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The Leonardo Notebook - Pages 23 and 24

Image of Leonardo's Notebook - Pages 23 and 24
Copyright © The British Library Board

Left - Studies for the city of Romorantin f.270v.
Right - Rivers and the movement of water f.271

Towards the end of his life, Leonardo became 'first painter, engineer and architect' to Francis I, King of France. This sheet of architectural notes and plans, from about 1517-18, contains Leonardo's project for a complete new city, intended for the French king and his court. The city was to have been built near Romorantin, on either side of the river Saudre. Leonardo's notes also reveal his plan for encouraging the inhabitants of the nearby Villefranche to move to Romorantin with their wooden houses.

On the top right of the left page, a ground plan shows an urban complex of twin palaces and gardens placed at either side of the river, with a system of canals flowing round and through it. Beneath the ground plan is the note 'Let us have fountains on every piazza'.

On the right-hand page are further notes on rivers and the movement of water. The jotted household account and the two lines crossed out at the top (dated 1502) relating to a loan to Leonardo, are in the hand of Leonardo's pupil, Francesco Melzi.

At the top of this page is the crossed-through note with the date 1502 'On Monday the 13 of February, I lent 7 lire to Leonardo to spend'.

In the lower half on the left is a list of expenses (not in mirror writing) apparently in the hand of Leonardo's pupil, Francesco Melzi, giving payments for meat, bread, wine, fruit, straw and bran.

On the top right this rough sketch of the movement of water has the note 'When two rivers together intersect that will be of less depth which is of slower course'.

  < Pages 21 and 22  

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