédrale de Chartres.
Cathédrale Saint-Pierre (Beauvais, France)
Church architecture -- Belgium.
Church architecture -- France.
Eyck, Jan van, 1390-1440. Ghent altarpiece.
France -- Description and travel.
Sint-Baafskathedraal te Gent.

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