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Balat, Alphonse-Hubert-François

Balat, Alphonse-Hubert-François (1818–95). Belgian architect. In 1852 he became architect to the Duke of Brabant (the future King Leopold II (reigned 1865–1909) ), which gave him enormous clout. Although influenced by Viollet-le-Duc in his search for a rational approach to design and for ever-increasing simplicity, he drew on the immense vocabulary of Classicism whilst also experimenting with advances in engineering, which influenced his pupil Horta and other later exponents of Art Nouveau. His Classicism struck the right note with the Belgian nobility, who commissioned him to carry out numerous works (e.g. the van Assche Palace, Wetenschapsstraat, Brussels (1856–8—with its Italianate astylar façade) ). His best works were the Royal commissions, including the Riding-School and Winter-Garden (1873–4) and the celebrated glass-houses (1883–7) at Laeken, and the grand stair and several State Rooms (e.g. Throne-Room, Marble Hall, Grand Gallery) as well as the garden elevation of the Royal Palace, Brussels. His masterpiece is reckoned to be the Neo-Classical Palais des Beaux-Arts (now the Musée d'Art Ancien), Brussels (1875–88).

Bibliography

Loo (ed.) (2003);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Petra Maclot ;
Jane Turner (1996)

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Leopold I

Leopold I (1790–1865) First King of independent Belgium (1831–65). Son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfield, he became a British subject after marrying the daughter of the future King George IV (1816). He refused the throne of Greece in 1830, but accepted that of Belgium after it declared its independence from the Netherlands. He was an important influence on the young Queen Victoria, his niece, and was largely responsible for her marriage to Prince Albert.

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Dukes, Leopold

Leopold Dukes, 1810–91, Hungarian Hebrew scholar. He made a collection of rabbinical proverbs and wrote on the history of Jewish literature, notably of Hebrew poetry in the Middle Ages. He also translated into German Rashi's commentary on the Pentateuch.

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