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Villard de Honnecourt was a 13th-century artist from Picardy in northern France. He is known to history only through a surviving portfolio or "sketchbook" containing about 250 drawings and designs of a wide variety of subjects.

The so-called "sketchbook" of Villard de Honnecourt (more correctly, an album or portfolio) dates to about c.1225-1235. It was discovered in the mid-19th century and is presently housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Paris, under the shelfmark MS Fr 19093. It consists of 33 parchment sheets measuring on average 235x155 mm, or 9.25 x 6.1 inches. The manuscript is not complete, and its original extent cannot be determined. Because the drawings and captions are oriented in many different directions, the album appears to have been assembled in an ad hoc fashion, as if the individual sheets were not originally intended to be bound together into book form. It is unclear whether it was Villard himself or a later party who assembled and bound the leaves into a book.

The album contains about 250 drawings. These include architectural designs (plans, elevations, and details, often of identifiable buildings), a great variety of human and animal subjects, ensembles of religious and secular figures perhaps derived from or intended as sculptural groups, ecclesiastical objects, mechanical devices (including a perpetual-motion machine), engineering constructions such as lifting devices and a water-driven saw, a number of automata, designs for war engines such as a trebuchet, and many other subjects. Many drawings are accompanied by annotations and labels.

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Villard de Honnecourt was a 13th-century artist from Picardy in northern France. He is known to history only through a surviving portfolio or "sketchbook" containing about 250 drawings and designs of a wide variety of subjects.

The so-called "sketchbook" of Villard de Honnecourt (more correctly, an album or portfolio) dates to about c.1225-1235. It was discovered in the mid-19th century and is presently housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), Paris, under the shelfmark MS Fr 19093. It consists of 33 parchment sheets measuring on average 235x155 mm, or 9.25 x 6.1 inches. The manuscript is not complete, and its original extent cannot be determined. Because the drawings and captions are oriented in many different directions, the album appears to have been assembled in an ad hoc fashion, as if the individual sheets were not originally intended to be bound together into book form. It is unclear whether it was Villard himself or a later party who assembled and bound the leaves into a book.

The album contains about 250 drawings. These include architectural designs (plans, elevations, and details, often of identifiable buildings), a great variety of human and animal subjects, ensembles of religious and secular figures perhaps derived from or intended as sculptural groups, ecclesiastical objects, mechanical devices (including a perpetual-motion machine), engineering constructions such as lifting devices and a water-driven saw, a number of automata, designs for war engines such as a trebuchet, and many other subjects. Many drawings are accompanied by annotations and labels. More...

 
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