The Basilica of St Denis, Paris

The Basilica of St Denis, Paris



William Callow, R.W.S. (1812-1908)
The Basilica of St Denis, Paris

Watercolour over pencil heightened with touches of bodycolour
17.8 by 12.7 cm., 7 by 5 in.

With Appleby Bros., London, 1968

London, Appleby Bros., Spring Exhibition, 1968, no.122

The royal abbey of St Denis was built on the grave of Saint Denis, Bishop of Paris who died in 250 AD. From the mid-7th Century until the 19th century, it was the burial place of 43 kings and 32 queens. The basilica was elevated to a cathedral in 1966. The present church was designed by Abbot Sugar and was completed in the 13th Century. It is widely regarded as the first building to employ all the elements that comprised gothic architecture. The present watercolour depicts both towers of the basilica. The towering medieval north tower suffered storm damage in the late 1830s and efforts to rebuild it failed, leading to it being dismantled in 1847. However, work has recently begun on rebuilding the tower.