The Leonardo 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
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
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'.