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Boisserée, Sulpiz Melchior Dominicus

Boisserée, Sulpiz Melchior Dominicus (1783–1854). Cologne-born scholar of medieval architecture. In 1808 he began to measure Cologne Cathedral, and in 1813 submitted the results of his survey to Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia (1795–1861— King Friedrich Wilhelm IV (from 1840)), whose influence promoted the proposals to complete the building, starting with the restoration of the medieval fabric in 1823, following a detailed report by Schinkel. Boisserée's Domwerk (Cathedral Work) appeared from 1821, showing seductive views of the interior and exterior of Cologne Cathedral as it would look when finished. Sulpiz, his brother Melchior Hermann Josef Georg (1786–1851), and Georg Moller found medieval drawings of the building on which he based his proposals, and he himself carried out valuable research into the medieval masons who were responsible for the original designs. In 1833 the architect Ernst Zwirner was appointed to oversee the works as Dombaumeister (Cathedral Architect). Boisserée published Geschichte Beschreibung des Doms von Köln (Historical and Description of Cologne Cathedral—1823–32) with a text in German and French, as well as sundry works on aspects of medieval architecture, including a paper on the account of the Temple of the Holy Grail: this was an important monograph on medieval architecture, and its influence spread far beyond the boundaries of Germany. When Friedrich Wilhelm became King in 1840, he gave orders that Cologne Cathedral should be completed, and this was accomplished later in C19. Boisserée was an important figure in the history of the Gothic and Romanesque Revivals.


Berliner Museen, lii (1931), 39–45;
Boisserée (1833);
Borger (ed.) (1980);
Germann (1972);
W–R-J, ix (1936), 181–204

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