Le Halle au Blé, Tours, France
Date Made/Found: about 1826
, British, 1784 - 1852
Charles Joseph Hullmandel
, British, 1789 - 1850
Material and Medium: lithograph on paper
Dimensions: Mount: 590 x 419mm
Support: 551 x 375mm
Accession Number: CGSG01691
This view, from Prout’s ‘Sketches in France, Switzerland and Italy (1839) has also been called ‘Ancient Church, now the Corn Hall, Tours’. It’s an example of a sight regularly seen in images of post-revolution France, where the new leadership suppressed religious orders, and many churches and religious buildings were put to secular use in order to boost both the local and national economy through commercialism.
The church shown here is St Clement in the city of Tours, which dated from the late 1400s. It was deconsecrated in about 1792 and sold to the state before becoming a corn exchange soon after. It was demolished in the late 1800s to create space for a new covered market.
This work is a typical subject choice for Prout, and Ruskin, who had admired his work since childhood praised him in the Art Journal for his ‘faithful and fond’ evidence of buildings and towns that were being spoiled by industry and modernisation.