Author(s) Francine, Alexandre
Title Livre d’architecture...
Imprint Paris, M. Tavernier, 1631
Localisation Paris, Ensba, Les 1620
Subject Gates


     The dedication is addressed to King Louis XIII. The frontispiece presents a portrait of Alexandre Francine by Abraham Bosse. The work consists of forty plates, numbered in Roman numerals, engraved by Melchior Tavernier, engraver and printer to the king. In 1640 the work was reissued without change. It came out in an English edition, no doubt rare (London, 1669), for Francine’s biographers were unaware of it. The engraving of the English edition was reversed in comparison with the French edition; the coats of arms of France and Navarre were deleted, which were minor modifications.
Les Francine, Francini, Franciny, Franchine, Francyne, Fransini, or even Fransiny were Florentine water engineers and scenographers. Alexandre, who was brother to Thomas, uncle to François and Pierre and a relative of the sculptor Francesco di Bartolomeo Bordoni, was born in Florence around 1571. He arrived in France in approximately 1598 and was naturalized in 1603. He worked on the parterres, garden follies and fountains at the châteaux of Saint-Germain, Fontainebleau and Versailles. He died in 1648.
Francine’s art remains in the tradition of the Florentine Buontalenti, “ingeniere dei fiumi” to the grand duke of Tuscany, creator of the follies in the famous Pratolino garden; and in the tradition of Frederico Zuccari, creator of the Roman portal of via Gregoriana in the form of a monstrous mouth. Alexandre Francine declares that architecture is not his trade in his headword “Aux Amateurs d’architecture”. His work is hardly more than an index of ornaments whose stylishness was going to die out. Collections of the same sort, of a more elevated quality, were published during the same years by Pierre Collot (1633) and Jean Barbet (1633).

Jean-Marie Pérouse de Montclos (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Paris) – 2007

Critical bibliography

J. Lothe, “Les livres illustrés par Abraham Bosse”, S. Join-Lambert & M. Préaud (ed.), Abraham Bosse savant graveur, Tours, vers 1604-1676, Paris, Paris/Tours, Bibliothèque nationale de France/Musée des Beaux-Arts de Tours, 2004, p. 41.

Y. Pauwels, “Francine, Collot, Barbet : recueils de modèles ou exercices de style ?”, J.-P. Garric, É. d'Orgeix & E. Thibault (ed.), Le livre et l’architecte, Wavre, Mardaga, 2011, pp. 167-171.

A. Rostaing, “Francine”, SAUR - Allgemeines Kunstler Lexikon, 2004.