I plan to examine the logbook of Piero di Francesco da Vicchio, dated between the 16th September and the 12th November 1457. It belongs to the Archive of the Hospital of the Innocenti in Florence and brings testimony to the day-to-day activity of Piero, and to the socio-economic transactions of his shop. The register reveals interesting details regarding the business of Piero, who appears to have been, among other things, a second-hand dealer, a merchant of furs, a pawnbroker, and occasionally a moneylender.
The manuscript of images and inscriptions left by the 13th-century draftsman, Villard de Honnecourt, is one of the most enigmatic of artefacts surviving from the Gothic era. Despite the wealth and variety of subject matter rendered, the manuscript and its author have resisted satisfactory interpretation. Long considered an architect or master mason, 20th-century scholarship has shown the frequent inadequacies of his profiles and renderings of masonry subjects; but the subsequent attempt to reduce him to an artist only, or merely a curious clerk, gives feeble explanation for the range and depth of his technical knowledge. This paper presents the argument that whatever else Villard may have been, his primary training must have been that of a carpenter, wood-carver, and mechanical engineer.
In the early Middle Ages the cathedral was the height of human achievement. These vast edifices welcomed pilgrims and strangers; they arose from the ground and seemingly reached to the heavens. As the cathedrals grew larger and larger there was a need for better building planning. Yet little is know of the planning of these massive buildings. Few formal plans have survived intact from the Early Middle Ages. The so-called ‘Plan of St Gall’ from the 9th century survives but it is disputed if this is really is a plan of a real building at all. This paper considers the plans and planning of architecture of the Early Middle Ages.