The Parisian building industry prospered throughout most of the 18th century serving a wide range of clients. At one end of the scale were the members of the nobility and amateurs of architecture who approached the design of a building with a well-trained eye and an ability to speak of the principles governing good taste. The majority of clients, however, had little if any knowledge of or interest in art theory and relied on instinct, fashion, and the advice of experts. Concern for the effect an untutored public could have on the future of French architecture led Jacques-François Blondel, the foremost architectural educator of the 18th century, to develop specialized approaches for reaching potential clients. These included courses for nonprofessionals at his Ecole des Arts and a novel, L'Homme du monde éclairé par les arts (1774), written in collaboration with Jean-François Bastide, a man of letters who was the author of another work of fiction featuring architecture, "La Petite Maison" (1758).

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