Le Carpentier, Matthieu
Recueil des plans, coupes et elévations du nouveau hôtel de ville de Rouen, dans la construction a été commencée en Mai 1757, avec les plans d’un accroissement & autres ouvrages projettées pour cette ville. Dédié et présentée à Monseigneur le Maréchal Duc de Luxembourg.
Paris, Charles-Antoine Jombert 1758.
Large folio. (6) + pp 5-9 + (1)pp, 6 engraved plates (of which plates 1-3 are double-page engraved plans, the first larger and folding, plates 4. and 5 are perspective elevations, and plate 6 is a section). Contemporary blue paper wrappers. A good, unrestored copy as issued.
First and only edition of this volume of large dimensions publishing designs by the architect Antoine-Matthieu Le Carpentier (1709-1773) for a new Hôtel de Ville (town hall) for the city of Rouen and for the city’s urban redevelopment, involving the laying out of two new public squares, the Place Royale and the Place de Luxembourg, on either side of the Hôtel de Ville, improvements to the street system, and an extension of the the city’s built-up area to the west which would include a public green space and tree-lined avenue leading to the Hôtel de Dieu (city hospital). Le Carpentier’s proposals are described in the volume’s text and are illustrated on the handsome accompanying plates. Le Carpentier’s designs for the Hôtel de Ville, shown here in front and rear elevation, ground plan and section, had been approved both by Louis XV personally and by an Order of Council in 1757, and construction of the foundations for the new building was already under way by the time that the present volume was published, but both the French government and the local municipality lost enthusiasm for the project in the years that followed, and the intended building never materialised. Le Carpentier had however one of the most significant architectural practices of the time, designing a succession of major country houses and Parisian town houses for the French aristocracy, and the present volume is a useful reminder of his architectural skills and of his unrewarded ambitions as an urban planner (there is a full and appreciative account of his architectural career by Michel Gallet in his Les Architectes Parisiens du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1995, pp 296-301). It should be noted that the dedicatee of the volume, Charles François Frédéric de Montmorency, Duc de Luxembourg (1702-64), in whose honour Le Carpentier was intending to name of one of his intended new squares and who had been Le Carpentier’s earliest private architectural client, was also a patron of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. There was a copy of this book in the former Berlin collection (Berlin Cat 2514), but it is not held in the British Architectural Library and there was no copy of it in the Fowler or Millard collections.