Barracks of the Swiss Guards – Les Cent Suisses – 18th Century Engraving

Perspective View – Barracks of the Swiss Guards

Title on Engraving: Vue Perspective de la grande Rue de S. Denis en France, et des nouvelles Casernes des Suisses.

This handcolored copperplate engraving dates to the late 18th Century (circa 1780 or 1790). It shows the barracks were the Swiss Guards who protected the French monarchy were housed.

The “100 Swiss” – Guards of the French Kings

The « Compagnie des Cent Hommes de guerre Suisses de la garde » was founded in 1613 and continued to serve the French monarchy until the Revolution.

The Swiss Guards were recruited in different cantons and served for a period of 4 t0 6 years. They were lodged in “casernes” or barracks around the Paris region. This image shows the casernes at St. Denis.

Dimensions: 19.5 X 13.5 cm

Not available – This piece was donated to a museum – please contact us if you are interested in other works related to the 100 Suisses

Late 18th & Early 19th Century

Perspective Views (Also: Optical print, vue perspective, vue d’optique or in German, Guckkastenblättern) were meant to be seen with a special viewer or Zograscope to enhance the three dimensional effect. They were very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were designed according to strict principles of linear perspective, with a distant object placed in the center of the print, as is the case with this example.

Viewed through a special “machine,” the three dimensional effect was enhanced. The colors of these wonderful old prints are often bright and naive, as for children’s illustrations. Traveling vendors — who went around to fairs offering views of the images through the Optical Machine for a few pennies — often did the handcoloring themselves, so it tends to be a bit rough compared with other period engravings. In our view this adds to the charm of these pieces!