Pictures from Dictionaire Raisonné du Mobilier
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.
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.
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 - (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.
Hatchet - Based on one found at the castle of Pierrefonds
Probably 15th century.
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.
Hammer - No source, 15th century. The head is fairly typical
of those recovered from various digs.
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.
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
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
Contents © 2003, Gary R. Halstead