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Richard Longstreth

Urban plan for the newly created seat of the US Federal government, Washington, DC, designed by Pierre-Charles L’Enfant at the request of George Washington in 1791–2, which was audacious in its size, scope and purpose. Building a new federal city stemmed from the president’s realization that choosing any established center would fuel the fractious relations that existed between the states. Locating the city midway along the Atlantic seaboard was also a political balancing act, but, equally important, the site lay further west than any potential seaport. The site also seemed to afford the easiest access to Ohio River Valley. Washington envisioned a great city, like Paris, that would be the cultural and business, as well as the governmental, center—the prime launching point for settlement of the Trans-Appalachian frontier.

Raised at the French court, where his father was a painter, L’Enfant trained at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris. He left to join the Continental Army in America in ...

Article

Canadian family of artists, of French origin. Jean Levasseur (1622–86) and his brother Pierre Levasseur (1629–c. 1681) trained in France as master joiners, before settling in Quebec. From the mid-17th century they and their numerous descendants executed ornamental interiors for civil and ecclesiastical buildings, greatly contributing to the richness of French-influenced architectural decoration in churches throughout Quebec. Records in public archives show contracts and receipts for major new projects, repairs, restoration, statues, crucifixes, candlesticks, coats of arms and boat-carving undertaken by family members, many of whom remain unidentified. The most notable member of the family was the architectural sculptor Noël Levasseur (1680–1740), who worked with his two sons François-Noël Levasseur (1703–94) and Jean-Baptiste-Antoine Levasseur (1717–75), also both sculptors, and with his brother Pierre Levasseur (1684–1744), who was a master joiner. Noël Levasseur is credited with introducing the open-balustraded ...