Pictures from Dictionaire Raisonné du Mobilier Français

These pictures are taken from Volume II of Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc's Dictionaire Raisonné du Mobilier Français published in Paris by Morel in 1873.

These images are in the Public Domain in the United States of America, the European Union, and any other jurisdiction that adheres to the "Author's life + 70 years" rule of copyright.  The status of these images in other countries is undetermined.

Each image is a link to a full size version of the same picture.  Full size versions range from 40kb to 80kb in size.

Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc was one of the premier exponents of the Gothic Revival in Nineteenth century France. Working both as an archtitect and a historian he was responsible for the restoration of such monuments as the Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame in Paris, the castle of Pierrefonds, and the city walls of Carcassone. In the spirit of his time, his restorations were often guided as much by his sense of how things ought to have been as by the available evidence. These illustrations are from Volume II of his Dictionaire Raisonné du Mobilier Français a massive six volume illustrated encyclopedia of medieval French clothing, furniture, arms and armor, and other artifacts.

Picture   Comments
A 13th centuy carpenter A 13th century Carpenter - A composite from a window in the Catheral at Bourges, tapestries at St. Medard in Paris, and marginalia from the Bodleian Library at Oxford. The carpenter carries an axe over his shoulder and a smaller one in his belt. A compass is sitting on top of his pouch, while under it one can make out the end of a folding rule. The sword-like object in his belt is a besaigue - a long chisel-like tool used for cleaning out mortises.
Axes A Joiner at work - From the late 15c stalls in the church at Montréale. The tool he is using is apparently supposed to be an augur. On the wall behind him are a rack of chisels, another augur and an axe. The workpiece is held to the bench with a holdfast.
Axes Axes - (left) Based on a manuscript c. 1395. (right) Based on a manuscript c. 1450. These are the standard T-shaped axes that can be seen in numerous period illustrations from the Bayeux Tapestry onwards.
Adzes Hatchet - Based on one found at the castle of Pierrefonds Probably 15th century.
Adzes A Pair of Adzes - These are not sourced in the text, but are typical of those seen in period manusricpts and still in use today. The lower item is a strapped adze based on an Egyptian example from the Louvre. Similar examples are shown in medieval Italian frescoes.
Adzes Hammer - No source, 15th century. The head is fairly typical of those recovered from various digs.
Plane Plane - From Dürer's Melancholia (15??). This is a small smoothing plane of typically German form. Note that the wedge is held in place by slots cut in the cheeks of the plane. Earlier planes typically use a transverse pin to hold the wedge instead of this arrangement. This is the earliest artistic representation of such an arrangement. The earliest artifact is the 13th century Bergen plane.
Frame Saw saw - From a Carolingian* manuscript. This is a standard Continental frame saw. The Carolingian (9th century) date is interesting as the saw is commonly (but wrongly) held to have dropped out of use in northern Europe until the 13th century.
* Ms Biblioth. nationale, Bible latin, 6-3
Lathe A Turner at his Lathe - From a 13th century manuscript in the Bibliotheque Nationale. The cord wrapped around the mandrel and connected to the pole and foot treadle can be clearly seen.,

Contents © 2003, Gary R. Halstead