Description: A Walnut architectural model of a roof system designed as a "Masterpiece" or graduating thesis for a member of the Compagnon carpenters guild. Models of this kind were also called called pice de matrise or masterproofs and were built in order to graduate from the guild and were designed to show the individual woodworker's prowess in joining materials at the complex angles required in the carpenter's field work.
Location of Origin: Europe / England
Dimensions: 28in (w) x 20in (h) x 22in (d)
Provenance: Ex New York collection
Expertise: Les Compagnons was a secretive professional guild of stonecutters and carpenters who helped build some the majority of the cathedrals and churches during the middle ages. Legends associate the origin of the guilds in the construction of the Jerusalem Temple. According to historians the guilds for the art of building began in the fourteenth century when the craft guilds which were forged in the major cathedrals gave way to oligarchy. These guilds remained strong until the late 19th century when industrialization changed much of modern building practice.
After several years of internship with a master the apprentice went on a Tour de France during which he could acquire new technical knowledge and develop professional experience. This Tour ended with the completion of a masterpiece that was assessed by a jury of masters. Once accepted the young apprentice was recognized in his profession and obtained a Companion of the Tour de France.
Many architects art lovers and historians collect these masterpiece models not only for their outstanding masterwork but also for their great historical interest and decorative style.
For numerous examples of the work of this guild see: the Museum "Les musees compagnonniques" in Paris.
For the sale of a comparable model of a roof truss see The Sothebys sale "The Robert and Angelique Noortman Collection" December 18 2007 Sale AM1037 Lot 542. Also see The Christies sale "Collection of Charles De Langlade" June 24 2010 Sale 5616 for numerous comparable models.