A Royal Guide
The main point of this book is a letter to the King of France. It is structured in a clear way: After a small introduction, the author, Marie-Joseph Peyre, begins referencing different types of buildings. He gives images that symbolize standard, not overly exciting (at least for royal standards), and with two exceptions not actually built buildings or parts of them, but that all have the features that emphasize the type. Generally, at least one face or elevation (sometimes more) and a floor plan are given, followed by a rather short explanation. In the text, Peyre writes about how he found inspiration for this type, and what it could be used for by the King.
The idea behind the whole book is to inspire the King, so that if he wishes to build “a house on the new boulevard in Paris” for example, he knows what the general style and construction should look like. The texts are written in hypothetical language, therefore saying: “This is what you could build”.
Peyre clearly writes to the King and not to some “standard person”, as the examples given are generally big, majestic and “worthy”. In other words, he doesn’t propose a “normal” house or functional building, but rather a church or palace, which seems obvious when addressing the King.
In total, Peyre gives twelve examples: A portal of a church, a house for pleasure, an academy, a chapel, over all three different palaces, (two of which already exist (One in Condé and one in Bourbon, which were occupied by members of the French royal family or the nobility that I assume were known to the King, and therefore served as an even stronger suggestion for future constructions)), a smaller church with a rotunda, a cathedral, a cascade in the woods, different kinds of fountains, and thermal baths.
The entire book has been laid out in a way that allows the King to rather easily enjoy it and get inspired. The images are followed by the text and then the next image and so on, almost like a noble comic, but without an actual plot. There is therefore no way to get confused while reading or rather viewing this book.
At the end, he doesn’t give a conclusion as in a summary, probably because that’s not really necessary, but more of a formal love letter to the King, where Peyre expresses his deep affection and loyalty to him, in some parts even in exaggerated ways. But since the King viewed himself as a god, that doesn’t seem out of place.
Keywords: Guide, Inspiration, Recommendation