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Beautiful Buildings
in France & Belgium




ARRAS: HOTEL DF. VILLE
(T. S. Boys)






Beautiful Buildings
in France & Belgium



Including many which have been de-
stroyed during the war. Reproductions
in Colour and Monochrome from rare old
Prints and Drawings, by and after Prout,
Boys, Coney, W. Callow, David Roberts,
C. Wild and others, with descriptive
notes by C. Harrison Townsend, F.R.I.B.A.



LONDON

T. FISHER UNWIN LTD.

Adelphi Terrace



^■r



First published in 1916



(All rights reserved)



Preface







?5BJkO



HE volume includes, among
its reproductions in colour
and monochrome from rare
originals several, which, apart
from the claim they make
upon the artist, have the additional melan-
choly interest of recording beautiful works
of the past now destroyed, while others,
it may be feared, are still in jeopardy —
if not of destruction, at least of serious
damage.

To turn back the leaves of History till
we reach the page that tells us of the
simple days, the happy quiet life in the well-
ordered old city or the sleepy but pros-
perous country town, has a double purpose.



It may serve to remind us of those once
happy portions of Belgium and France now
racked and rent and dashed with blood by
the worst of all wars, and it may, in doing
so, make us more determined to maintain
our resolution to see that unhappy land re-
created and its wounds and scars obliterated.

The book has the further value, from a
purely artistic point of view, of relying for
its illustrations upon the work of artists
whose reputations, based upon the sympathy
and charm with which they recorded the
picturesque qualities of the old towns and
buildings, have of late years enormously
increased.

Many of the drawings and prints have
been placed at the publishers' disposal by
Mr. Augustus Walker, of Bond Street.



List of Plates

PAGE

Arras: H6tel de Ville (T. S. Boys) Frontispiece

Abbeville : Rue de Rivage (T. S. Boys) . . 14

Abbeville: Church of St. Wulfran (G. Simonau) 18

Amiens: Cathedral, West Front (C. Wild) . 22

St. Amand : Abbey (T. S. Boys) . . 26

Antwerp : Street and Cathedral Tower (S. Prout) 30

Antwerp: Cathedral, West Front (G. Simonau) 34

Antwerp : H6tel de Ville (J. Coney) . . 38

Antwerp : Interior of St. Andre (Jos. Nash) . 42

Beauvais: Transept of Cathedral (G. Simonau). 50

Bergues: The Belfry (J. CowoO . . 54

Bruges: Les Halles and Belfry (S. Prout) . 58

Bruges : Les Halles and Belfry (J. Coney) . 62

9



PAGE



Bruges : St. Sauveur, Choir Chapel (Jos. Nash) 66

Brussels: Hdtel de Ville (Benoist: after N.

Chapuy) . . . . .70

Brussels: Church of St. Gudule (G. Simonau) 74

Caen: Church of St. Pierre (T. 5. Boys) . 78

Calais : H6tel de Ville (J. Coney) . . 82

Dieppe: Street Scene (T. S. Boys) . .86

Dieppe: Church Interior (David Roberts, R. A.) 90

Ghent: Street Scene (5. Prout) . . .94

Ghent : Chateau des Comtes (T. S. Boys) . 98

Ghent : The Belfry (T. S. Boys) . . .102

Ghent: Church of St. Nicholas (W. Callow,

R.W.S.) 106

Ghent : Hdtel de Ville (Ghemar) . . .110

Huy: Church of Notre Dame (W. Clarkson

Stanfield, R.A.) . . . .114

Laon: Cathedral (T. S. Boys) . . 118

10



PAGE

Liege : Palais de Justice (S. Prout) . . 122

Lie*ge : Palais de Justice ( W. Clarkson Stan-
field, R.A.) .... 124

Louvain : Hdtel de Ville (G. Simonau) . . 128

Malines : Kraenstrate (S. Prout) . . 132

Malines: Cathedral from the Grand' Place

(S. Prout) . . . . .136

Namur: The Old Citadel (W. Clarkson Stan-
field, R.A.) .... 140

Northern France: Old Courtyard (T. S. Boys) 144

St. Omer: Abbey of St. Bertin (J. Coney) . 148

* Paris : La Sainte-Chapelle (T. S. Boys) . . 152

Paris: Church of St. Severin (7\ 5. Boys) . 156

Paris : St. Etienne-du-Mont (T. S. Boys) . 160

St. Qiientin: H6tel de Ville (Benoist) . 164

r Rheims : Cathedral, West Front (G. Simonau) . 168

St. Riquier: The Abbey Church (G. Simonau) 172

Rouen: Church of St. Ouen (N. Chapuy) . 176

Rouen: Cathedral, South Entrance (C. Wild) 180

11



PAGE

Rouen: Cathedral, South Entrance

(G. Simonau) 182

Rouen: Church of St. Laurent (7\ 5. Boys) . 186

Senlis : Cathedral, North Transept (N. Chapuy) 190

Soissons: Street Scene (T. S. Boys) . 194

Tournai: Cathedral and Belfry (5. Prout) . 198

Ypres: The Cloth-hall (J. Coney) . . 204

Ypres: Cathedral, Interior (J. Coney) . . 208



12




M



14



Abbeville




RUE DE RIVAGE

(T. S. Boys)

HE old fortress-town of Abbe-
ville is still quaint and pic-
turesque, though the River
Somme, on the banks of
which it stands, has lost
through canalization much of the charm of
Boys' sketch.

It was a cheerful, thriving place, with a
miniature inland harbour and many cloth-
looms at work in its busy days. Abbeville
makes historic appeal to Englishmen as
having passed to the English Crown in 1272,
when it formed part of the dowry of the
bride of Edward I, and as having remained
an appanage of our sovereigns some two

15



hundred years. After the English domina-
tion it was ceded to the Duke of Burgundy,
and in 1477 it was finally annexed to France
by Louis XL

Its narrow, quiet streets, with their many
quaint gables and dark arches, are full of
charm for the artist. Among the pic-
turesque old houses that appeal to him, that
known as the Maison de Francois I er , dating
from the XVIth century, is the most
remarkable.



16




ABBEVILLE : CHURCH OF ST. WULFRAN
(G. Simonau)



IS



Abbeville

CHURCH OF ST. WULFRAN

(G. Simonau)




F the two principal churches
of Abbeville — St. Wulfran or
Vulfran and St. Gilles — the
former, a magnificent speci-
men of the flamboyant
Gothic style, is of much interest to the
architect. The dignity and importance of
its West Front, as seen from the Place du
Guindal, are well set forth in the drawing of
Simonau, that ardent lover of Gothic archi-
tecture in England as well as in France and
Belgium.

The building is of the XVth, XVIth and
XVIIth centuries, but the original grand
proportions upon which it was commenced

19



were not adhered to, and it was completed
on a smaller scale. The nave has only two
bays, while the choir is short and so in-
significant as to be unworthy of the propor-
tions of this fine church. The three portals,
which have elaborately decorated doors in
the Renaissance style, are rich with sculpture
and figures, on which the old craftsman
piously wrought and handed down to us of
to-day the

Crowd of statues, in whose folded sleeves
Birds build their nests,

which forms one of the glories of St.
Wulfran.



20







AMIENS: CATHEDRAL, WEST FRONT
(C. Wild)



22



Amiens




CATHEDRAL: WEST FRONT

(C. Wild)

HE reproduction of C. Wild's
sketch shows us the West
Front of what is perhaps the
most imposing Gothic church
in France.
Its three lofty recessed porches are rich
in reliefs and statuary, where, "by a former
age commissioned as apostles to our own,"
the old builders present us with rank upon
rank of

Dedicated shapes of saints and kings,
Stern faces bleared with immemorial watch,

all leading up to and dominated by the
majestic figure, in the middle arch, of the

23



"Beau Dieu d' Amiens," one of the finest
works of the great XHIth century sculptors.

The Cathedral was planned by Robert
Luzarches, and was carried out, almost con-
temporaneously with those of Rheims and
Chartres, chiefly between 1220 and 1288, the
side chapels being somewhat later in date.
The West Front is flanked by two square
towers without spires, which, however, are
so small in proportion to the immense build-
ing behind as to emphasize the heaviness of
the latter. This effect of overweight is not
relieved by the beauty of the slender spire,
which rises, at the crossing of the nave and
transepts, to a height of 420 feet from the
ground.

The interior, only exceeded in height by
Beauvais (see page 50), contains beautifully
wrought choir-stalls of the early XVIth cen-
tury, and a highly interesting choir-screen or
jube in the flamboyant style.
24










>



.




fpMi j ;




^w-



-^>





/



>*-



ST. AMAND : ABBEY
(T. S. Boys)



26



St. Amand



ABBEY

(T. S. Boys)




HE drawing by Boys illus-
trates characteristically one
of those subjects that in his
time lay ready to the artist's
hand, vivid with the pic-
turesqueness of decay and of time — which
mellows, though it may destroy. In our
own day, the zeal of the restorer, while it
claims to give us back much, too often
does so at the cost of all the sentiment with
which the old is charged. The completion
of the parapet of the apse, and the con-
jectural treatment of the unfinished tower
shown in the Plate, are doubtful gains when

b 27



compared with the old-world quaintness of
the building and its surroundings as our
artist saw them some sixty or seventy
years ago.



28




ANTWERP; STREET AND CATHEDRAL TOWER
- Prout)



30



Antwerp




STREET AND CATHEDRAL TOWER

(S. Prout)

UR view shows us the plea-
sant Antwerp of nearly a
century ago, and as it existed
before the picturesque old
town had so lamentably suf-
fered from the bombardment of its Citadel
in 1830, and from the subsequent great siege
by the French in 1832, when this fort was
reduced to a heap of ruins.

The sketch, taken from the Place de
Meir, records some of the old houses, a few
of which still obscure the base of the
Cathedral. Some of those near the principal
facade were actually in process of being
removed when the present unhappy war

31



began. The spire, notable for its unusually
slender proportions, and one of the highest
in Europe— reaching the great height of
402 feet— was finished towards the end of
the XVIth century, though the South tower
has only attained a third of its projected
height.

It was Napoleon's admiration for this
beautiful work that led him to compare it
with a piece of elaborate Mechlin lace,
while Charles V is said to have declared it
was almost too precious to exist out of
doors, and was worthy of being enshrined
in a case.



32










'^ftS* HP



A>H ■ Will H . CATHEDRAL, WEST FRONT
(G. Simonau)



34



Antwerp




CATHEDRAL: WEST FRONT

(G. Simonaa)

N size, the Cathedrals of Bel-
gium are at least equal to
those of France, while none
of the latter exceed the
Cathedral of Antwerp as a
gorgeous example of Gothic architecture.
It is one of the most remarkable churches
in Europe. Its seven aisles with their
series of arches, and the play among them
of light and shade and gloom, together
with the great length — nearly 400 feet — of
this fine building, give it great charm and
dignity. Though much of its detail and
carving is late and almost decadent in
feeling, still, as a great writer says, "A man

b* 35



must have very little feeling for the poetry
of art who can stop to criticize it too closely."
As we have said, the old houses encumbering
the lower portion of its exterior were in
process of removal a couple of years ago.
It is only too likely that, under German
conditions, this work is, for the present,
suspended.

A writer of to-day speaks of "the fairy-
like structure of the Cathedral spire, with
its flying buttresses, rising high above the
expanse of the city in such strong contrast
to the horizon fringed with poplar-trees — the
characteristic feature of the Scheldt land-
scape " — and pictures it for us on that " awful
night of the bombardment and fire, when its
dainty masonry was silhouetted against the
blazing sky under the black pall of smoke."



36




38




Antwerp

HOTEL DE VILLE

{J. Coney)

N the heyday of its prosperity

the old Trade Guilds of this,

the principal part of the Low

Countries, all congregated in

the Grand' Place, the chief

commercial centre of the town. Here

were the Halls of the Archers' Company,

the Tailors', and the Carpenters', those —

mechanic guilds
Who loved their city and thought gold well spent
To make her beautiful with piety.

Here also, its simple, dignified fa9ade speaking
the security of well-established commerce
and forming one side of the Square, stands
the Hotel de Ville.

39



It is characteristic of the troublous life
of the country that within twenty years of
its building, in 1561, it fell to Antwerp to
restore or rebuild the Town Hall after its
partial destruction by the Spaniards.

It may be taken that neither this building
nor the Cathedral, nor, indeed, any of the
most precious historical monuments, suffered
greatly in the bombardment of October 8,
1914, when the actual damage was confined
to some of the houses round about the Place
Verte and Marche-aux-Souliers, and in the
rich residential quarters near the Boulevard
Leopold.



40




ANTWERP: INTERIOR OF ST. ANDRE
(Jos. Nash)



42



Antwerp

INTERIOR OF ST. ANDRE

(Jos. Nash)




HE identity of the art of
Flanders — as shown so clearly
in its architecture — with her
national life was manifested
for us not only in the XVth
century, but again in the XVIIth. It was in
the latter period that the churches not only
enriched themselves with the works of the
great school of later Flemish painters, but
sought to place these in worthy surroundings,
and in architectural settings that spoke their
more modern time. Much was done in the
way of enrichment of the interior of buildings
by adding to them, in the later style, fittings
and adjuncts such as fonts, pulpits, and altar-

43



pieces. The drawing by Nash, a typical
example, shows how in their design these
were treated with a sublime indifference to
the earlier Gothic work. Time, in most
cases, has, with a kindly hand, softened and
reconciled all differences of style.



44



Arras




HOTEL DE VILLE

(T. S. Boys)

(For Plate, see Frontispiece)

T was at Arras that, after the
battle of Agincourt, the Eng-
lish and French signed their
Treaty of Peace, but the name
of the little town will for
ever be associated with war of even a fiercer
and more terrible kind.

On October 16, 1914, the Germans began
a deliberate bombardment of an undefended
town, and it now lies a heap of ruins, which,
though not on the scale of unhappy Ypres,
are impressive and dreadful enough. " Hardly
in Rome itself," says one who wrote after
the work of destruction was complete, "can

45



you see ruin on a more colossal scale than
in this unhappy town."

The beautiful Hotel de Ville was the
particular mark of the German gunners, and,
of the seven famous Gothic arches of its
lower story, but three now stand — and those
chipped and battered and all but destroyed.
The upper stages of the Belfry, finally yield-
ing to the bombardment,'; fell in ruins on
November 23rd, and, beyond the height of
the ridge of the roof, the tower no longer
exists.

The Hall, standing in the then picturesque
Petite Place, was one of the finest in the
North of France, and, like many civic
buildings of that district, showed in its
design strong Flemish influence. The arcade
of arches of various sizes giving on to the
Place has considerable affinity to that of St.
Quentin (see page 164), a resemblance more
complete than the reproduction of Boys'

46



drawing suggests, since the original tracery
of the Gothic windows was restored in 1837.
The principal side elevation was in an
elaborate Renaissance style, probably dating
from 1572.

The Plate gives us a faithful and sympa-
thetic impression of this beautiful building
as it was, and is an excellent example of
Boys' powers as a draughtsman of archi-
tectural subjects. As a writer on this artist
says: "He drew with a sure hand what
was before him, and we are under debt
to him for the record of the 'forties which
is preserved for us in his drawings and
lithographs."



47




'^^^



BHAUVAJS:, TRANSEPT OF CATHEDRAL
(G. SimonauJ



50




Beauvais

TRANSEPT OF CATHEDRAL

(G. Sitnonau)

OMMENCED five years later
than that at Amiens (see
page 22)— that is, in 1225 —
the Cathedral of St. Pierre at
Beauvais is noteworthy for a
general similarity of style to that of its neigh-
bour, with which it was the intention of its
builders that it should compete. But in their
rivalry they seem to have set themselves a
task beyond their powers. True, that of their
mighty scheme they only put in hand the
transepts and choir of a church "gigantic to
the verge of temerity," but the construction
of even this portion was so far in excess of
their skill that in 1284 its roof collapsed
and led to its rebuilding. An ingenious
strengthening of the pier arcade by additional
columns and arches emboldened the builders
to carry the clerestory to the height of 150

51



feet, while the choir alone is 120 feet long,
and its windows no less than 55 feet in
height. " There are few rocks, even amongst
the Alps," says Ruskin in his " Seven Lamps
of Architecture," "that have a clear vertical
fall as high as the choir of Beauvais."

Simonau's drawing shows us the South
portal, which, it has been truly said, can of
itself compare in size and magnificence with
the facades of many other Cathedrals. Its
wooden doors by Jean le Pot are master-
pieces of that great carver's work.

The fall in 1573 of the openwork spire,
which rose above the crossing and reached
the extraordinary height of 500 feet, seems
to have been taken as a warning against
too-ambitious projects of building, and since
then little addition has been made.

The nave of the church, known as the
"Basse CEuvre," is that of the older Cathe-
dral, erected at the end of the Xth century,
and is of simple and severe design, almost
Roman in its character.
52



mm.'



H-



U-^ ' W"



I, Ij. If! ■ ,■? -Jfor-




BERGUES: THE BELFRY
(J. Coney)



54




Bergues

THE BELFRY

(J. Coney)

HE Belfry, or rather the Clock-
tower, of the little French
town of Bergues, though not
comparable in size with some
of its Belgian rivals, is often
declared to be the finest in French Flanders.
Its existence and importance emphasize afresh
the fact that when the cities of the Low
Countries were gradually acquiring their
great wealth and civic dignity, the early
architectural expression of their rights and
privileges was the erection of a belfry. The
right to possess a bell — that symbol of power
and means of summoning the citizens for
public debate or to resist a threatened assault

c 55



— was one of the first privileges granted in
all old charters.

The tower at Bergues is a brick building,
mellowed by time, and dating from the
middle of the XVth century. Some twenty
years ago it was restored, with, perhaps, a
little too much zeal, but, still beautiful, it
dominates the quiet, sleepy town, where, as
Lowell says, it to-day-
soars upward to the skies
Like some huge piece of Nature's work, the growth

of centuries.



56







BRUGES: LES HALLES AND BELFRV
(S. Prout)



58



Bruges




LES HALLES AND BELFRY

(S. Prout)

T is possible to compare the
tower of this well-known
building with that of Bergues,
shown in the preceding Plate,
and to admit that the latter
building, though on a less grandiose and
important scale, has all the advantages when
proportion and gracefulness are considered.

Both this drawing by Prout and the
following one by Coney allow us to esti-
mate the value of the alterations which,
under the name of "restoration," took place
towards the end of the last century.

The tower, built at the end of the XHIth
century, formerly terminated in a spire

59



flanked by four turrets. This upper portion
was destroyed by fire and replaced by the
present octagon, with its flying buttresses,
erected quite at the end of the XlVth
century. It now houses the celebrated
chime of bells and carillon.



60




BRUGES : LES HALLES AND BELFRY
(J. Coney)



62



Bruges




LES HALLES AND BELFRY
(J Coney)

ONEY, of whose drawings
this collection has several
examples, was an architectural
draughtsman of great skill,
and noteworthy as being
amongst the earliest of artists to devote
himself with enthusiasm to the recording of
those Gothic buildings so much out of repute
in his day. His rendering, however — charming
as his drawing is — of the Belfry and old
Market Hall of Bruges has to yield, as regards
proportion and detail, to that of Prout as
shown in the last Plate.

The Hall dates from the Xllth and XlVth
centuries, but was largely altered and modi-

c* 63



fied in 1561-8. Built as a Cloth-hall— that
civic building of which so many Belgian
cities give us examples— one wing of it now
contains the municipal offices, and the other
for the last hundred years has been used as
a meat-market.



54




BRUGES: ST. S^'JVKUR, CHOIR CHAPEL
(Ies. Nash)



66



Bruges



ST. SAUVEUR: CHOIR CHAPEL

(Jos. Nash)




HERE is considerable resem-
blance between the sketch by
Nash of this side-chapel, with
its classic treatment in white,
black, and gray marbles, and
that by the same artist reproduced on
page 42. The oak door dividing it from
the transept dates from 1513, the altar—
hardly shown in the Plate — being a few
years later, and introducing in its design
armorial reliefs of a much earlier period.
The Chapel, together with the other four
side-chapels, was built in 1482.

Joseph Nash, the artist whose drawing
is here reproduced, must not be confounded

67



with the artist of the same surname whose
beautiful work, " The Mansions of England,"
was inspired by a spirit that makes it still
rank as a very special contribution to archi-
tectural history. The field of Joseph Nash's
work and industry was usually North France,
Holland, and Belgium, where he is known
to have executed no less a number than five
hundred water-colour and crayon drawings
of such subjects as the present, with a fine
feeling for light and shade and great
knowledge in the expression of architectural
detail.



68




M






fliiiij;
2



BRUSSELS : H6TEL DE VILLE

(Benoist : after N. Chapuy)




70



Brussels




HOTEL DE VILLE

(Benoist: after N. Chapuy)

GAIN, in this Plate, is im-
pressed upon us the fact that
the Town Halls and the
Trade Halls of Belgium were
the characters in which she
wrote or graved the record of that civic
and commercial enterprise that gave her
distinction amongst neighbouring nations.
And grandest of them all, and placed in the
favourable setting of one of the finest
mediaeval squares in existence, is that of
Brussels. Its size is inferior to the now un-
happily ruined Cloth-hall at Ypres, but the
spire that rises from its highly ornate yet
dignified fa9ade is unrivalled for beauty of

71



outline by any spire in Belgium. This slender
and graceful feature — which for some reason
was not constructed in the centre of the
front of which it forms part — rises to a
height of 370 feet, and is surmounted by
a gilded metal figure of the Archangel
Michael, over 16 feet in height, and put in
position as early as 1454.



72




BRUSSKLS: CHURCH OF ST. GUDULE
(G. Simonau)



74



Brussels




CHURCH OF ST. GUDULE

(G. Simonau)

HE Church of St. Gudule
(often erroneously called the
Cathedral) now stands in
very different surroundings to
those shown in the Plate.
The old buildings of Simonau's sketch have
been swept away, and the district is laid out
with wide streets, and covered with fine and
fashionable houses.

The imposing building belongs to several
centuries. It was commenced in the XHIth
upon the foundations of an even earlier
church, and was finished about 1273, with
the exception of the two towers, which
were added in the XVth century and

75



remain unfinished. The steps shown leading
up to the West Front have made room for
the present handsomer approach, added about
fifty years ago.

To architects the stained glass, dating
from the Xllth to the XVth century, is in
particular of the highest interest, that in
the Chapel of the Sacrament being especially
noteworthy.



76




CAEN: CHURCH OF ST. PIERRE
(T. S. Boys)



78



Caen




CHURCH OF ST. PIERRE

(T. 5. Boys)

HARING with Rouen the
claim of being the two most
interesting towns in Nor-
mandy, Caen supports it by
an abundance of fine churches
and old houses. In the centre of the town
stands, in the Rue St. Jean, its chief and
very beautiful church, St. Pierre, full of
appeal to the architect whose interest is
wide enough to appreciate a history spread
over the various epochs from the XHIth to
the XVIth century. Its architecture is in
the main Gothic, but the choir, the apsidal
chapels with their elaborate external and

internal decoration, and the turret of the


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