Drawing, Plan Development and Elevation for a Spiral Staircase that Turns to the Right, March 1886
This is a Drawing. It is dated March 1886 and we acquired it in 2007. Its medium is graphite, brush and watercolor, pen and black ink on cream wove paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.
Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw’s generous gift of their collection of architectural models for staircases will be the subject of a forthcoming Cooper-Hewitt exhibition.
This is one of 10 meticulous staircase schematic drawings from the Thaw collection, presented as a gift to accompany the staircase models. The drawings are by Adolph Bordeaux, a journeyman of the compagnonnage movement doing his master tour in the 1880s.
Bordeaux’s rigorous training is evidenced by the accuracy and precision of these scale drawings. Initially, the journeyman candidate worked for five to seven years perfecting all aspects of the craft—in this case, the joinery associated with constructing spiral staircases—from the planning and drafting to the construction of the models. He would then continue his education with travel to various cities in France to study specific details from master craftsmen. This cycle of travel from city to city was known as Le Tour de France. In each city, the candidate would desig
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Its dimensions are
57.3 x 45.4 cm (22 9/16 x 17 7/8 in.) Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22 in.)
It is signed
Signed in black ink, lower right: Marcilly / en Mars 1886 / ABordeaux
It is inscribed
Inscribed in black ink, upper left: Plan Developpement / et Elevation d’un escalier a li[…]non / don’t les marches sont C[…]; lower right: Le balam[…] part de la 2e a la […] / […]
Cite this object as
Drawing, Plan Development and Elevation for a Spiral Staircase that Turns to the Right, March 1886; France; graphite, brush and watercolor, pen and black ink on cream wove paper; 57.3 x 45.4 cm (22 9/16 x 17 7/8 in.) Mat: 71.1 x 55.9 cm (28 x 22 in.); Gift of Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw; 2007-53-4