Comte Walewski

Creator of the romantic reconstruction of the Growing City

Romantic Reconstruction by Comte Walewski
paper, water-colours, pencil, whitewash · 50 × 70 cm, unsigned
The Napoleonic wars swept the child of the Countess Walewski – thought by some scholars to have been the second son of Napoleon Bonaparte – to France. He was the fruit of the Emperor's sojourn in Finckenstein Castle.
As well as being a minister he is known as an amateur archaeologist and architect (perhaps influenced by his father's Egyptian collection. The intellect and plans of Voillet-Le-Duc left a strong mark upon him. He belonged to the intimate circle of Jean-Jacques Lequeu (basically he was his friend). Walewski distanced himself from his master's daring solutions, but the more minute details of his work practically imitate the interesting ideas of the elderly Lequeu.
At around this time the Growing City was hardly known of as an archaeological phenomenon, and so visual support for Walewski's plans came solely from legend-like accounts and makeshift itineraries by chance travellers. He was probably familiar with the watercolours painted in situ by John Maclean, and he may have read Bronsön's Jours parmi les fauves, a travelogue by no means devoid of exaggeration.
Throughout his life he virtually maniacally spent in preparation for the search for the Growing City, keeping his environment in constant agitation with his sudden preparations. His advancing years and perhaps subconscious fears of the perils of the journey always held him back from departure. His work is thus built upon nothing more than unfounded dreams related to the Growing City.