Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/14

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [12S. X. JAN. 7, 1922. general reader that would probably be the j inference, supported as it is by local guide- ! books and popular belief. The statement j as it stands, however, is not even true his- j torically, for both squares took their present j (or pre-war) aspect in the latter half of the j seventeenth century, after the Spanish i domination had come to an end. Joanne (' Northern France,' 1914) has no mention of Spanish architecture at Arras, j and the ' Encyclopaedia Britannica ' ( 1 1 th ed. ) is also silent on the subject. The latter correctly states : The lofty houses which border the spacious squares known as the Grande and Petite Places are in the Flemish style. They are built with their upper storeys projecting over the footway and supported on columns so as to form arcades. Yet well-informed writers like M. Le Gentil (1877), M. Ardouin-Dumazet (1898), the Abbe Drimille (1913), and M. Andre de Poncheville (1920) have repeated and so perpetuated the common belief that these purely Flemish buildings are in the Spanish, or Hispano-Flemish, style. M. Le Gentil, after speaking of the " en- semble sans exemple " of the two squares, goes on to say : Les Flandres en effet ainsi que 1'Espagne n'ont conserve rien qui puisse lui etre compare. Toutes les maisons hispano-flamandes, de cet en- semble, avec leurs pignons droits d -^coupes . . . frappent d'etonnement et d'admiration qui- conque les voit pour la premiere fois (' Le vieil Arras,' p. 501). M. Ardoiun-Dumazet, in his ' Voyage en France/ speaks also of " les hautes maisons de style hispano-flamand " of the squares, and the Abbe Drimille, in his ' Guide his- torique et archeologique,' writes; Voici la Grand' Place et son musee de vieilles maisons hispano-flamandes. Elles forment un ensemble sans egal : ni les Flandres ni 1'Espagne n'ont rien de semblable (p. 31). The houses of the Petite Place also, he states, are built in the same style " le style hispano-flamand : presque toutes sont du XVIIe siecle." More surprising is it to find M. Andre de Poncheville endorsing the popular belief : Les places completaient 1'hotel de ville et son beffroi. Leurs maisons hispano-flamandes a pignons denteles avaient eu leur expression totale dans la Maison Commune (' Arras et 1'Artois devastes,' p. 93). This would almost seem to imply that the Hotel de Ville itself was Hispano- Flemish in style, and such a belief un- doubtedly exists though not finding definite . expression in the guide-books. The Hotel de Ville, it is true, was built between the years 1501 and 1517, and chronologically therefore might claim to be " Spanish." But the design of this " Gothic palace," as it is styled by M. Camille Enlart, was inspired by the Town Hall at St. Quentin and owed nothing to Spain. The upper part of the belfry,* which originally dated from 1551-73, was the work of an artist born near Bapaume. The later Renaissance wing (1572) was also from the design of a local man and was Flemish in character. What is known as the " Spanish domina- tion " in Arras is usually defined as the period 1493-1640. But from the time of Maximilian of Austria to the abdication of Charles V. in 1555 it would be more correct, perhaps, to speak of the Habs- burg or Austrian domination. Charles V., indeed, had in some respects more in common with the land of his birth than with his mother's country, Spain, and until his disappearance from the stage direct Spanish influence .in Artois and Flanders counted for very little. Even with the coming of Spanish statesmen and soldiers under Philip II. the domestic life of the ordinary citizen went on pretty much as before, and Spanish influence in Arras hardly extended to matters of art at any rate not to architecture. The Flemish tradition continued unimpaired throughout the reigns of the three Philips until the restoration of Arras to France, and well into the reign of Louis XIV. The period of the real Spanish domina- tion in Arras is thus reduced to something less than a century, for although the town ,was not definitely assigned to France till 1659, it had been in French possession since its capture in 1640 by the armies of Louis XIII. During the siege of that yea^, and again in 1654, when the Spaniards made an attempt to regain possession, the houses in both squares were badly damaged, a fact referred to by the well-informed writer of the ' Michelin Guide ' (1920) : The bombardments of 1640 and 1654 demolished or seriouslv damaged a large number of the houses. Their facades were rebuilt in stone, not, as is commonlv believed, in the Spanish, but in the Flemish, style (p. 30). But this rebuilding did not take place immediately. Down to this time most of the houses in both squares had been of

  • The belfrv was beerun in 1463, thirtv vears

before the *' Spanish domination," and finished in its original form in 1499.