Architecture Blois

The Scalloped Balcony – Le balcon à coquille

photo_36_scalloped-balconyThis balcony, with its scallop shell is on the front of Hotel d’Alluye at n° 8 rue Saint Honoré, in Blois, built by Florimond Robertet between 1498 and 1508, treasurer for three kings – Charles VIII, Louis XII and François Ier. The scallop shell symbolises the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain..
Ce balcon, avec sa coquille Saint Jacques, se trouve sur la façade de l’hôtel Alluye, au n° 8 rue Saint Honoré, à Blois, construit par Florimond Robertet entre 1498 et 1508, qui était le trésorier de trois rois : Charles VIII, Louis XII et François 1er. La coquille Saint Jacques symbolise le pèlerinage à Saint Jacques de Compostelle en Espagne.

3 replies on “The Scalloped Balcony – Le balcon à coquille”

I think the scallop shell motif is more complicated than just symbolising pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella. That’s what it means today, but I think in Renaissance times the meaning was much broader — pilgrimage in general, and a symbol of beauty (being associated with Venus, so not even Christian iconography). The one in your photo is being supported by some nice dolphins and I think is just meant as a general decorative sculpture in the fashion of the time. Of course, the fashion of the time was very fond of multiple meanings in images that the viewer was supposed to tease out, and the more meanings you could cram in to or interpret from an image the more of a smarty pants clever clogs you were.

Thank you for that explanation. I tried to find out more about scallop shells on another occasion because of one of the friezes on château de Blois.

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