The Doors of the Chapel and the Keys to the Palace of Louis IX considers two virtually unknown sculpted portals located in the second bay on the north side of the Sainte-Chapelle, the monumental reliquary chapel built by Louis IX in the royal palace of Paris between 1239 and 1248. Examining archaeological and archival documentation concerning these portals, Meredith Cohen provides important new insights about the initial design and function of the Sainte-Chapelle, its attendant structures, and the royal palace. After charting the history of the Chevesserie, the building to which the portals issued, Cohen proposes a relative chronology for the other structures in the palace attributed to Louis IX, arguing that construction of the Sainte-Chapelle generated major changes, which defined the palace as symbol of the royal state starting in the thirteenth century. This article contributes to the research in medieval architecture that views great monuments as part of highly complex historical topographies.

Alittle-known engraving by Nicolas Ransonnette, published in Jérôme Morand's 1790 Histoire de la Sainte-Chapelle, offers an intriguing view of the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris as it looked on the eve of the Revolution, prior to the royal chapel's liquidation and the sweeping nineteenth-century restoration that erased so much of its material history (Figure 1).1 Sunlight pours into both upper and lower levels of the structure, dramatically illuminating the many richly decorated furnishings, sacred objects, and altars therein. Inside, people in eighteenth-century finery pray while others admire the chapel's treasures. Easily overlooked among all of the detail are two rectangular doors on the left of the image in the dado.2 Those unassuming doors correspond to two unknown medieval portals still extant on the exterior of the chapel, which I shall call the lateral portals (Figures 2 and 3).

Figure 1

Nicolas Ransonnette, view of Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, engraving, 1790 (Patrick Cadet © Centre des Monuments Nationaux, Paris, PCW11-0058).

Figure 1

Nicolas Ransonnette, view of Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, engraving, 1790 (Patrick Cadet © Centre des Monuments Nationaux, Paris, PCW11-0058).

Figure 2

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, exterior of upper chapel, north face, second bay, lateral portal (author's photo).

Figure 2

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, exterior of upper chapel, north face, second bay, lateral portal (author's photo).

Figure 3

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, lower chapel, north face, second bay, lateral portal (author's photo).

Figure 3

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, lower chapel, north face, second bay, lateral portal (author's photo).

Given the renown of the Sainte-Chapelle, a magnificent royal reliquary chapel built between 1239 and 1248 that welcomes more than a million visitors annually and has inspired scholars for centuries, it is striking that these portals have passed completely unnoticed in the building's historiography. After all, they are not mere piercings in the wall as in other parts of the chapel (Figure 4). While less grand than the sculpted portals of the chapel's west façade (Figure 5), they nevertheless bear dignified double-roll low-arch moldings and sculpted embrasures decorated with en délit colonnettes, shafts, and fine foliate capitals.

Figure 4

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, interior of lower chapel, fourth bay north, portal of the (now-lost) Trésor des Chartes (author's photo).

Figure 4

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, interior of lower chapel, fourth bay north, portal of the (now-lost) Trésor des Chartes (author's photo).

Figure 5

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, upper chapel, west portal (Jean Feuillie © Centre des Monuments Nationaux, Paris, JF1X00-1965).

Figure 5

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, upper chapel, west portal (Jean Feuillie © Centre des Monuments Nationaux, Paris, JF1X00-1965).

Granted, the lateral portals are nearly impossible to see, as much of the exterior north face of the Sainte-Chapelle is obscured by the eighteenth-century Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle.3 On the interior of the chapel, the door frames pictured in Ransonnette's engraving were erased when, in the nineteenth century, the chapel's restorers removed all extraneous, incomplete, or redundant parts that compromised the integrity of their newly designated monument historique.4 

Once out of sight, soon out of mind: neither the restorers nor more recent architectural historians have mentioned these portals in their analyses of the Sainte-Chapelle.5 In fact, the portals are absent in every published plan of the site. Even Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc's iconic plans of the Sainte-Chapelle offer no indication of the portals or the now-lost structure to which they issued, although the plans represent the multifunctional treasury known as the Trésor des Chartes, also lost to time (Figure 6).6 

Figure 6

Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, plan of the Sainte-Chapelle and the Trésor des Chartes, lower level, 1854 (Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, vol. 2 [Paris: B. Bance, 1854], 426–27).

Figure 6

Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, plan of the Sainte-Chapelle and the Trésor des Chartes, lower level, 1854 (Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, vol. 2 [Paris: B. Bance, 1854], 426–27).

Nineteenth-century structural rationalists such as Viollet-le-Duc had little concern for extraneous appendages, preferring to focus on the “great church” as a singular, unified entity.7 This was, after all, the time when even Notre-Dame of Paris was refashioned with a large forecourt and broad vistas at the expense of its subsidiary structures. Twentieth-century modernism followed suit with its reverence for the self-contained unit: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's soaring towers, Constantin Brancusi's birds, Piet Mondrian's grids. Modern scholars of the Middle Ages, such as Robert Branner, who have written extensively on the Sainte-Chapelle, have similarly felt little need to address its messy idiosyncrasies.8 At the end of the twentieth century, the turn from a formalist art history to one focused on context and the habitus further distanced the gaze from the object itself, and the lateral portals remained in the dust.

In recent years, however, studies of material culture have given rise to a discourse that instills new value in these types of forgotten objects. Scholars such as Alfred Gell have drawn attention to the long lives of objects, and particularly to the notion that the functions and meanings of objects change over time in relation to new uses and practices.9 Similarly, objects that have lost their common functions—and this would include the lateral portals—have been theorized recently as “things.” Bill Brown explains that “the story of objects asserting themselves as things, then, is the story of a changed relation to the human subject and thus the story of how the thing really names less an object than a particular subject–object relation.”10 Building from this idea, the well-known anthology The Social Life of Things, edited by Arjun Appadurai, explores how some things participate in broader social lives as beholders of value created by social exchange.11 

While these new perspectives argue for a broad range of uses and meanings concerning such objects, they tend to privilege the objects' later histories. The originating or common functions of things have been less of a concern, although these functions are always implicit. Indeed, while the very existence of the lateral portals raises questions about how they could have been overlooked for so long, the portals also trouble our constructed history of the Sainte-Chapelle, since they cannot be explained within it.

In exploring these unknowns, I have found that toward the end of the ancien régime, the lateral portals connected the Sainte-Chapelle to an independent residential presbytery, which was located within a cluster of small structures nestled by the chapel and illustrated in a 1630 drawing of the palace courtyard (known as the Cour du Mai) by Étienne Martellange (Figure 7).12 This structure was known as the Chevesserie, from the French term meaning literally the space related to the chevet, or head of the chapel, thus having to do with administration, including management of the chapel furnishings and altars, usually the purview of wardens. Essential for the proper functioning of a sanctuary, such structures were not uncommon; even Notre-Dame of Paris had a residential chevesserie that dated as far back as the early fourteenth century.13 

Figure 7

Étienne Martellange, view of the Cour du Mai of the Palais de la Cité, engraving, 1630; the Chevesserie appears within the group of smaller structures nestled in front of the Sainte-Chapelle and between the Trésor des Chartes on the left and the Galerie des Merciers on the right (© Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, WA C LAR II 117).

Figure 7

Étienne Martellange, view of the Cour du Mai of the Palais de la Cité, engraving, 1630; the Chevesserie appears within the group of smaller structures nestled in front of the Sainte-Chapelle and between the Trésor des Chartes on the left and the Galerie des Merciers on the right (© Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, WA C LAR II 117).

The question is, then, did the Sainte-Chapelle's Chevesserie also exist in the Middle Ages? If the early documentation associated with the Sainte-Chapelle suggests that this office was indeed born with the chapel itself, it is more difficult to explain the disjunction between the chapel's elegant lateral portals and the modest structure to which they led in the seventeenth century.14 While the lateral portals indicate an intention to put some sort of equally august building in the space issuing from them, the plan was apparently abandoned early on in the chapel's history. In other words, the mismatched articulated portals and unexceptional Chevesserie indicate changes in plan involving the surrounding buildings that were built to service the Sainte-Chapelle, including clerical residences, the multipurpose structure called the Trésor des Chartes, and the gallery known as the Galerie des Merciers linking the chapel to the great hall, or Salle du Roi (called the Grand'Salle after 1300) (Figure 8).15 

Figure 8

Palais de la Cité of Louis IX, circa 1270 (plan by author, adapted from Jean Guerout, “Le Palais de la Cité à Paris des origines à 1417: Éssai topographique et archéologique,” Mémoires de la Fédération des Sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 1 [1949], n.p.).

Figure 8

Palais de la Cité of Louis IX, circa 1270 (plan by author, adapted from Jean Guerout, “Le Palais de la Cité à Paris des origines à 1417: Éssai topographique et archéologique,” Mémoires de la Fédération des Sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 1 [1949], n.p.).

A closer look at the Chevesserie and its relationship to these buildings yields new insight into the architectural evolution of the Palais de la Cité during the reign of Louis IX (1226–70), the time when it became the French monarchy's primary residential and administrative center.16 The changes to the palace resulting from the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle and its attendant structures suggest that there was in fact no comprehensive plan at the outset of the chapel's construction. Rather, the insertion of the Sainte-Chapelle seems to have initiated a domino effect of new building and rebuilding that refashioned the palace as the stately center of the royal kingdom, a development that is usually attributed to, but was actually only completed under, Philip the Fair (r. 1285–1314).17 In other words, with the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle and the alterations to the palace this building engendered, Louis IX played a greater role in shaping the architectural and institutional complex of the Palais de la Cité than history has ascribed to him.

Dating the Lateral Portals

Before delving into these broader subjects, it is first necessary to address the issue of the authenticity or date of the lateral portals themselves.18 My analysis suggests that on the whole they are contemporary with the thirteenth-century structure.19 At both levels, the size and style of the portals' articulation and sculpture match those of the interior. Both exterior doors rise to just below the level of the dado capitals on the interior of the chapel, so as not to disturb the rhythmic run of the dado arcade down the chapel's nave. The lower lateral portal's capitals are the same height (23 centimeters) and have the same type of sculpture as those of the interior of the lower chapel dado, such as sculpted leaves placed vertically and close to the basket with simple crockets that reach to the corners of the abacus (Figures 9 and 10). In addition, the lower lateral portal's colonnettes are the same diameter as the lower chapel's dado shafts (15 centimeters).

Figure 9

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, lower chapel, lateral portal, detail of eastern capital block showing insertion into abacus (author's photo).

Figure 9

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, lower chapel, lateral portal, detail of eastern capital block showing insertion into abacus (author's photo).

Figure 10

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, interior of lower chapel, dado capital (author's photo).

Figure 10

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, interior of lower chapel, dado capital (author's photo).

The upper lateral portal's capitals are also the same size as the upper chapel's interior dado capitals (27 centimeters from astragal to abacus). With loose sprigs of leaves artfully arranged around the basket, the upper lateral portal's sculpted capitals also resemble those on the interior of the upper chapel (Figures 11 and 12). Moreover, the upper portal's colonnettes are the same height as the upper chapel's interior dado shafts (1.4 meters). Their bases, containing two tori separated by a deep scotia forming a diagonal profile, are similar to those in the rest of the chapel.

Figure 11

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, upper chapel, exterior lateral portal, detail of eastern capital with unfinished insertion (author's photo).

Figure 11

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, upper chapel, exterior lateral portal, detail of eastern capital with unfinished insertion (author's photo).

Figure 12

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, interior of upper chapel, dado capital (author's photo).

Figure 12

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, ca. 1239–48, interior of upper chapel, dado capital (author's photo).

The general plan of the lateral portals, with their splayed embrasures, colonnettes, and thin coursed shafts, surmounted by a series of foliate capitals, parallels that of many Parisian portals from the second third of the thirteenth century, such as as the Lady Chapel of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Saint-Pierre-aux-Boeufs, and Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois.20 However, the wall closing the doorway of the upper chapel's lateral portal dates to a later period and will be discussed below. Nevertheless, because of the manifold similarities, the portals appear to be coeval with the thirteenth-century structure of the chapel. By extension, this would suggest that early on in the chapel's history, a building was intended for the location of their issue.

The Chevesserie

The building that did eventually appear in that location on the north side of the Sainte-Chapelle was identified in two plans from the eighteenth century, the first a tax plan from 1700 called the Terrier du Roi, and the second a drawing made in 1783 after a fire in the palace in 1776, in which it is specifically labeled chevesserie.21 It is impossible to ascertain the date of the building in the Martellange drawing mentioned above (see Figure 7), although its facture in 1630 serves as a terminus ante quem. However, an examination of the early history and function of the Chevesserie offers information as to how it also became a residential presbytery and why a more substantial building was never built in its place.

Concerning these questions, Jean Guerout's meticulous and thorough study still holds as the most useful reference for the history and plan of the Palais de la Cité up to 1417.22 However, Guerout was not aware of the lateral portals, and so he inferred from the documentary material that the building next to the Sainte-Chapelle housed the Audience du Sceau (Audience of the Seal), an office that came into existence in the thirteenth century whose function was to authenticate royal documents with a wax seal.23 Guerout reasoned that the documents receiving the royal seal required parchment, and accounting for the parchment was the purview of the Sainte-Chapelle's master chaplain.24 Even if one allowed for the existence of this office prior to its official appearance on a document from 1261, it is hard to explain why the Audience du Sceau would require direct passage to the Sainte-Chapelle.25 Given that the earliest account to which Guerout refers, dated to 1285, also details objects obtained for the chapel's chevesserie, such as wicks and wax, a reparation for an angel on the cross, and incense, it may be understood that the master chaplain oversaw purchases for both offices at that time.26 The Terrier du Roi from 1700 sites the Audience in a structure separate from but next to the Chevesserie (Figure 13).27 The other plan, from 1783, does not provide a location for the Audience (Figures 14 and 15).

Figure 13

Terrier du Roi, ca. 1700, detail of the “Quartier de la Cité et des Isles du Palais: Cour du Palais ou du May”; in this plan, 14 is identified as the Chancellerie (another term for the Audience du Roi) and 18 as a house belonging to the Mssrs of the Sainte-Chapelle next to the Audience (AN Q1*10991, fol. 67v; photo by Jean-François Moufflet).

Figure 13

Terrier du Roi, ca. 1700, detail of the “Quartier de la Cité et des Isles du Palais: Cour du Palais ou du May”; in this plan, 14 is identified as the Chancellerie (another term for the Audience du Roi) and 18 as a house belonging to the Mssrs of the Sainte-Chapelle next to the Audience (AN Q1*10991, fol. 67v; photo by Jean-François Moufflet).

Figure 14

[Joseph-Abel Couture?], plan of the Palais de la Cité, 1783, detail of ground level showing the Sainte-Chapelle, the Chevesserie, the Trésor des Chartes, the Galerie des Merciers, and part of the Grand'Salle (© BnF Estampes Ve 84 fol. 1; author's photo).

Figure 14

[Joseph-Abel Couture?], plan of the Palais de la Cité, 1783, detail of ground level showing the Sainte-Chapelle, the Chevesserie, the Trésor des Chartes, the Galerie des Merciers, and part of the Grand'Salle (© BnF Estampes Ve 84 fol. 1; author's photo).

Figure 15

[Joseph-Abel Couture?], plan of the Palais de la Cité, 1783, detail of upper level showing the Sainte-Chapelle, the Chevesserie, the Trésor des Chartes, the Galerie des Merciers, and part of the Grand'Salle (© BnF Estampes Ve 84 fol. 2; author's photo).

Figure 15

[Joseph-Abel Couture?], plan of the Palais de la Cité, 1783, detail of upper level showing the Sainte-Chapelle, the Chevesserie, the Trésor des Chartes, the Galerie des Merciers, and part of the Grand'Salle (© BnF Estampes Ve 84 fol. 2; author's photo).

Clearly those in charge of the chevesserie, the wardens, needed both a storage space for the stocks of candles, incense, wine, and other things they required for the daily cycles of liturgy and easy access to the chapel to be able to assess what was needed for each service. Abbé Morand, the chaplain of the Sainte-Chapelle who wrote the Histoire in 1790, remarks that the chapel's foundation generated funding for the chefcerie, and that, in his time, the office received seven thousand pounds annually.28 Indeed, the first foundation for the Sainte-Chapelle from 1246 provided money and established two wardens to oversee these functions, although it did not specifically name the office.29 The second foundation, from 1248, increased the number of wardens to three, and each one was given a clerk. In addition, the chapel's funding was augmented, and concrete directives were given concerning the provisions to be obtained for the chapel (e.g., silver candelabra of five pounds each). Notably, both documents indicate that the wardens were always to sleep in the chapel, accompanied by the master chaplains in rotation, to guard the relics inside it.30 The presence of the wardens and their residence, while not exactly within the chapel but directly attached to it, endured until the end of the ancien régime.

That the wardens who serviced the Sainte-Chapelle also lived in the Chevesserie at an early date may be understood within the broader development of the Palais de la Cité. Over the course of the thirteenth century, as the king resided at the Cité with greater frequency and for longer periods, the palace became increasingly diversified. By midcentury, the king already had a large entourage of courtiers and administrators as well as servants within the hôtel du roi, or royal household.31 The historian Élisabeth Lalou has estimated that in this period approximately 150 people serviced the king's household, with that number rising to 300 if one includes those who worked for the queen and the royal children.32 

During Louis's long reign, these members of the hôtel du roi were given a right to housing within the palace.33 By 1317, the king's chamberlain, sommelier, barber, shoemaker, and ushers, as well as the queen's valet and painter, all lived along the eastern wall of the Palais de la Cité.34 In 1323, residences for the king's painter, carpenter, and plumber were also built within the palace of Paris.35 Even the gardener and the zookeeper lived within the palace in 1329.36 Indeed, by the early fourteenth century, the place was populated not only with numerous providers of services but also with their workshops.37 

During this same period, the royal chaplains, including those assigned to the Sainte-Chapelle, ascended to the level of court officer and were similarly given residences in the palace.38 The Sainte-Chapelle's first foundation, from 1246, established seventeen positions for the chapel: five principal chaplains, each of whom oversaw a subchaplain and a clerk, and two wardens.39 The next foundation from only two years later increased the number of personnel to twenty-one. The positions created for the Sainte-Chapelle constituted a substantial increase compared to the single chaplain who serviced the Saint-Nicolas chapel, which preceded the Sainte-Chapelle. And all of these people now had the right to housing within the palace, room that had to be found or made for them. Notably, both foundations instructed that “all of the principal chaplains, and the wardens, present as well as future, will swear that in the aforesaid chapel they will keep residency in good faith.”40 Although this has been understood as referring to the chaplains' positions at the chapel, the Latin residentia has been defined by some authorities as locational rather than vocational.41 

William of Saint-Pathus, the thirteenth-century confessor to Louis's queen, Margaret of Provence, informs on this in writing that Louis built a “sufficient” number of houses (three) for his chaplains “next to the chapel.”42 The confessor also notes that the Mendicants who were invited to be the celebrants at the chapel on its special occasions were accommodated in one ample house situated “next to the palace.”43 William of Saint-Pathus thus refers to clerical housing in not one but two different locations in the Palais de la Cité.

A variety of evidence supports William's assertion that multiple locations for clerical housing existed within the palace. However, because the written evidence postdates William's testimony, it must be remembered that the number of personnel in the Sainte-Chapelle's foundation also expanded over the years, and the numbers and locations of their residences were augmented. By the fifteenth century, no fewer than thirty-four clergy serviced the Sainte-Chapelle.44 

These clergy lived all over the palace, but mostly on the south side (Figure 16). Documents from the second third of the fourteenth century locate a few clerical residences in the south, by the Gallo-Roman rampart.45 Houses recorded as under construction in 1323 and 1325 may also have been in this area.46 There, one of the chaplains is recorded as living near what was known as the Galilee Well by 1348, as accounts show reimbursement for masonry, carpentry, and roofing expenses for repairs to the house attached to that prebend in the palace.47 In 1488, the king relocated Artus d'Aunoy, another chaplain, to a new house on the southern side of the palace.48 The Saint-Victor plan of Paris from 1550 shows modest houses with gardens in this vicinity as well as a wall (Figure 17).

Figure 16

Palais de la Cité of Louis IX, circa 1270 (plan by author, adapted from Jean Guerout, “Le Palais de la Cité à Paris des origines à 1417: Éssai topographique et archéologique,” Mémoires de la Fédération des Sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 1 [1949], n.p.).

Figure 16

Palais de la Cité of Louis IX, circa 1270 (plan by author, adapted from Jean Guerout, “Le Palais de la Cité à Paris des origines à 1417: Éssai topographique et archéologique,” Mémoires de la Fédération des Sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 1 [1949], n.p.).

Figure 17

Plan of Paris known as the Plan of Saint-Victor, ca. 1550, detail of western end of Palais de la Cité showing southern residences on the right along the river bank (© BnF Estampes GE CC 5014).

Figure 17

Plan of Paris known as the Plan of Saint-Victor, ca. 1550, detail of western end of Palais de la Cité showing southern residences on the right along the river bank (© BnF Estampes GE CC 5014).

Some of the chaplains also lived next to the chapel of Saint Michel, which was located on the southeastern side of the palace wall along the Rue de la Barillerie. In 1315, the treasurer received a new house between this location and the southern extent of the palace walls.49 In 1318, a chaplain by the name of Aubri resided next to this house. He and another chaplain paid for reparations on their houses in that location in 1329.50 

Chaplains also had residences on the northeastern side of the palace: one is recorded as living underneath the Grand8Salle's meat kitchen in 1318.51 Another was located in this northeastern corner until 1488, first in a house wedged between the stairs of the Grand'Salle and structures bordering the street, and then between two small towers above the southern gate of the palace.52 However, by 1630, all but one of the chaplains (the eighth principal chaplain) had accommodations in the south side of the palace (4 in Figure 16).53 

While the chaplains resided all around the palace and mostly on the south side, the wardens lived in the Chevesserie.54 Remember that both of the Sainte-Chapelle's foundations stated that the wardens must sleep in the chapel to guard the relics. Although we cannot know without new evidence exactly when the Chevesserie was built, the 1783 plan provides tantalizing details about its design and later inhabitants (Figure 18).55 It clarifies that the structure had three levels, corresponding more or less to Martellange's drawing. On the ground floor (the lower floor in the plan), the space in the second bay that linked to the lower chapel lateral portal (misleadingly not shown) is unidentified.56 The second floor (the upper floor in the plan) had a narrow terrace next to the upper lateral portal (also not shown) that led to a hallway around which several rooms were arrayed. The largest of these rooms was labeled explicitly chevesserie. The room across the hall was identified as the “lodging of Abbé Paris,” and beside it, in the third room, there was an office. Accessed by narrow stairs, the third floor, which comprised a reception room and a bedroom, was occupied by a certain Abbé Tisset; these third-level rooms are identified (but not illustrated) on the plan of the upper floor.

Figure 18

Detail of Figures 14 (left) and 15 (right), plan of the Palais de la Cité, 1783 (© BnF Estampes Ve 84 fols. 1 and 2).

Figure 18

Detail of Figures 14 (left) and 15 (right), plan of the Palais de la Cité, 1783 (© BnF Estampes Ve 84 fols. 1 and 2).

Both Abbés Paris and Tisset were wardens of the Sainte-Chapelle on the eve of the Revolution. Pierre Tisset appears in the records as a warden-clerk (marguillier-clerc) and appears in chapel documents with the title chefcier for twenty-three years, from 1760 through to 1783, after which he occupied a more prestigious post as perpetual chaplain, until he departed at the chapel's dispersal in 1789.57 Nicolas Edme Paris was in charge of the bells and the sacristy of the lower chapel, and he lived in the Chevesserie for some time before 1783, remaining until 1791, as per the chapel inventories.58 While Abbé Tisset moved out of the Chevesserie after his promotion in 1783, Abbé Paris continued to live there, even after his old lodging was torn down and a new one was built within the Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle.

Further proving this site as a location for clerical residences, in a letter to the king dated 21 February 1777, the chaplains expressed great concern about the demolishment necessary for the reconstruction of the area after the fire of 1776, writing that “the officers of [the] Sainte-Chapelle are menaced by the reconstruction of the burned palace, to see a part of their housing destroyed.”59 Despite their protests, both the Chevesserie and the Trésor des Chartes to the east of it were demolished to make way for the Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle, which was complete by 1786. Documents from that year, certified by the architects Desmaisons and Antoine, indicate that “the domicile of Abbé Paris, which touches on one side the Trésor, communicates on the other side with the nave itself of the Sainte-Chapelle through two oak doors, to the left of the Cour du Mai.”60 The accompanying plans show that the doors of Abbé Paris's new residential quarters in the Galerie opened on the ground level from the chapel into a passage and a structure that contained an antechamber, a kitchen, a bedroom, and an office (Figure 19). But in this group of documents, there are no images or descriptions of any upstairs living quarters, suggesting that Abbé Tisset's residence had been suppressed in the new building.61 

Figure 19

Pierre Desmaisons and Jacques-Denis Antoine, plan of the Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle, 1786, detail of Abbé Paris's residence (shaded); the wall of the Sainte-Chapelle is in black (AN Z1f 1070; author's photo).

Figure 19

Pierre Desmaisons and Jacques-Denis Antoine, plan of the Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle, 1786, detail of Abbé Paris's residence (shaded); the wall of the Sainte-Chapelle is in black (AN Z1f 1070; author's photo).

This would date the closure of the upper lateral portal's doorway to that period, while the lower chapel's lateral portal and door were restored and maintained for Abbé Paris's new living quarters in the Galerie.62 However, even when the closure happened, the frame remained in situ on the interior of the Sainte-Chapelle, as per the Ransonnette image of 1790 (see Figure 1), until the nineteenth-century restorers removed it and filled the empty space by completing the dado with a new shaft, base, and bench; the suture of the completed bench on the inside of the chapel is visible today. The restorers also replaced the corbel with a new capital, inserted into the tympanum (see Figure 2).

Although the specific designation of the space next to the lateral portals as a chevesserie derives from the eighteenth century, the thirteenth-century foundations that directed the wardens to sleep in the chapel and the existence of other clerical residences in the palace support the possibility of this space's long-standing function as a residential presbytery. In contrast to the other clerical residences, there is no evidence that either the chevesserie or the wardens ever moved from one place to another. This new understanding of this space helps to explain the order of construction and the topography of the other buildings Louis built in the palace, which, in turn, illuminate the change of plan for the lateral portals of the Sainte-Chapelle and why a more permanent chevesserie was never built.

The Chevesserie and the Palace

Apart from the dates circumscribing the construction of the Sainte-Chapelle itself (ca. 1239–48), the relative chronology of the other structures Louis built in the palace is completely unknown. While the king is credited with the first chaplains' residences, the Trésor des Chartes, the Galerie des Merciers, and two structures on the northern side of the palace—a building known as Salle sur l'Eau and the tower called Tour Bonbec—no documents inform as to when any of these were built over the course of his long reign. However, examination of their locations in relation to the Sainte-Chapelle and the Chevesserie offers some possibilities for understanding the broader development of Louis's palace.

The plan of the site suggests that the (planned or then-extant) Chevesserie conditioned the design of the other buildings around it. Very close by—indeed, just a few meters east of the Chevesserie—stood the Trésor des Chartes (5 in Figure 16).63 Destroyed at the same time as the Chevesserie in 1783, the Trésor des Chartes ran parallel to the turning bays of the Sainte-Chapelle, with its west façade standing in line with the chapel's transitional bay buttress and its small polygonal apse projecting slightly beyond that of the Sainte-Chapelle. At 10.7 meters in length and with a width of 7.15 meters, the entire Trésor occupied only about a third of the length of its magnificent neighbor; its height, estimated at 25 meters to the vault keystones, also deferred to the chapel's monumental stature.64 

Curiously, both the Trésor and the Chevesserie group blocked the view of the north side of the Sainte-Chapelle from the main palace entrance in the Cour du Mai (see Figure 7). Why were these buildings situated in that location? This arrangement may have prioritized the no longer extant ceremonial staircase on the south side of the Sainte-Chapelle, which facilitated direct access to the upper chapel and set up an exterior circuit for processions that terminated in the Galerie des Merciers and Salle du Roi/Grand'Salle.65 At the same time, the eastern position and diminutive size of the Trésor are architectural constraints, indicating that either the Chevesserie preceded the Trésor or another building was planned for the Chevesserie's location but was never constructed.66 

Aspects of the Trésor's design and function help us to distinguish this building from the Chevesserie. The Trésor des Chartes had three levels; according to Morand (who described it after its demolition but would have known the building when it was still extant), the (first) ground level and second floor served as sacristies for the chapel, with the second-floor sacristy called the Revestiaire, while the third, upper level housed Louis IX's library (from 1254) and the archives, the actual Trésor des Chartes, by which name the entire building was later known.67 This last level apparently had a separate entryway from the courtyard by means of a spiral staircase built onto the buttress of the Sainte-Chapelle. On the interior, this upper level was lined with armoires under every window, and an altar stood in the middle of the apse. The Revestiaire, or vestry, on the second level, was divided into three rooms: the vestry sacristy room, the Trésor des Reliques (where the relics not displayed in the chapel were located), and a third room known as the Gîte, a space where the chaplain who guarded the relics in rotation (and not the wardens who were always present), as stipulated in the Sainte-Chapelle's foundation, spent the night.68 Three chapels were founded in the Revestiaire.69 The existence of the Gîte in the Trésor for the principal chaplains reinforces the understanding that the more modest Chevesserie served as residence for the lower-ranking wardens.

However, as is the case regarding many buildings from this period, the date of the Trésor's construction is unknown: neither the chapel's foundation documents nor any other documents from the royal chancery during Louis's reign mention the Trésor specifically. Geoffrey of Beaulieu, the king's contemporary and first hagiographer, wrote that it was built after the Sainte-Chapelle was completed, although he could have been referring only to the library of the Trésor, which was established in 1254.70 Iconographic evidence suggests that it was constructed in tandem with the Sainte-Chapelle; drawings by Thomas de Froideau and others consistently indicate that the stringcourse separating the upper and lower levels of the chapel also continued around the Trésor des Chartes (Figure 20). In addition to the stringcourse, apparently the Trésor's stair turret was built into the fabric of the chapel's buttress.71 Given that a door and a passageway (but no portals) were built to provide access between the Trésor and chapel, and that such modifications were complicated, it is likely that the Trésor was also built sometime during the chapel's construction, although for an unknown reason it was conceived separately from, and placed east of, the (planned or then-extant) Chevesserie.

Figure 20

Thomas de Froideau, “Trésor de la Sainte-Chapelle,” drawing, ca. 1782 (© BnF Estampes Reserve Ve-53 [G]-Fol.).

Figure 20

Thomas de Froideau, “Trésor de la Sainte-Chapelle,” drawing, ca. 1782 (© BnF Estampes Reserve Ve-53 [G]-Fol.).

Why the Trésor was not built on the site of the Chevesserie and onto the lateral portals of the Sainte-Chapelle remains uncertain, but it is possible the designers placed it to the east so that it would be close to the main altar, where the relics were displayed. In any case, it appears that the Trésor obviated the necessity for a separate and permanent Chevesserie, as it served some of the same functions.

Another structure in the palace affected by the Chevesserie/Trésor group on the north side of the chapel is the Galerie des Merciers (6 in Figure 16), which provided passage from the upper porch of the Sainte-Chapelle to and from the Salle du Roi/Grand'Salle (8 in Figure 16).72 First constructed perhaps as early as the reign of Robert II (996–1031), it is inferred to have been rebuilt sometime during the reign of Louis IX, based on stylistic evidence as well as the fact that Louis's grandson, Philip the Fair, added a black marble landing (perron) to a staircase known as the Grands Degrés (7 in Figure 16), which descended from the Galerie to the great courtyard called the Cour du Mai.73 Often the entire staircase is attributed to Philip, and it is unknown whether Philip also built the canopy over the staircase that appears in some of the images of the palace or more of the gallery itself.

A closer examination of the Galerie des Merciers suggests that its construction postdated the Sainte-Chapelle. The 1783 plan of the palace's upper level shows two portals built into the structure of the Galerie: one at the location of the Grands Degrés and another on the southwestern end of the Galerie by the Sainte-Chapelle (see Figure 15). Both portals had trumeaux, and thus, being wide openings, would have allowed for the processions that we know took place as part of the Sainte-Chapelle's liturgy. François-Nicolas Martinet's drawing of the upper chapel porch illustrates the tracery of the Galerie's southern portal and gives a glimpse of the Chevesserie behind it (Figure 21). The tracery design suggests construction during the thirteenth century, but several other features indicate the building postdated the Sainte-Chapelle. First, the portal issuing from the Galerie to the Grands Degrés is not centered along the length of the Galerie; instead, it is centered between the Grand'Salle and the Chevesserie/Trésor group, indicating that those structures pushed its position on the Galerie to the north. Second, on its southeastern end, the Galerie had a spiral staircase that also allowed for passage to the Chevesserie. Finally, the southern side of the Galerie was not built directly onto the Sainte-Chapelle but responded to it. These elements suggest that the Galerie was conceived and constructed after the chapel, but not long after.

Figure 21

François-Nicolas Martinet, view of the upper porch of the Sainte-Chapelle, showing Gothic portal and tracery on the left, just beyond the porch, engraving, ca. 1770 (© BnF Estampes Va-225 [1]-Fol. A-21819).

Figure 21

François-Nicolas Martinet, view of the upper porch of the Sainte-Chapelle, showing Gothic portal and tracery on the left, just beyond the porch, engraving, ca. 1770 (© BnF Estampes Va-225 [1]-Fol. A-21819).

It may also be observed that the 1783 plan reveals that the portal issuing from the Galerie des Merciers to the Grands Degrés was part of the original structure, as it stands in the place where a buttress would otherwise have been required (see Figures 14 and 15). An illustration by Thiéry made in 1777, after the fire of 1776, shows that the upper level of the Galerie des Merciers had cross-rib vaults, which rely on their responding buttresses (Figure 22). Such a structural element could not have been removed after construction of the vaults for the portal and the staircase descending from it; it would have to have been extant from the beginning. Thus a ceremonial staircase existed before Philip the Fair renovated the Galerie by adding a new landing to the Grands Degrés; in other words, it was part of Louis IX's improvements to the palace.74 

Figure 22

Thiéry, “View of the Demolition of the Palace, as It Was on the Feast of St. Jean of the Year 1777,” 1777, showing the Trésor des Chartes (left), part of the Chevesserie, the Cour du Mai, the Galerie des Merciers (center), and the Grand'Salle (right) (© BnF Estampes, Coll. Destailleurs, t. V, p. 127/Ve 53g [5] 1021).

Figure 22

Thiéry, “View of the Demolition of the Palace, as It Was on the Feast of St. Jean of the Year 1777,” 1777, showing the Trésor des Chartes (left), part of the Chevesserie, the Cour du Mai, the Galerie des Merciers (center), and the Grand'Salle (right) (© BnF Estampes, Coll. Destailleurs, t. V, p. 127/Ve 53g [5] 1021).

Conclusion

The chronology I propose runs like this: First, the Sainte-Chapelle was built, and during the course of its construction, plans for a more important or permanent building extending from the lateral portals were abandoned, probably when the Trésor des Chartes was conceived and/or shifted to the east, to make it easier to service the altar (see Figure 16). With the initiation of the Trésor, additional chaplains' residences were then built to the south, fulfilling the need for additional clerical residences and broadening the southern extent of the Palais de la Cité. The Chevesserie, a simple structure, as depicted in Martellange's 1630 drawing (see Figure 7), may have existed prior to the chapel, although it could also have been erected in the thirteenth century specifically to provide a residence for the wardens.75 In any case, the Galerie des Merciers, which responded to the Sainte-Chapelle and its attendant structures, including the Chevesserie, was (re)built after these initial changes to the chapel's plan. The arrangement suggests a lack of foresight or an unusual flexibility in planning for the group of structures engendered by the Sainte-Chapelle.

The only area where strategic planning about the palace appears to have occurred concerns the Salle sur l'Eau and the Tour Bonbec, although little is known about these buildings (9 and 10 in Figure 16). In terms of function, Guerout suggests that they served either as spaces for solemn ceremonies, such as oaths of fealty, or as rooms for ecclesiastical or lay meetings; equally, they might have had some purpose related to their riverside siting, such as to receive and store goods, as they were close to palace workshops.76 Concerning their date of construction, Guerout attributes both to Louis IX based on two graphic sources and fourteenth-century references to a royal Salle sur l'Eau on the north extremity of the Île de la Cité, beyond the palace walls.77 The style of the extant tower indicates a thirteenth-century date, and neither Philip the Bold nor Philip the Fair is known to have constructed either the tower or the Salle sur l'Eau. Given that Louis was most concerned with charitable donations supporting architectural foundations in greater Paris and France after his return from his first crusade, major work on the Palais de la Cité may have slowed or even stopped after 1254.78 The Tour Bonbec and the Salle sur l'Eau could have been built even before the Sainte-Chapelle went up. While these two buildings seem to have no necessary connection to the royal chapel and its satellites on the southern side of the Palais de la Cité, they enlarged the surface area to the north of the palace, just as the new chaplains' quarters extended the palace beyond its walls on the south side, seemingly forming a coherent project to expand the palace. The appropriation of this surface area asserted the palace's importance on the west end of the Île de la Cité in Paris, perhaps in response to the impressive and large episcopal complex of Notre-Dame on the east side of the island.79 

That Louis may have initiated the construction of a larger, more impressive royal residence resonates with the phase of his kingship prior to his departure for crusade, one in which he asserted stronger claims about royal power and authority through the very emblem of the palace. One might also question whether Louis had envisioned the reconstruction of the Salle du Roi during his reign. After all, the building dated to the tenth century, and it appears to have had only a modest renovation during the reign of Philip Augustus, so it probably truly needed an overhaul, particularly after the re/construction of the other buildings in the Cour du Mai.80 In any case, renovation of the Salle du Roi was not effected under Louis IX but was completed by his grandson, Philip the Fair, who not only expanded it into the Grand'Salle but also embellished the Galerie des Merciers with the Grands Degrés. Through these architectural projects (and others), Philip the Fair unified his reign with that of his newly canonized grandfather while also extending the locus of sacral kingship from the Sainte-Chapelle to the whole of the Palais de la Cité.81 

I have pursued throughout this article the object life of the lateral portals of the Sainte-Chapelle, considering the evidence from the longue durée of that life throughout the ancien régime to illuminate the portals' function as framed pathways to what became the Chevesserie, the planned or real presence of which played a determining role in the topography of the Palais de la Cité. My conclusion builds from a variety of lithic, graphic, and written evidence examined in relation to solid terminus ante quems and deductive reasoning based on the absence of other evidence concerning the Chevesserie from the chapel's foundation until the eighteenth century.

At the same time, and more broadly, this study is situated in a growing area of research in medieval architecture that views great monuments as deeply integrated with their complex historical topographies.82 Rarely was a great church built in isolation from other subsidiary structures such as baptisteries, cloisters, and hospitals, some of which were linked directly to them.83 Knowledge of the lateral portals, and the lost Chevesserie to which they once issued, significantly extends our knowledge of the Sainte-Chapelle's function and pivotal role within the greater Palais de la Cité. At the same time, as overlooked things, the lateral portals serve as a powerful and permanent reminder of the limitations of history.

Notes

Notes
1.
Sauveur Jerôme Morand, Histoire de la Sainte-Chapelle royale du Palais, enrichie de planches (Paris: Clousier, 1790). Morand was one of the Sainte-Chapelle's principal chaplains, who remained until its closure in 1789. For a history of the Sainte-Chapelle after its initial construction, see Magalie Lenoir-Quintard, “Entretenir un monument gothique sous l'ancien régime: La Sainte-Chapelle du Palais” (PhD thesis, Sorbonne, 2007). On the chronology and events surrounding the nineteenth-century architectural restoration, see Jean-Michel Leniaud and Françoise Perrot, La Sainte-Chapelle (Paris: Nathan, 1991), 9–48. Concerning the restoration of the glass, see Alyce A. Jordan, “Rationalizing the Narrative: Theory and Practice in the Nineteenth-Century Restoration of the Windows of the Sainte-Chapelle,” Gesta 37, no. 2 (1998), 192–200.
2.
In the lower chapel, an altar (with a priest servicing it and a person genuflecting before it) stands immediately to the west of the door. The upper chapel's lateral portal is illustrated as having a door with three panels. Curiously, while both upper and lower chapel lateral doors are represented in Ransonnette's drawing in Morand's Histoire, they are not shown in the corresponding floor plans of the Histoire.
3.
I first observed the upper chapel's lateral portal on 13 July 2012, from the scaffolding installed on the north side for restoration of the stained glass windows. The architects of the Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle were Pierre Desmaisons and Jacques-Denis Antoine. On this gallery with the later, see Herveline Delhumeau, Le Palais de la Cité, du Palais des rois de France au Palais de Justice (Paris: Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, 2011), 99. See also Leniaud and Perrot, Sainte-Chapelle, 21–23.
4.
On the changes made to the Sainte-Chapelle during its nineteenth-century restoration, see Leniaud and Perrot, Sainte-Chapelle, 15–48. See also Meredith Cohen, “Restoration as Re-creation at the Sainte-Chapelle of Paris,” RES: Journal of Anthropology and Comparative Aesthetics 48 (2005), 145–64. Concerning the glass, see Jordan, “Rationalizing the Narrative.”
5.
Morand does not discuss the lateral portals in his Histoire. Neither the publications by Jean-Baptiste Lassus about restoration nor any of the restoration archives in the Mediathèque de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine (MAP) mention them specifically, probably because the Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle had already replaced the building to which they once led. The MAP archives consulted for this article are as follows: 81/075/31/6/1, 81/075/31/9-12/1, CRMH/96/81/34, 0082/75001/2006, 0082/75001/2008-9, 0082/075-01/1011-3, 2000/062/0215, 81/075-31 C12, 80/14/12-14. Among the more recent book-length publications on the Sainte-Chapelle by Branner, Leniaud and Perrot, Jordan, and Weiss, none mention the portals—likely because they are not easily visible. These publications are nevertheless informative on many other topics: Robert Branner, Saint Louis and the Court Style in Gothic Architecture (London: Zwemmer, 1965); Leniaud and Perrot, Sainte-Chapelle; Alyce A. Jordan, Visualizing Kingship in the Windows of the Sainte-Chapelle (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2002); Daniel Weiss, Art and Crusade in the Age of Saint Louis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998). I discuss the lateral portals in Meredith Cohen, The Sainte-Chapelle and the Construction of Sacral Monarchy: Royal Architecture in Thirteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), 79–82. This article corrects some of the initial ideas on the portals presented there and extends the research on the broader subject of the Palais de la Cité.
6.
The plans appear in Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Dictionnaire raisonné de l'architecture française du XIe au XVIe siècle, vol. 2 (Paris: B. Bance, 1854), 426–27, https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Page:Viollet-le-Duc_-_Dictionnaire_raisonn%C3%A9_de_l%E2%80%99architecture_fran%C3%A7aise_du_XIe_au_XVIe_si%C3%A8cle,_1854-1868,_tome_2.djvu/429 (accessed 1 Dec. 2015). Viollet-le-Duc's plan of the upper chapel documents the building from above the dado walls; it does not show the thirteenth-century niches in the third bay, although it depicts the fourteenth-century Oratory of Saint Louis located in the fourth bay on the south side. The Trésor is also hypothetical—notably, the stair turret directly abutted the Sainte-Chapelle's north transitional buttress. Perhaps more concerning is the fact that no completely accurate plan of the Sainte-Chapelle exists, a circumstance that poses real problems for the study of the monument's history. While some of the attachements from the nineteenth-century restoration bear highly accurate measurements, they are schematic and incomplete.
7.
On the concept of the great church, see Christopher Wilson, The Gothic Cathedral (London: Thames and Hudson, 1990).
8.
Perhaps the most complete overview of the different media in and additions to the chapel is Louis Grodecki's guide La Sainte-Chapelle, 3rd ed. (Paris: Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, 1979).
9.
For example, see Alfred Gell, Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998).
10.
Bill Brown, “Thing Theory,” Critical Inquiry 28, no. 1 (2001), 4.
11.
Arjun Appadurai, ed., The Social Life of Things: Commodities in Cultural Perspective (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986).
12.
Another interesting but less detailed view of this is in an anonymous drawing titled Incendie du Palais de la Cité 10–11 Janvier 1776, located in the Musée Carnavalet (reference no. D02997) and published in Mary Whiteley, “Deux escaliers royaux du XIVe siècle: Les ‘grandes degrez' du Palais de la Cité et la ‘grande viz’ du Louvre,” Bulletin Monumental 147, no. 2 (1989), 133–54. The drawing also appears in color in Delhumeau, Palais de la Cité, 98.
13.
It was recorded in 1311 that the lay wardens of Notre-Dame lived there. Specifically, Notre-Dame's wardens were responsible for the care of the bells and their ringing, keeping the hours and service of the church day and night; for keeping the church orderly, lighting and blowing out the candles, keeping the altar safe in the choir and wherever else altars may be; and for the processions and other things related to the service of the church, as detailed in the statutes of the lay wardens of Notre-Dame, written between 1311 and 1316. See Alexandre Vidier, “Les marguilliers laïcs de Notre-Dame de Paris, 1204–1790,” Mémoires de la Société de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 40 (1913), 336. In the Carolingian period, the warden of Notre-Dame slept in the church. Ibid., 120. Vidier reproduces the text of the statutes in the pièces justificatives; the following is an excerpt from one statute: “Celle partie qui est dicte presbitère ou chevesserie, et en toutes et un chascune les choses qui appartiennent à la sonnerie, heures, et service de ladicte église, tant de jour que de nuit, à ordener icelle église, au luminaire alumer et estaindre et à ce qui appartient à l'autel, et à garder le cuer et aussi à tous offices ou services d'icelle église quelque part que ce soit, et aussi dehors l'église es processions et es autres choses touchans le service ou office de ladicte église.” Ibid., 336.
14.
This documentation includes the official foundations of 1246 and 1248 for the Sainte-Chapelle, discussed below.
15.
These French toponyms were developed during the modern history of the palace, and I employ them here to avoid confusion. I use the French names for these structures because English equivalents for them are not in common usage.
16.
Although a civic building had been extant since the fourth century, the Capetians were mostly itinerant and did not make use of it. It was not until King Philip Augustus lost his treasury in 1194 in an ambush by the English king at Fréteval that he established a permanent residence for his royal archives in the Palais de la Cité; this is usually accepted as the first instance of its development into the royal administrative center it became. For a very thorough history of this site, see Jean Guerout, “Le Palais de la Cité à Paris des origines à 1417: Éssai topographique et archéologique,” Mémoires de la Fédération des Sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 1 (1949), 57–212; 2 (1950), 21–204; 3 (1951), 7–101. On the amount of time the kings spent in the Palais de la Cité, see Olivier Guyotjeannin, “Résidences et palais des premiers Capétiens en Île-de-France,” in Vincennes, aux origines de l'état moderne: Actes du colloque scientifique sur les Capétiens et Vincennes au Moyen Âge, ed. Jean Chapelot and Élisabeth Lalou (Paris: Presses de l'École Normale Supérieure, 1996), 123–36.
17.
For another interpretation of the palace under Philip the Fair, see Michael T. Davis, “Désespoir, Espérance, and Douce France: The New Palace, Paris, and the Royal State,” in Fauvel Studies: Allegory, Chronicle, Music, and Image in Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, MS Français 146, ed. Margaret Bent and Andrew Wathey (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 187–213.
18.
I would like to thank Tim Tatton-Brown for sharing his expertise on stone types and carving with me on-site, and for his assistance in measuring the portals with me on 9 August 2014. I am also grateful to the Centre des Monuments Nationaux and in particular Béatrice Rehl for granting me access to the upper chapel lateral portal. My thanks also to Christophe Bottineau, architecte en chef des monuments historiques, for providing me with a copy of the upper chapel lateral portal's photogrammetry.
19.
At the same time, the lateral portals have sustained some restoration. Although insertions correcting broken capitals are apparent on both portals, no documentation about this exists in the archives of the nineteenth-century restoration. Moreover, the papers from that campaign do not list the portals as a part of the Sainte-Chapelle, like the Oratory of Saint Louis, the reliquary tribune, or the passage to the Trésor des Chartes. Yet the lower chapel lateral door space is represented in an attachement submitted by Boeswillwald in 1858, which highlights in blue wash the replacements planned for the interior lower chapel walls. Thus restorers knew of the lateral portals, but they did not document them. In addition, the 1856 edition of the Encyclopédie d'architecture, an architectural journal that also followed the restoration of the Sainte-Chapelle, illustrated the lower chapel lateral portal, although the drawings do not represent it accurately and the text does not discuss them. See Victor Calliat and Adolphe Lance, eds., Encyclopédie d'architecture (Paris: Bance, 1856), 6:54, 6:107. This is a correction of an earlier assessment of these drawings as having a provenance from within the restoration workshop itself; see Cohen, Sainte-Chapelle, 80.
20.
The buildings that harbored these other portals are no longer extant. However, the magnificent portal from the Lady Chapel at Saint-Germain-des-Prés and a large fragment of the portal of Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois are in the collection of the Musée National du Moyen-Âge—Thermes de Cluny. The portal from Saint-Pierre-aux-Boeufs was moved to Saint-Séverin in Paris.
21.
The Terrier du Roi identifies the building as the “Maison appartenante a Mssrs de la Sainte-Chapelle, à l'audiance [sic]” (House belonging to the Masters of the Sainte-Chapelle, (next) to the Audience). On the Terrier du Roi, see Ghislain Brunel, Olivier Guyotjeannin, and Jean-Marc Moriceau, eds., Terriers et plans-terriers du XIIIe au XVIIIe siècle: Actes du colloque de Paris (23–25 septembre, 1998) (Rennes: Association d'Histoire des Sociétés Rurales/Paris: École Nationale des Chartes, 2002). The drawing from 1783 is located in Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BnF) Estampes Ve 84 fols. 1–2. It is not signed but was probably penned by one of the king's architects—Pierre Desmaisons, Joseph-Abel Couture, Pierre-Louis Moreau-Desproux, or Jacques-Denis Antoine—who were tasked with reconstructing the palace after the fire of 1776. On their transformations to the palace, see Delhumeau, Palais de la Cité, 98–124.
22.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité.”
23.
On the location of the Audience du Sceau, see ibid., 1:179, 2:45, 2:184–87. On the history of this function/office, see Georges Tessier, “L'audience du sceau,” Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes 109 (1951), 51–95. Tessier believed that this office did not exist prior to the fourteenth century.
24.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 1:179.
25.
The first official royal ordinances on parchment did not appear with the royal seal (a new diplomatic practice) until 1261, suggesting that the Audience du Sceau may have been formalized around that time. This date is more than a decade after the chapel's completion, and more than two decades after construction began on the Sainte-Chapelle. See Yann Potin and Olivier Guyotjeannin, “La fabrique de la perpetuité: Le Trésor des Chartes et les archives du royaume (XIIIe–XIXe siecle),” Revue de Synthèse, 5th ser., 125 (2004), 15–44.
26.
In English, the account reads: “Accounts from our Lord Odo, the Master Chaplain: for obtaining parchment; for the salary of the workers of wax, incense, wicks, candelabra, for the whole year; for obtaining cloths; for repairing the angel of the cross; for coal, for the chapel; for oil, for all; for the bell cords and hanging rings; for 320 parchment scrapers in sets of twelve; for the pittance of the Dominicans on the Day of the Holy Crown; for the pittance of the Franciscans on the Day of the Relics; for repairing the censers, for cleaning the chapel, and making three albs, total: 160 livres, 49 sous, 3 deniers. Dispensed by the Temple.” My translation; unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own. The account in Latin appears in Alexandre Vidier, “Notes et documents sur le personnel, les biens et l'administration de la Sainte-Chapelle du XIIIe au XVe siècles,” Mémoires de la Société de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 28 (1901), 329. Similar items were listed in the accounts through 1318.
27.
The accounts from 1318 mention that reparations were made to the house of the Audience and where letters are written within the cloister of the Sainte-Chapelle. See Vidier, “Notes et documents,” 340. A parchment house is first mentioned as attached to the wall of the Trésor des Chartes in 1639. Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” citing Archives Nationales (AN) Q1 1320. The Terrier du Roi from 1700 also placed the parchment house in this location.
28.
Morand, Sainte-Chapelle, 107–8.
29.
Cohen, Sainte-Chapelle, 216–19: “We wish, we establish, and we ordain, that in that chapel there should be five principal presbyters, or chaplains, including that one who used to hold the benefice of the old chapel, and two wardens…. Also the light of the chapel, that is, three wax candles burning continuously night and day in silver candlesticks before the sanctuaries and the altar, of which each will weigh at least three pounds; and the other light as we have ordained it, we want to be made … from the aforesaid revenues and offerings, with the addition of sixty solidi of the annual rent…. From these revenues and offerings we want the windows of the aforesaid chapel to be remade and repaired whenever there will be need, and to be kept in a good state…. In addition, we wish and ordain that each of the aforesaid five principal chaplains when he will do duty, in his turn, each night should sleep with the wardens in the aforesaid chapel, in order that a guard might keep watch continually over the holy relics” (emphasis added).
30.
Ibid., 225–26.
31.
As early as 1241, six offices associated with the king's household had been formally established: the Chamber (La Chambre), whose titleholder and valets prepared the king's bedroom; the Stable (L'Écurie), he who managed the horses and stables; the Bakery (La Paneterie), comprising those who provided bread, cheese, and pastries, as well as management of the menu and the decoration of the king's table; the Fruit (Le Fruiterie), he who provided dried fruits and nuts; the Kitchen (La Cuisine), which included those who provided and prepared food other than bread, pastries, and fruit; and the Bartenders (L'Échansonnerie), which consisted of those who sourced, kept, and served wine, beer, and water. These offices included people who were close to the king (such as the chamberlains) or who were essential to the royal household, such as the kitchen chefs and the stabler. Some of these offices were highly developed, comprising bodies of people in their charges, such as the Kitchen, in which the hunter was different from the person who sourced birds, and he who provided fish, and the person who specialized in making paté. In addition to these primary offices, there were many secondary offices, including those involving accountants, bread and wine sommeliers, cellarers, clerks, doormen, guards, valets, ushers, washers, transporters, dressmakers, and shoemakers. See the comprehensive and fascinating study by Jean-François Moufflet, “Autour de l'hôtel de Saint Louis (1226–1270): Le cadre, les hommes, les itinéraires d'un pouvoir” (thesis, École Nationale des Chartes, 2007).
32.
Élisabeth Lalou, “Le fonctionnement de l'hôtel du roi du milieu du XIIIe au milieu du XIVe siècle,” in Chapelot and Lalou, Vincennes, 147–53, cited in Moufflet, “Autour de l'Hôtel,” 51.
33.
Early in the century, Philip Augustus had a house built at the Paris residence for his bartenders. This was the office of the Échansonnerie. Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 1:150n4. By 1271, at Vincennes, for example, the king's chamberlains, as well as chefs, larderers, bartenders, cellarers, chandlers, stable hands, and furriers all had residences within the palace complex. By 1296, those with known, documented rights to rooms within the palace also included the palace manager (the maître d'hôtel), the household accountants, and, importantly for this study, the chaplains, the confessor, and the almoners. Ibid., 1:181–82.
34.
Ibid., 2:49.
35.
Ibid., 2:113n2, cites Jules Viard, “Gages des officiers royaux vers 1329,” Bibliothèque de l'École des Chartes 51 (1890), 242.
36.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:115, 2:117, cites Journal du Trésor de Charles le Bel, no. 974; and Viard, “Gages,” 241.
37.
Workshops and vendors were there by 1316. Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:91n1, cites Geoffroi de Paris, Chronique rimée, verse 7800, in Recueil des historiens des Gaules et de la France, vol. 22, ed. Natalis de Wailly and Léopold Delisle (Paris: Victor Palmé, 1865), 164. See also Henri Stein, Le Palais de justice et la Sainte-Chapelle de Paris (Paris: Longuet, 1912), 11.
38.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:51. On the right of the chaplains to live in the palace, see also Vidier, “Notes et documents,” 229. Some royal chaplains traveled with the king regularly, while others, such as those assigned to the Sainte-Chapelle, were placed at a single location. See also Robert Branner, “The Sainte-Chapelle and the Capella Regis in the Thirteenth Century,” Gesta 10, no. 1 (1971), 19–22.
39.
For translations of the foundations, see Cohen, Sainte-Chapelle, 213–16, 225–26.
40.
“Jurabunt autem praedicti principales capellani, necnon et matricularii tàm praesentes quàm futuri, quòd in praedicta capellâ continuam facient residentiam bonâ fide.” Cohen, Sainte-Chapelle, 215–16, 219.
41.
In Mediae latinitatis lexicon minus, comp. J. F. Niemayer (Leiden: Brill, 1976), residentia is defined as “stay, abode, settled place of residence”; Glossarium mediae et infimae latinitatis, comp. [Charles du Fresne] du Cange et al. (Niort: L. Fabre, 1883–87), http://ducange.enc.sorbonne.fr (accessed 25 Nov. 2015), elaborates on the mainly locational use of the term.
42.
The Old French text reads: “Et si ont suffisantz mesons (des queles trois) li benoiez rois Lois fist faire delez la dite chapele.” Guillaume de St. Pathus, Vie de Saint Louis, ed. Henri-François Delaborde (Paris, 1899), 42.
43.
The Old French text reads: “Grant plenté des freres qui gisoient en une meson delez le pales le Roi.” Ibid.
44.
Vidier, “Notes et documents,” 221–35. First, Philip IV, the Fair (r. 1284–1305), enlarged the group from five to seven principal chaplains, along with a separate treasurer, making a sum of at least twenty-three chapel personnel. The treasurer had formerly been one of the five principal chaplains. Then in 1318, Philip V, the Tall (r. 1316–22), augmented the total number to twenty-eight by adding five more principal chaplains. From 1318, all the chaplains were referred to as canons, but I shall continue to refer to them as chaplains throughout this article to avoid confusion. To this group of principal chaplains, a second group, known as perpetual chaplains, was subsequently added; these chaplains were assigned to specific altars within the chapel. The first altar was established in 1271 by Philip III, the Bold (r. 1270–85), and by 1339, six perpetual chaplains serviced altars dedicated to Saint Louis, Saint Clement, Saint Blaise, Saint Nicolas, Saint John the Evangelist, and Saint Venant, making a total of thirty-four.
45.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:169.
46.
A house for the chaplain who took on the role of chanter was under construction in 1325. Journal du Trésor de Charles le Bel, no. 8381, cited in Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:46n4. In 1323, Jean de Lille, the farmer of the royal forest in the Andelys, received 60 livres, 5 sous, 4 deniers for the materials to make the houses destined for the royal chaplains (not those of the Sainte-Chapelle, but those who traveled with the king). Journal du Trésor de Charles le Bel, no. 1833, cited in Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:49n10.
47.
This was the perpetual chaplain of Saint Venant; the house may have been completed as early as 1339. See Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:51, 2:113n5, 2:194–95. The house had a garden, and it was identified later as near the garden of the sixth canon of the Sainte-Chapelle. Ibid., 2:113n6.
48.
Artus d'Aunoy was the sixth principal chaplain. His first location was by the Grand'Salle; see ibid., 2:193. For the southern location after 1488, ibid., 2:196.
49.
Account of Guy de Laon, dated 1315. See Vidier, “Notes et documents,” 336. For additional history on this house, see Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:189–90.
50.
Aubri was the fourth principal chaplain; the other was the tenth principal chaplain. Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:50–51n1, cites AN KK2 fol. 195v.
51.
The chaplains living on the northeastern side of the palace were those for the altars of the Virgin, Saint Michael, and Saint Louis (in the lower chapel). Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:46n3, cites AN JJ 56 95 fol. 36.
52.
This was the sixth principal chaplain of the Sainte-Chapelle. Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:84–85n1, cites Michel Brenet, Les musiciens de la Sainte-Chapelle (Paris: Picard, 1910), 41. The southern gate was created in the reconstruction by Philip the Fair.
53.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:190n5, cites Gilles Donglois, Memoires pour server à l'histoire de la Sainte-Chapelle, AN LL 630, passim.
54.
Although it is impossible to say exactly when the Chevesserie was built, it is possible that a structure in this location serving as clerical residence predated the Sainte-Chapelle. The foundation documents explain that Matthew, chaplain of the old chapel of Saint-Nicolas, was to give up the benefits of his previous residence in order to assume the new position of master chaplain of the Sainte-Chapelle. If he lived in the space next to the Sainte-Chapelle/old Saint-Nicolas chapel initially, and not the wardens, they could have moved into the Chevesserie when those clerical residences to the south were complete in the thirteenth century. Another possible date is 1315, when a house was built next to the chapel of Saint Michel specifically for the treasurer, which became the official title for the master chaplain. It is also possible the wardens did not move into the Chevesserie until 1500, when the treasurer requested that the responsibility of this office be passed to someone else, at which time the wardens probably took on its management.
55.
By the eighteenth century, the building had been extended a number of times on the ground level to the north and the east.
56.
Interestingly, room number 4 on the ground level is identified with a certain Mr. Jourdan, wine merchant. It is possible that Mr. Jourdan provided wine for the chapel's services, and the proximity of this service to the chapel reinforces that these spaces were reserved for services useful to the Chevesserie.
57.
Tisset's signature as chefcier appears on multiple documents in AN O1 607. In that carton, the earliest signature is found on no. 268 (1760) and the latest on no. 283 (1783), after which time Adrien François Thomas took over the position. Suppression of the Sainte-Chapelle was a long process that culminated with laws closing the chapel, first by the king, on 11 March 1787, and then definitively with the decree of the National Assembly on 4 November 1789, followed by the law that subordinated clergy to the French government, the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, on 12 July 1790. Liquidation records of the chapel date to 22 November 1790, AN S 943a.
58.
AN S 943A (contents of carton not numbered).
59.
AN S 946-7.
60.
AN Z1f 1070. The whole passage reads: “La demeure de l'abbé Paris, qui confine d'une part au Trésor, communiqué d'autre part à la nef même de la Sainte-Chapelle par une porte en bois de chène ouvrant à deux vantaux, à gauche de la cour du Mai.”
61.
The documents I examined concerning the construction of the Galerie de la Sainte-Chapelle are in AN Z1f 1070.
62.
While a restoration of the upper chapel lateral portal appears to have been begun, with the replacement of the en délit shafts and the insertion of stones for new capitals (at the very least, the blocked-out capital), it was abandoned, possibly when Tisset moved to a different site in 1783.
63.
While there has been great interest in the contents of the Trésor des Chartes, very little research has been done on the structure of the Trésor. A recent master's thesis describes some of the possibilities for this structure; see Rachel D. Weiss, “Learning from Loss: Digitally Reconstructing the Trésor des Chartes of the Sainte-Chapelle” (master's thesis, University of California, Los Angeles, 2016). See also Yann Potin, “Archives en sacristie: Le trésor est-il un batiment d'archives? Le cas du ‘Trésor des Chartes’ des rois de France (XIIIe–XIXe siècle),” Livraisons d'histoire de l'architecture et des arts que s'y rattachent, no. 10 (2005), 65–85; Potin and Guyotjeannin, “La fabrique de la perpetuité”; Henri-François Delaborde, “Étude sur la constitution du Trésor des Chartes et les origines de la série des sacs dite aujourd'hui ‘Supplément' du Trésor des Chartes,” in Layettes du Trésor des Chartes, vol. 5 (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1909), 1–221.
64.
Dimensions cited in “Mémoire tendant à démontrer la nécessité de démolir le bâtiment des sacristies de la Sainte-Chapelle haute et basse, par Pierre Desmaisons, architecte du roi, 4 décembre 1781,” AN S 946-7. Height estimated by Potin, “Archives en sacristie,” 72.
65.
On the southern staircase, see Cohen, Sainte-Chapelle, chap. 4 and plates XV, 4.2, and 4.3.
66.
See note 54 above.
67.
The name Trésor des Chartes was employed for the first time only in 1330. Potin, “Archives en sacristie,” 76–77, cites AN X 1a 8602 fo 14. Royal act of 1334, vidime in 1345.
68.
Apparently, this is where on 6 January 1378 the Bohemian Holy Roman emperor Charles IV rested while the French king allowed Charles's people to kiss the relics: “Et pour ce que la chose fu longe, se retrat l'Empereur en un retrait d'en costé de ladite Sainte-Chapelle, où gisent les clercs maregliers et gardes d'icelle, lequel retrait le Roy avoit fait bien et honorablement appareiller pour reposer l'Empereur.” Chronique des règnes de Jean II et Charles V, 2:235, cited in Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:182–83.
69.
Vidier, “Notes et documents,” 376–77.
70.
Potin sees in the chapel's 1246 foundation documents a reference to the existence of the Trésor, but no structure is mentioned. Potin, “Archives en sacristie,” 75. However, Geoffrey of Beaulieu wrote that when the king returned from the Holy Land in 1254, he decided to put his archives and a library in a building by the chapel (the name Trésor was employed later; see note 67 above). This would suggest a later date for the archives and library that formed the Trésor des Chartes, not necessarily the entire building. The first document that refers to an archive within the building bears the date of 1272. Ibid., citing AN J317 no. 17: “Breve memoriale de litteris Domini Regis ou Memoriale de scriptis provincie Narbonensis que sunt in theasuaro Domini regis, utilibus ad utendum in presenti.”
71.
Henri-François Delaborde, “Les bâtiments successivement occupés par le Trésor des Chartes,” Mémoires de la Société de l'histoire de Paris et de l'Île-de-France 29 (1902), 160–66, AN S 946-7, cites the deliberations from the last chapter meeting of the Sainte-Chapelle in 1782: “La tourelle montante aux archives de la Couronne paraît intimement engagée et liée pierre à pierre avec le pilier buttant [de la SC]; auquel cas les pierres seront sciées pour ne causer aucun ébranlement.” A curious unpublished drawing by Félix Duban seems to show such a turret base corbeled onto one of the buttresses of the Sainte-Chapelle: “Passage of the Old Sacristy,” 1848, MAP 0082/075-01/1013, no. 21.635.
72.
Originally it was known as the Grande Allée; the name Galerie des Merciers has been employed only since the fourteenth century. Delhumeau, Palais de la Cité, 42. On the early Galerie des Merciers, see Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 1:128 (Robert the Pious) and 1:172 (Louis IX).
73.
On the Grands Degrés, see Whiteley, “Deux escaliers royaux”; Davis, “Désespoir, Espérance, and Douce France,” 197. On the documents related to Philip the Fair's contribution to the Grands Degrés, see Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:38–39, 2:67, 2:87. It is possible that Philip also added a vaulted canopy above the staircase, but the iconographic evidence is equivocal.
74.
Delhumeau has also come to this conclusion. See Delhumeau, Palais de la Cité, 42.
75.
See note 54 above.
76.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 1:172.
77.
Ibid. Guerout relies on an image in the Très Riches Heures and a nineteenth-century engraving “after nature” by Felix Thorigny. Delhumeau, Palais de la Cité, 48, accepts Guerout's assessments on this structure. Other buildings were constructed in this location under Philip the Fair. See Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 2:32; Delhumeau, Palais de la Cité, 48.
78.
The reliquary tribune of the Sainte-Chapelle may have been built at this time; see Cohen, Sainte-Chapelle, 159, 256n83.
79.
On the reconstruction of the east end of the Île de la Cité, see Alain Erlande-Brandenburg, Notre-Dame de Paris (Paris: Éditions Nathan/CNMHS, 1991), 39–63.
80.
Guerout, “Palais de la Cité,” 1:120, 1:150.
81.
On Philip's architectural quotations of Louis IX's monuments, see Michael T. Davis, “Splendor and Peril: The Cathedral of Paris, 1290–1350,” Art Bulletin 80, no. 1 (1998), 34–65.
82.
An entire session was dedicated to this subject at the Fiftieth Congress on Medieval Studies at the University of Michigan at Kalamazoo in 2014. Even the more focused publications of building geometry of specific structures have shown that the largest buildings were inserted into greater urban topographies; see, for example, Michael T. Davis and Linda Elaine Neagley, “Mechanics and Meaning: Plan Design at Saint-Urbain, Troyes and Saint-Ouen, Rouen,” Gesta 39, no. 2 (2000), 161–82. See also Emanuele Lugli, “Squarely Built: An Inquiry into the Sources of Ad Quadratum Geometry in Lombard Architecture between the Eleventh and the Twelfth Centuries,” in Space in the Medieval West: Places, Territories, and Imagined Geographies, ed. Meredith Cohen and Fanny Madeline (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2014), 21–36.
83.
Notre-Dame de Laon is one example. Notre-Dame of Paris also held a separate baptistery, cloister, and hospital within its realm, very close to the church building.