Architectural Sketches 1848-68

7.1 Epone, On Seine, France, Rev J L Petit

1851, 35x23cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

Epone is reproduced opposite p 145 in Architectural Studies in France (1854). Petit points to its fine Romanesque tower, the wide timber-roofed nave and combination of round and pointed arch styles to be found. It is typical of his better sketches, far from the commercial watercolours of the period, but conveying the vulnerable beauty of ancient churches.

7.2 St Radigonde Near Tours, Rev J L Petit

1851, 34x22cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

While on the trip researching and painting for Architectural Studies in France, Petit was invited to become a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. For his admission Petit submitted a separate paper on perhaps the most interesting church of this trip, the partly subterranean St Radigonde, in Tours. This is one of the four drawings reproduced in that paper (and presented and later reproduced as a posthumous article in the Archaeological Journal). Not commercial art, but interesting none the less.

7.3 Gateway, Bordeaux, Rev J L Petit

1852, 34x22cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

Slightly later than the above, further south on the same trip, Petit notices the gateway near the town hall in Architectural Studies, as including a wide range of architectural motifs from different styles. Yet also a good picture.

7.4 Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire Rev J L Petit

1848-68, 35x26cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

Southwell features in Petit’s first book and in a speech delivered to the Archaeological Institute at its Lincoln meeting in 1848 subsequently published in their Transactions. The published illustration is from a different angle, and not all illustrations presented were published. 

7.5 Greek Church, Munich Rev J L Petit (1801-68),

1856, dated on reverse, 37x26cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

There are more continental pictures during this later period, because Petit travelled frequently, especially in France, often wintering there with members of his circle. As a sketch this is rather better finished than many but still lacks sky or range of colour. At a guess the limited palette made for simpler logistics during his sketching tours, and the reddish tone was an excellent base for various architectural shades.

7.6 Spalato (Split, Croatia), Rev J L Petit

1857, dated on reverse, 37x26cm, watercolour on paper, private collection

Petit journeyed down the Adriatic coast in September 1857 for a brief trip to Corfu, Athens and Constantinople, doing about 220 sketches in a little 3 months. Later he wrote a speech for RIBA in 1858 and articles in the Archaeological Journal on Byzantine architecture in Corfu, Greece and Turkey, but the earlier Adriatic sketches did not quite fit. The Cathedral of Saint Domnius, consecrated at the turn of the 7th century AD, is regarded as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the world that remains in use in its original structure, without near-complete renovation at a later date (though the bell tower dates from the 12th century). The structure itself, built in AD 305 as the Mausoleum of Diocletian, is the second oldest structure used by any Christian Cathedral

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