Thanks to the fascination of the general public with the huge renovation project undertaken on Notre Dame de Paris in the 19th century by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and Jean-Baptiste Lassus, furniture designers embraced Gothic and crafted magnificent hand-carved pieces evoking the style of the Cathedral. So prized were these items that they were used by generations of families across France, with some extraordinary pieces finding their way to M. Markley Antiques. Among prominent collectors in the 19th century was the writer, Victor Hugo, whose popular novel featuring the Cathedral's hunchbacked bell ringer is titled, simply, Notre Dame de Paris in French. Agitating for the preservation of medieval structures in France, Hugo acquired Gothic style furniture to fill his home while in exile on the island of Guernsey. Perhaps he felt as we do that Gothic style furniture in a home far from Paris binds us to Notre Dame de Paris and all that the Cathedral represents. We adore the style as no other, owing to its origins in churches constructed in the 12th and 13th centuries to the glory of God in a burst of spiritual and civic awakening, incorporating a distinctive vocabulary of ornament (pointed arch, spire, tracery, rose windows, statuary, crocketing, column clusters).
To learn more...
...about Andrew Tallon and to read some of his publications, visit his Vassar College website. We were fortunate to know Andrew as a result of an invitation to speak at Vassar in 2010 about our antiques business. In him we found a kindred spirit passionate about Gothic, including how the buildings impacted the people who entered them. Andrew's curiosity and research involved a fascination with the acoustics of cathedrals, including how they affected listeners and inspired composers to write music for singing in them.
...about Gothic buildings in France, visit the website Andrew helped to create, Mapping Gothic France. Andrew was featured in Building the Great Cathedrals broadcast in 2010 on the PBS series Nova and re-broadcast in the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame de Paris.
...about Andrew Tallon's life and the origins of his interest in Notre Dame de Paris, visit Vassar Info and the Journal Sentinel.
...about Victor Hugo's fascination with Gothic Revival furniture, this wonderful book in English and in French has all the details -- Victor Hugo, Visions d'Intérieurs, du Meuble au Décor by Corinne Charles (Paris-Musées, Paris, 2003).
...about pieces we have stocked and which are especially rich in elements evoking Notre Dame de Paris, see 4179, 4180A, 4190, 4194, 5112, 5116, 5128, 5177, 5193, 5209, 9205, 9452.
...about the connections between architectural style and faith we have been rereading Henry Adams' Mont Saint Michel and Chartres. His book includes fascinating details about the relationship of Notre Dame de Paris and Notre Dame de Chartres. He quotes often from the works of Viollet-le-Duc who wrote eloquently about Gothic architecture and furniture, its religious underpinnings, and the restoration of Notre Dame de Paris.
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