Villard de Honnecourt

The surviving portfolio of drawings (ca 1230s?) by Villard de Honnecourt, possibly a 13th century itinerant master-builder of Picardy in northern France, is in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (MS Fr 19093). It appears to be a model-book, with a wide range of religious and secular figures suitable for sculpture, and architectural plans, elevations and details, ecclesiastical objects and mechanical devices, with copious annotations.

In many respects, the work of Villard de Honnecourt, such as "Constructions", "The Wheel of Fortune", and most particularly his "Lion and Porcupine" (all c. 1235) represent a tentative move from the universal to the particular, a conceptual breakthrough of sorts.