Château de Pierrefonds 1847

After not having posted anything for ages the first thing I’d like to share here is for a change not of my own creation! I bought this tiny drawing (just 15cm x 8.5cm) because it really caught my attention as being amazingly good & for 15 euros I think I got a bargain!

I didn’t know a thing about it other than that I liked it. On getting it home & studying the writing I could make out it said “Pierrefonds 11 juin 1847”. The Château de Pierrefonds  (in Oise, to the North of Paris) was in ruins at this time, but later in 1857 was virtually rebuilt by the architect Viollet-le-Duc.

I took it out of the frame to see if there was anything written on the back & curiously there is a strange mixture of French & English which says “159 montmartre street Mr Briant from Mr La Combe  St Michel” I presume that this means A Monsieur La Combe either sold or gave the drawing to a Monsieur Briant & that the transaction took place in rue Montmartre which is in Paris & obviously famous as an arty sort of a place!

Many artists have made drawings & paintings of this château but I can’t find  a painting anywhere that corresponds to this study. Perhaps it was never eventually used, or maybe somewhere in the world there exists a painting similar to this?! I ‘m curious to know who made this drawing- evidently they were very accomplished.

Jean Baptiste Camille Corot depicted  Pierrefonds between 1834 & 1866. Up until about 1850 his drawings were more precise & to me this looks quite similar in style to some of the drawings he made on his trips to Italy particularly the 1843 trip. A follower of Corot who also depicted Pierrefonds was Eugène Lavieille.

However, I have to admit to being a total non-expert on any of this & so it is really a lot of wishful thinking. I’m not really going to suggest that it’s by Corot! Probably it’s someone totally unheard of, though in my opinion they were still very good (as are lots of unheard of artists!) Anyway,  it’s fun & I’ve learnt lots in researching it. I doubt anyone that really could work out who drew this will ever read this, but I hope those of you that do, will like it anyway or find it interesting. Let me know what you think.

In the end though, I think what matters is that this still exists to be appreciated regardless of whether the artist was famous or not.

Update: (February 28 2011) .

Having posted this here a year ago it seems that many people have found this in their searches for either Pierrefonds or Corot. If you would like to leave me a comment  to let me know your opinion on this drawing or send me an e-mail about it, I would very much appreciate your feedback. Thanks for your time.

5 thoughts on “Château de Pierrefonds 1847

  1. It is a lovely drawing. I think drawings are very special – far more lively and more direct than the ‘licked” finished products in oil of the ateliers.
    Here is another interpretation for the comment that was on the back:
    159 montmartre street Mr Briant from Mr La Combe St Michel

    It is possible that Mr. Briant sold the drawing to the dealer at 159 Montmartre street and Mr. Briant had received it from Mr. La Combe who lived in St. Michel.

    The men in the boat seem to be fishing in the river with nets. What is rather amazing is that they are standing in the narrow looking boat. Most people at the time this drawing was made would not be able to swim. It looks all together too tippy to me.
    The other curious thing is that they are all wearing hats. At first thought, they looked like tall hats, but on closer inspection, they seem maybe just working men’s caps – the kind that would keep the sun out of your eyes.
    K

  2. Thank-you for your interest with this. It’s really worth enlarging it on the screen I find. The details are amazing – all the values just perfect, such precision with the outline of the castle & the drawing of the figures & boat.

    I agree that it could mean that La Combe lived in Saint Michel. This could either be Saint Michel the town or perhaps Boulevard Saint Michel in Paris. Also though, Saint Michel could be a second surname, but perhaps that’s less likely.

    I found out that there was a Théophile Briant who was a poet who opened 3 art galleries in Paris in the 1920s. Unfortunately I’ve not yet found exactly where. On the other hand Briant isn’t a rare name so that doesn’t mean it’s the same Briant!

    The boat I think is quite typical of the era & the water depicted here is a lake so I don’t suppose there was too much risk of getting washed away.

  3. Thought you might like to know that La Combe St Michel is the old name for St Michel de Vax in the Tarn. It was renamed after the revolution (La Combe being the name of the aristocrat who owned the (now partially ruined) chateau but I guess a lot of people would still call it that in the 1800’s.

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