François-Joseph Bélanger

Francois Joseph Belanger, Hotel Dervieux wall design 1789, DM 1333 IN SET – Drawing Matter

François-Joseph Bélanger (1744–1818), Design for a Wall Elevation at the Hôtel Dervieux, c. 1789. Pen, black and red ink over graphite with coloured washes and gouache on paper, 306 × 285 mm.

This drawing is one of more than twenty alternative designs for a room in the Paris mansion built for Anne-Victoire Dervieux opera dancer and, from 1794, the architect and designer Bélanger’s wife. Bélanger imagines for Dervieux a scheme of ‘Etruscan’ arabesques loosely inspired by the archaeological excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii. Compass, ruler and pen were used to delimit and subdivide the decorative field; ink, watercolour and gouache were then applied to work up the fine detail of trellis, tablets, terms, arcades, dancing figures, birds, griffons, fine scrolls and floral patterns, caught within boldly coloured frames.

– Olivia Edmondson


On Belanger's exterior and urban projects, A Civic Utopia; on the interior ardour of fire around Belanger's drawings in the archive; on A Clean Mess by the next generation, an interior, ornamental composition by Percier that drew its inspiration from antiquity; and on the Dance Dance Revolution of Belanger's interior for Maison Dervieux.