Eugène Viollet-le-Duc (1814–1879), Two sketches from Vézelay, from an album of pencil drawings, 1850. Pencil on paper, 210 × 170 mm.
You, Sir, who have ceaselessly lived the life of the past, you understand the joy, the secret happiness felt when we can record in our sketchbook some of these forgotten [historical] treasures … but how much more interesting when these findings are made in our own country, when they are tied to our history, to our customs, to the habits of men who came before us. A nice portrait will always be a work that you can contemplate with pleasure, but how much more valuable does the work become when you learn the portrait is that of your grandparent.
— Viollet-Le-Duc in a letter to Mérimée written in 1843 from Vézelay