BIBLIO — Writings 1850-1899


Writings on Villard de Honnecourt, 1850-1899

TOURNEUR, VICTOR. Article in Travaux de l’Académie de Reims, vol. 17.

Cited by Chevalier, 1905.1 , vol. 2, col. 4677, as referring to Villard on p. 50.



VIOLLET-LE-DUC, EUGÈNE EMMANUELDictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe sièc1e. 10 vols. Paris: Ve A. Morel et Cie, Editeurs, 1854-1868.

Contains various references to Villard. He notes  (vol. 1, p. 111, s.v. “architecte”) that Villard “dirigea peut-étre les constructions de la cathédrale de Cambrai and that Villard was called to Hungary “pour entreprendre d’importants travaux.” In vol. 2 (p. 317, s.v. “cathédrale”) , Viollet-le-Duc attributes Reims to Robert de Coucy and claims that Villard was his “contemporain et ami” although he does not attribute to Villard any part in the design of Reims. He does cite (vol. 2, p. 321) Villard’s drawings of Reims as partial proof that the work at Reims was well-advanced by 1230, hence indirectly assigning the Villard drawings to that date.

In his long article on sculpture (vol. 8), he devotes pp. 265-267 to the significance of Villard’s geometric schemes for designing figures, claiming that these stem from Egyptian art as passed into medieval Europe by way of Byzantium, and that such schemes were intended for ordinary artists, not for the great masters. He here dates the portfolio to the middle of the 13th century.



RAMÉ, ALFRED. “Notes d’un voyage en Suisse,” Annales Archéologiques, ed. Dideron, vol. 16 (1856), pp. 49-64.
States (pp. 57-58) that Villard—spelled “Vilars”—was a Picard architect who visited Lausanne in the mid-13th century and drew the south rose of the cathedral, a drawing that “ne brille pas par la precision et la fidélité.” Ramé claims that Villard’s wrestlers on fol. 14v were drawn from wrestlers on choir stalls at Lausanne and not from his imagination.

Ramé asks (p. 63) if Villard, architect of Cambrai and admirer of Laon, could have been the architect who introduced the French style into Lausanne.

No illustrations.


1858. 1

BURGES, WILLIAM. “An Architect’s Sketch-book of the Thirteenth Century,” The Builder, no. 16 (15 November), p. 758; (20 November), pp. 770-72.

Burges was one of the first non-Frenchmen to examine the Villard portfolio, and he provides an amazing amount of detailed analysis and commentary crammed into three pages.

He refers to the promised Willis facsimile (F.II ) and had studied the Lassus facsimile (F.I) , which he criticizes on several counts: that Villard’s underdrawings are not reproduced in Lassus’s lithographs; that Lassus’s interpretations of Villard’s intentions are sometimes uninformative or possibly incorrect; and that Lassus is given to unfounded speculation, for example (p. 758), Lassus’s attribution of Cambrai and Kassa to Villard “is pure conjecture; but, at least, has the merit of probability, and until we have something better to substitute [for it], will do as well as anything else. ”

Burges also complains that Lassus misled him about Villard’s name by gratuitously employing “Villard” rather than “Wilars”, observing (p. 770n) that “we ought to give so accomplished a man as our author [Villard] the credit of spelling his own name correctly. ”

Burges’s study is divided into two parts. In the first, he deals mainly with the physical state of the portfolio and with Villard’s drawing techniques. He notes that the binding is at least the second employed and that the leaves are not bound in their original sequence. Burges claims that Villard employed a bow-pencil, but not a bow-pen, and that he made use of compass and straightedge. He also claims that the nature of Villard’s letters proves he used a crow- rather than a goose-quill pen for his captions. In the second part of his article, Burges summarizes the various subjects found in the portfolio, and concentrates on Villard’s style and ability as a draftsman.

In general, he is very critical of Villard the draftsman. Regarding the architectural drawings, he complains (p. 758) of their “extreme inaccuracy and contempt of detail,” but admits that this is at least in part due to the fact that Villard, like other architects of his time, employed models as points of departure only, altering them to suit his needs or sense of what was better and making no attempt at completeness. For example, in the case of the Lausanne rose (fol. 16r), Burges states that Villard’s rendering “is by no means an improvement upon the original [design].” He is also critical of Villard’s drawings of figures, which he places (p. 770) in four categories: those drawn (i) from life, (ii) after antique models, (iii) as compositions for or copies of contemporary subjects, and (iv) to show the art of portraiture. Burges is particularly suspicious of the utility of this last category, as well as its result, claiming that such schemes (and architectural books in general) are normally “useful only to those who can do without them.” He concludes, “If our friend Wilars had studied the human or animal skeleton, instead of impossible squares and triangles he would, doubtless, have been a better artist, and a fortiori, a better architect. ”

Burges makes only one tentative attribution of a work to Villard. Noting Villard’s interest in Lausanne and the quality of his drawings of choirstalls (fols. 27v and 29r), Burges claims that the fact that Villard’s wrestlers (fol. 14v) are found on the Lausanne choirstalls “would almost lead us to believe that Wilars de Honnecourt had something to do with the design of the [Lausanne] stalls.”

Burges provides a number of details of Villard’s drawings that he made as woodblock prints from his own copies of the original drawings in the portfolio. He insists these are not facsimiles, their purpose being to study Villard’s techniques and to provide the reader with a feeling for the original drawings.


GARLING, HENRY BAILY. “Some Remarks on the Contents of the Album of Villard de Honnecourt.” Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, vol. 10 (1858-1859), pp. 13-20.

A paper delivered 15 November 1858 that is of greater interest for its condemnation of 19th-century architectural practice and for the comments and questions of fellows and guests in attendance (see below), than for anything Garling has to say about Villard or his portfolio, which Garling knew only in the Lassus facsimile (F.I ).

Garling believed (p. 15) that the portfolio was “not a mere memorandum book for the author’s own use, but that it was intended for the instruction of others,” although he states specifically (p. 15), “There is no pretension to mystery; no secrets of craft [in the portfolio].”

Garling was impressed (p. 15) by Villard’s versatility, claiming that the portfolio “embraces every department of an architect’s studies,” but he was considerably less favorably impressed by Villard’s skill as a draftsman. He criticizes (p. 14) the drawing of the Lausanne rose (fol. 16r) as made “from memory, and very incorrect.” He explains the discrepancies between Villard’s drawings of Reims and the actual building by the fact that Villard probably drew from working drawings which were later abandoned or modified. He dates (p. 13) Villard’s activities to the period between 1230 and 1250 and claims “there is very strong reason for believing that he was the architect of the Choir of Cambray.”

Garling refers to the article “last week” of Burges (1858.1 ), who was in the audience and who summarized the contents of that article. Much of the discussion following Garling’s presentation was directed at the hubris of Lassus, “who claimed for France the merit of almost all the great architectural works of the period.”

Gilbert Scott praised (p. 19) Villard by stating that he “did not believe that architects of the present day could draw the figure so well as De Honnecourt.”


HENSZLMANN, IMRE. Pesti Napló, 9-dik évi folyam, 217. szám, 1858, Csütörtök, oct. 14. [Journal of Pest, volume 9., nr. 217, 14 October 1858], p. [2].

This short article is the summary by an unknown journalist of a meeting or conference organized by the Hungarian Science Academy on 11 October 1858 during which Henszlmann spoke about Gothic architecture, proposing that Villard was architect of Cambrai, Saint-Yved at Braine, and the Elisabethkirche at Kassa. Henszlmann was the first Hungarian to write about art history, in a short book about churches of Kassa, published in 1846. In that work he did not mention Villard, who had not yet come to his attention.

Cited by Gál (1929.2 , p. 233) as an article in which Henszlmann claimed that Villard worked in Hungary between 1260 and 1270, called there by Stephen V.



See “The Facsimile Editions,” F.I, 1st ed.


MÉRIMÉE, PROSPER. “Album de Villard de Honnecourt,” Moniteur universel (20 December). Reprints: Études sur les arts du moyen âge, Paris: Michel-Lévy Frères, 1875; **Paris: Flammeron, 1969, pp. 229-70.

While basically a review of the Lassus facsimile (F.I ), Mérimée ranges afield in an attempt to place Villard in the general context of 13th-century art. He sees (p. 232) Villard as parallel to Leonardo da Vinci in his range of interests, the first author to make this comparison.

Mérimée concentrates on Villard’s interest in antique sculpture and expresses amazement that Villard, as a professional architect, was interested in sculpture and painting. He attempts to determine the purpose of Villard’s drawings, concluding that they and their captions were too random and inconsistent to have collectively served as a book of instruction for other masons. He terms (p. 230) the portfolio a “notation mnémonique à son [Villard’s] usage particulier.”

The 1858 article refers to Villard’s drawings by Lassus’s plate numbers, whereas the 1969 reprint employs photographic reproductions identified by folio.



EITELBERGER, RUDOLPH VON. “Das Album des Villard de Honnecourt,” Mittheilungen der k. k. Central-Commission zur Erforschung und Erhaltung der Baudenkmaler, 6 (June), pp. 145-149.

Cited by Renan (1862.1, p. 206 n. 4) and by Schneegans (1901.1, p. 53 n. 8) as published in Vienna and having to do with “proof” of the activities of Villard in Hungary. This is misleading. The article is essentially Eitelberger’s review of the Lassus (F.I) facsimile edition that appeared a year earlier. The author claims (p. 145) that the Villard portfolio “is as important for understanding 13th-century architecture as the Plan of Saint-Gall is for studying 10th-century architecture” (Dieses Album hat für des XIII. Jahrhunderts eine eben so grosse Bedeutung, als der Grundriss von St. Gallen für das X. Jahrhundert…”) Generally, Eitelberger dates Villard’s activities later than the dates now commonly accepted. Eitelberger was the founder of the Vienna School of Art History and the first person to write in German about the Villard drawings.

Reproduces, redrawn, the Cistercian church plan on fol. 14v and the Hungarian pavement on fol. 15v.


VIOLLET-LE-DUC, EUGÈNE EMMANUEL. “Premiére Apparition de Villard de Honnecourt, architecte du XIIIe siècle,” Gazette des beaux-arts, 1st ser., vol. 1, pp. 286-95.

An amusing imaginary piece in which Villard appears at night in Viollet-le-Duc’s study demanding to know why Lassus (F.I ) went to the trouble to publish his “carnets incomplets?” Villard explains the sources of certain of his drawings and stresses (p. 288) that the variety of subjects in his portfolio is due to the multiplicity of responsibilities of the medieval architect (“Nous n’avons pas inventé ce que vous appelez les spécialités, mot barbare comme la chose qu’il exprime”).

Villard likewise defends his style of drawing and explains (p. 290) that he drew the Reims window (fol. 10v) when it was “encore sur l’épure” when he had been called to Hungary “vers 1250” to build Kassa, the drawing having been made because, “je ne voulais pas oublier cette forme des meneaux de Reims, pour m’inspirer au besoin.”

Villard’s most amazing revelation (p. 292) is that he and the aged Pierre de Corbie drew the plan of a church on fol. 15r as a project for Reims. Before vanishing, Villard promises to return to Viollet-le-Duc “et nous causerons.” See Viollet-le-Duc, 1860.2 .

Reproduces the sleeping apostle on fol. 23v, the geometric sheep on fol. 18v, and the geometric wrestlers on fol. 19r after Lassus edition (F.I) lithographs.



BURGES, WILLIAM. “Architectural Drawing,” Transactions of the Royal Institute of British Architects, vol. 11, pp. 15-23.

A paper read by Burges, a newly elected member of the institute, on 19 November 1860. In a brief survey of medieval architectural drawings from the plan of Saint Gall to Jan van Eyck’s tower in St. Barbara, Burges briefly discusses (pp. 18-19) the Villard (called Wilars) portfolio which he had examined “two months ago” (September 1860?).

Burges claims that the Villard drawings “are the most perfect and largest collection of the [architectural] drawings of the Middle Ages which have come down to us.” He praises Villard’s drawing technique and claims that Villard was an architect, not a painter or sculptor as other have claimed. Burges was particularly favorably impressed by Villard the draftsman, referring to his “extreme precision of … touch” and “decidedly good style of drawing.” Burges explains Villard’s variations from known models as being due to the fact that “when he copied any executed work, he copied it not as he saw it, but with variations of his own, and as he would execute it himself.”

Reproduces his redrawing of the Cambrai plan (fol. 14v) and a detail of the Reims choir buttress (fol. 32v). See 1858.1 .


VIOLLET-LE-DUC, EUGÈNE EMMANUEL. “Deuxième Apparition de Villard de Honnecourt à propos de la Renaissance des arts,” Gazette des beaux-arts, lst ser., vol. 5, pp. 24-31.

Recounts the reappearance of Villard to Viollet-le-Duc (see 1859.2 ) to describe to him a visit Villard made to Rome “vers 1260” at which time he was “ravi d’admiration” for ancient monuments and learned how much more sensitive and skilled French artists were than their Italian counterparts.

Villard thus demands (p. 26) to know why the great flourishing of art in France in the 13rh century is not termed a renaissance. He points out to Viollet-le-Duc that the true French renaissance began in the late twelfth century, and that what passes for the French renaissance of the 16th century is but a superficial importation of a foreign style by a few grandees.

Villard insists throughout his monologue on the integrity of French Gothic art: “nos oeuvres sont roturières, elles sont sorties du peuple et sont restées [au] peuple.”

Before vanishing, Villard gives Viollet-le-Duc “un petit volume relie en veau” (his portfolio?), telling him to read it for it is very interesting and instructive, having been written “longtemps après la Renaissance.”

interested in geometry in painting and chat in this sense his drawings do provide some insight into the geometric basis of medieval design (which he speculates may have been transmitted from ancient art through Byzantine art)

All references are to plates in the Lassus facsimile (F.I), and there are redrawings of certain of Villard’s human figures from fols. 18r, 18v, 19r, and 19v, with detailed analysis of the geometry involved in the design; p. 191 contains an illustrated explanation of the use of the spiral in designing arches.

Viollet-le-Duc characterizes the manuscript as a “carnet de voyage,” stating clearly (p. 104) that it is, “ni un traité, ni un exposé de principes classés avec méthode, ni un cours d’architecture théorique et pratique, ni le fondation dun ouvrage [sur l’architecturej.”



BÉNARD, PIERRE. “Recherches sur la patrie et les travaux de Villard de Honnecourt.” Travaux de la Société académique des sciences, arts et belles lettres, agriculture, et industrie de Saint-Quentin, 3d ser. vol. 6, pp. 260-80.

Bénard notes (pp. 260-62) how little is known about Villard (active 1230-1260) and how little Villard tells about himself and his works in his portfolio, then offers an hypothesis of his own. He claims that in the thirteenth century Honnecourt was located in the Vermandois, not the Cambrésis, region of Picardie. Villard would therefore have been a native of the Vermandois probably associated in some way with Saint-Quentin, which had a priory in Honnecourt.

He then argues that Villard was not a modest individual and, had he been the architect of Cambrai, would not have referred to himself with the impersonal pronoun on (fol. 30v). Bénard thus denies the attribution of Cambrai to Villard, claiming (p. 266) that Villard drew his Cambrai and Reims drawings on the basis of visits to both these sites and on examinations of drawings at each site, but that in his own drawings he included no edifices which he built, his portfolio being “un simple carnet de notes et croquis de voyage.”

He next (p. 267) surmises that for a building to be attributed to Villard, it must be in his native region, must date to the right time, and must have some extraordinary, previously unnoted connection with Villard’s drawings. He finds that Saint-Quentin (choir dedicated in 1257) fits in every particular. Bénard claims to have discovered (when dismantling an altar in a radiating chapel at Saint-Quentin) an engraving for a rose window with a “ressemblance extraordinaire” to Villard’s drawing of the Chartres west rose (fol. 15v), and he concludes (p. 272), “il est évidemment impossible que celui qui l’a tracée n’ait pas en sous les yeux le dessin de l’album.”

Bénard then (pp. 272-74) calls attention to the similarities between Villard’s Hungarian pavement drawing (fol. 15v) and the pavement of the chapel of St. Michael in the axial west tower of Saint-Quentin: “il est d’ailleurs bien visible que les motifs des … panneaux du dallage de la chapelle Saint-Michel dérivent du croquis de Villard, at qu’ils ont été composés sous leur inspiration.”

The author concludes (p. 275) that Villard obviously was the architect of Saint-Quentin, employing ideas taken from locales as far away as Chartres and Hungary and as near as Reims.


BRUNET, JACQUES-CHARLESManuel du librairie at de l’amateur des livres. Vol. 5. Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, Fils et Cie.

Cited by Chevalier, 1905.1 , vol. 2, col. 4677, as referring to the Villard portfolio on p. 1233.



BÉNARD, PIERRE. “Recherches sur la patrie et les travaux de Villard de Honnecourt,” Mémoires [en archéologie] lus à la Sorbonne 1865-1866, pp. 215-229.

Cited by Chevalier, 1905.1 , vol. 2, cols. 4676-4677, and as having been published separately (16 pp.) in Paris in 1865. Chevalier indicates that both are the same as Bénard, 1864.1 . See also Bénard,1867.1 .


RENAN, [JOSEPH] ERNESTDiscours sur l’état des beaux-arts: Histoire littéraire de la France au quatorzième siècle. vol. 2. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères.

Contains a number of passing references to Villard, mostly as contrasts between him and 14th-century French artists. Renan finds Villard to be superior to the latter since he sees 14th-century art as decadent (p. 234), “L’Album de Villart est un témoignage incomparable de la vie et de la jeunesse d’imagination qui distinguait alors [XIIIe siècle] nos artistes,” and he mentions elsewhere (p. 214) that no 14th-century French artist is the equal of Villard (and others, such as Robert de Luzarches) in originality. While praising the Italian school as superior to the French school, he notes (p. 215) that at least three figures in the Villard drawings “sont des études faites sur l’antique ou le byzantin.”

Renan attributes (p. 245) to Villard a very early emotional interpretation of the Crucifixion (fol. 2v) showing Christ as the “homme de douleurs.”


STREET, GEORGE EDMUNDSome Account of Gothic Architecture in Spain. London: J. Murray, 2nd ed. London, 1869; rev. ed., edited by Georgiana King, New York: F. P. Dutton, 1914 (**reprint: New York: Benjamin Blom, 1969).

Discussing the triangular vaults found in the Cathedral of Toledo, Street notes (vol. 2, p. 236) that the plan by Villard and Pierre de Corbie on fol. 15r may be the “original scheme” for such vaults. He suggests that the Petrus Petri who was architect of Toledo may have studied with Villard and Pierre de Corbie, from whom he got the idea for triangular vaults, which he then (vol. 2, p. 237) developed into a “much more scientific and perfect form.” Street cites the Willis facsimile as his source of information about Villard.


WILPERT, ALCIBIADE. “Substructions de la seconde église de Vaucelles erigée an XIIIe siècle sur les plans et sous la direction de Villars d’Honnecourt,” Mémoires de la société d’emulation de Cambrai, vol. 28, pp. 137-61.

The title of this article tells more than its text about the author’s attribution of Vaucelles to Villard. On p. 143 he refers to fig. 1, which shows results of excavations carried out in 1861 superimposed on Villard’s plan of Vaucelles (fol. 17r). While the details of the piers found are different from those drawn by Villard, the author states that Villard’s plan shows what the Vaucelles choir looked like in overall layout.



ASSIER, ALEXANDRENotre-Dame de Chartres. Collection Arthur Savaète, no. 9. Paris: Arthur Savaète, Editeur. **2nd rev. ed. 1908.

Following a brief characterization of Gothic architecture as the French national art where Assier cites Viollet-le-Duc, 1854.1  but in fact gives the latter’ s view as expressed in 1863.1, together with that of Lassus. Villard is discussed (pp. 53-54) as a wandering French artist who may have lived as late as 1300. This appears to be the latest date any commentator has assigned to Villard.

Assier credits Villard with Kassa, and states that he had very extensive knowledge of physics, mechanics, mathematics, medicine, and music. This claim must have been made with Vitruvius’s list of the qualities of the ideal architect in mind.

Assier cites Lassus as his source of information an Villard.


HENSZLMANN, INREMürégészti Kalaúz [Archaeological guide]. Budapest: n.p., pt. 2, p. 68.

Cited by Gál (1929.2, p. 235) as a study in which Henszlmann reversed his earlier view about Villard and Kassa, here claiming that Villard had not been associated with this church. In Hungarian.



BÉNARD, PIERRE. “Recherches sur la patrie et travaux de Villard de Honnecourt.” In La Collégiale de Saint-Quentin: Renseignements pour servir à l’histoire de cette église. Paris: n.p., pp. 1-18.

Cited by Hahnloser (p. 280) and Héliot (1959.5, p. 49 n. 2) as equal to Bénard, 1864.1.


GRASSE, JOHANN GEORG THEODORTrésor des livres rares et precieux, ou nouveau dictionnaire bibliographique. vol. 1, pt. 2. Dresden: R. Kuntze.

Cited by Chevalier, 1905.1, vol. 2, col. 4677, as referring to the Villard portfolio on p. 320.



RENAN, [JOSEPH] ERNESTHistoire littéraire de la France, vol. 25. Paris: Michel Lévy Frères.

Cited by several authors, e.g., Chevalier, 1905.1, vol. 2, col. 4677 and Gál, 1929.2, p. 232 n. 2, as concerning (on pp. 1-9) Villard’s trip to Hungary.


VERNEILH, JULES (Baron Jean-Baptiste-Joseph-Jules de Verneilh- Puyraseau). “Compte-rendu du dictionnaire raisonné de l’architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle par M. E. Viollet-le-Duc.” Bulletin monumental, vol. 35, p. 601.

One of the rare expressions of disinterest in the drawings of Villard as being unimportant. Verneilh’s statement in full is, “L’album de Villard de Honnecourt, rédigé il est vrai à son usage [par Lassus?], semblerait indiquer que les architectes du XIIIe siècle étaient un peu sommaires dans leurs explications et leurs croquis, et s’en rapportaient, dans beaucoup de cas, à la pratique intelligente de leurs interprètes. Qu’importe, après tout? C’est par les oeuvres, non par lesur dessins, que nous devrons les juger…”



LANCE, ADOLPHE-ETIENNE. “Villard de Honnecourt,” Dictionnaire des architectes français, Paris: Vve. A. Morel et Cie, vol. 2, pp. 327-328.

Attributes no buildings to Villard, and rejects as unsubstantiated Bénard’s (1864.1) claim that Villard was the architect of Saint-Quentin. Lance refers to Viollet-le-Duc’s (1854.1) assertion that Villard was architect of Cambrai. Villard’s trip to Hungary is dated ca. 1244-ca. 1247, with nothing said about his activities there. Lance terms the portfolio a “recueil de croquis et des notes manuscrits” and credits Quicherat (1849.1) with bringing the portfolio to public attention, although reference is made to the Lassus facsimile.


PECHEUR, LOUIS. Article in Bulletin de la Société archéologique de Soissons, 2nd ser. vol. 3.. Article in Bulletin de la Société archéologique de Soissons, 2nd ser. vol. 3.

Cited by Chevalier, 1905.1, vol. 2, col. 4677, as referring to Villard on p. 206.



BÉNARD, PIERRECollégiale de Saint-Quentin: Discussion sur la nature et sur les causes de l’inclination des piliers du choeur et des transsepts. Paris: Librairie centrale de l’architecture.

A short (19 pp.) publication discussing exactly what its subtitle promises. Villard’s association with Saint-Quentin is only mentioned (p. 1) as having been brought to the public’s attention by Bénard (1864.1). Bénard refers (p. 1) to Villard’s “travaux” (i.e., his portfolio) having been revealed “il y a quelques années par MM. Lassus et Darcel.”



LECOCQ, ADOLPHE. “La Cathédrale de Chartres et ses maîtres-de-1’oeuvre,” Mémoires de la Société archéologique d’Eure-et-Loir, vol. 6, pp. 396-479.

Contains several passing references to Villard and terms (p. 445) him one of the immortals of thirteenth-century French architecture.

Lecocq’s principal interest in Villard was (p. 456 n. 1) in his drawing (fol. 22v) for a mechanical device that Villard claimed would make an angel turn so that it always faced the sun. Lecocq was interested in this because such an angel surmounted the chevet roof at Chartres until a fire in 1836. Lecocq terms Villard’s mechanism “très grossier.”


QUICHERAT, JULES [ETIENNE JOSEPH]. “Un Architecte française du XIIIe siècle en Hongrie,” Revue archéologigue, nouv. ser. vol. 32, pp. 248-51.

Notice on a thirteenth-century epitaph of a mason named Martin Ravesv- – found in 1869 during excavations of the Cathedral of Colocza in Hungary. Quicherat claims it may refer to an individual from Ravizy in the Nivernais region of France, hence a thirteenth-century predecessor to Villard de Honnecourt in Hungary.

Quicherat claims (p. 251) that Villard’s “célébrité a pris naissance dans la Revue archeologique,” apparently a reference to his earlier article. See Quicherat, 1849.1.



HOUDOY, JULES. “Histoire artistique de la cathédrale de Cambrai, ancienne église metropolitaine Notre-Dame,” Mémoires de la Société de l’agriculture et des arts de Lille, 4th ser., vol. 7 [1880], pp. 1-439.

The entire volume is devoted to Cambrai, but with little concern for Villard. Houdoy discusses him on pp. 22-23 only, noting that it is said that, after having built the abbey church at Vaucelles, Villard “fut très probablement aussi l’architecte du choeur de la cathédrale [de Cambrai].”

However, on p. 418, in a list of successive architects of the cathedral, Houdoy heads the list with Villard. He dates (p. 23) the Villard plan of Cambrai (fol. 14v) specifically to 1230 and claims that “le plan [de la cathédrale de Boileau] relevé avec soin lors de la démolition de la cathédrale, est absolument conformé au trace retrouvé plus tard sur l’Album de l’architecte du XIIIè siècle.”

Houdoy refers to the article by Quicherat (1849.1) for information about Villard. It is likely that Houdoy did not examine the Villard portfolio, for he refers to it by its pre-1865 shelf designation (S.G. Lat. 1104).



BULTEAU, [L’Abbé] MARCEL-JOSEPHNotice archéologigue sur les anciennes abbayes d’Honnecourt et de Vaucelles. Lille: Imprimerie de L. Danel.

Cited in Baron, 1960.2, p. 96 n. 1. Chevalier, 1905.1, vol. 2, col. 4677, gives the publication date as 1882. This item is apparently the same as Bulteau, 1883.1.


DUAND, PAULMonographie de Notre-Dame de Chartres [de J.B.A. Lassus; Paris, 1842-1867], Explication des planches. Paris: Imprimerie nationale.

In his commentary on p1. V, the west rose of Chartres, Durand observes (p. 63) that Villard drew this rose in his album (fol. 15v) and stresses how Villard understood it: “Ce qui l’a frappé, c’est son apparence de légèreté et, en effet, son croquis n’a pas la même fermeté que l’original; il représente une decoupure a jour telle qu’on observe à la fin du XIIIe sièc1e et aux XIVe et XVe [siècles] dans les fenêtres analogues.”

Durand does not specifically state how he knew the Villard drawing, but considering that he was working on expansion of a study by Lassus, he surely must have known the Lassus facsimile.

Durand is one of the earliest authors to suggest that Villard specifically modernized his models, as distinct from merely noting that he altered them.



BULTEAU, [L’abbé] MARCEL-JOSEPH. “Étude historique et archéologique sur les abbayes d’Honnecourt et Vaucelles,” Mémoires de la Société d’ému1ation de Cambrai, vol. 46.

The index volume (57 [1895]) for this journal for the years 1879-1895 lists no study by Bulteau, although this article is cited by several authors, e.g., Gá1, 1929.2, p. 232. The correct reference apparently is Bulletin de la commission historique du Nord, vol. 16 (1883), pp. l-lll. See Bulteau, 1881.1.



BULTEAU, [L’abbé] MARCEL-JOSEPHMonographie de la cathédrale de Chartres, 2d rev. ed. Chartres: Librairie R. Selleret. [This was the first edition actually published; vol. 2 appeared in 1891; the title page carries the imprint “Société archéologique d ‘Eure-et-Loir.”]

Bulteau claims (vol. 2, p. 26) that Villard visited Chartres ca. 1225 and was so struck by the beauty of its west rose that he made a drawing of it (fol. 15v) with the intention of using it at Cambrai, which Bulteau states Villard “devait reconstruire.” Bulteau was the first author to realize (vol. 2, p. 382) that Villard’s drawing of Pride (fol. 3v) was made after a relief on the porch of the south arm terminal at Chartres.

Bulteau claims (vol. 2, p. 26 n. 1) that Villard was born ca. 1190 and that his precious album had been exhumed from the Bibliothèque nationale and published by Darcel.

Vol. 3 of this work is an extensive bibliography by Gustave-X[avier?J Sainsot, published in 1900 in which item no. 478 is the Lassus facsimile.


TOURNEUR, VICTORDescription historique et archéologique de Notre-Dame de Reims. Reims: L. Michaud. **7th rev. ed., 1907.

Discussing the question of the original architect of Reims, the author (p. 14) rules out Villard, to whom he attributes Braine and Saint-Quentin. Tourneur states that Villard’s drawings of Reims do form an important part of his total collection of drawings.



HAVARD, HENRY, ed. La France artistique et monumentale, vol. 1. Paris: Société de l’art français, 1892-1895.

In the study of Reims by Louis Gonse (pp. 1-24), the question of the architects of the building is considered. Gonse dismisses (p. 5) Villard with the comment, “On n’aurait davantage s’arréter à Villard de Honnecourt, qui n ‘est venu du Cambraisis à Reims qu’après l’achèvement des chapelles absidales [de la cathédrale].”



DEMAISON, LOUIS. “Les Architectes de la cathédrale de Reims,” Bulletin archéologique du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, pp. 3-40.

In an extensive discussion of the architects of Reims based upon knowledge of its labyrinth, Demaison dismisses (pp. 10-11) the idea that Villard was involved in any aspect of the design of the building: “…rien absolument, ni dans les dessins [du manuscrit de Villard] eux-mêmes, ni dans les notes qui les accompagnent, n’autorise à supposer qu’il ait pris une part quelconque à la construction de notre édifice.”

He mainly criticizes Bauchal (1887.1), but also refers to earlier claims by Paris (1856.1) and Cerf (1861.1) and notes that Tourneur (1888.2) and Gonse (1892.1) both give reasons for not associating Villard with the design of Reims.

Demaison dates Villard’s visit to Reims ca. 1244 and he notes that “Villard paraît bien avoir été l’auteur” of Cambrai.



ENLART, [DÉSIRÉ LOUIS] CAMILLE. “Villard de Honnecourt et les Cisterciens,” Bibliothèque de l’École des Chartes, vol. 58, pp. 5-20.

Rejects Villard as architect of Reims cathedral but accepts Bénard’s claim (1864.1) that he was architect of Saint-Quentin after his return from Hungary. Enlart focuses (p. 18) on Villard’s training, concluding that he was an ultraconservative who had to have received his early training as an architect at Vaucelles.

Whether he was later associated with the design of Cambrai, on the basis of his success at Vaucelles, Villard was called to Hungary from 1235 to 1250 to design one or more of ten Cistercian churches erected during that period (pp. 18-19). If Villard also worked for Hungarian bishops during his stay in Hungary, it was because he was recommended to them by the powerful and influential French Cistercians in that country

In passing, Enlart raises (p. 7) the question of whether or not the Pierre de Corbie mentioned on fol. 15r of the Villard portfolio night have been the Petrus Petri (d. 1290) who was the architect of the Cathedral of Toledo.



MÂLE, EMILEL’Art religieux de XIIIe siècle en France: Étude surl’iconographie du moyen âge et sur ses sources d’inspiration. Paris: E. Leroux. **English translation: The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century. New York: Harper & Brothers, Publishers, 1948, pp. 54-55.

Cites Villard as proof of the Gothic artist’s interest in nature and in drawing directly from nature, referring to his small animals (fol. 7v) especially, but noting that Villard visited a great lord’s menagerie to draw his lion (fols. 24 and 24v) al vif. Mâle also attributes the two parakeets on fol. 26 to this menagerie, claiming incorrectly that Villard noted that these were in a menagerie and that they were drawn from life.

Mâle makes the most sweeping attribution of buildings on record to Villard: Saint-Quentin by name, but stating flatly that he “built churches through the length and breadth of Christendom.”

References are to Lassus’s plate numbers; reproduces a detail of fol. 26r after Lassus.



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