The very last is a video, shot in French, of some Compagnons building a Guitarde.
51 Rue de la Gare
The two balconies on the left and right are “capucines” and the central balcony, a guitarde. The letter M adorns the center of each assembly while an MD monogram adorns the middle, with a star or sun. The house was that of Mr. Mardelle, a carpenter who had married the lady Ms. Dugas, hence the letters. Some say he was a Compagnon du Devoir.
Photographs by Laurent Bastard
source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2010/10/30/mardelle-charpentier-balcons-perrusson
As with any piece wanting to be constructed, one must always start with the drawing.
"A guitarde is a type of dormer where it can be circular or elliptical on plan view. Although it can also take on a square or rectangular plan view. It takes its name from the assembly of curved timbers called "guitarde ties”. Dormers on a square or rectangular plan are often referred to as "capucine" but the term "guitarde" is also used when the carpenter uses "pincer links". The complexity of the assemblies, but also their aesthetic, has created real masterpieces in both Compagnon Carpenter rites, and even among the independent groups in the nineteenth century up until the 1950’s. A survey by Christian Chenault on six departments in the Centre region of France has identified over three hundred guitardes." ( Le Compagnonnage, chemin de l' excellence . ATP Editions Musées Nationaux - 1995)
source - http://imagesdouvrages.free.fr/comp_guitardesaccueil.htm
A guitarde is a Compagnonnique type dormer. They show the skill of the carpenter by bringing together most difficulties of his job and his knowledge of Trait learned on the Tour-de-France.
This is a “capucine”(square on plan) and a guitarde (circular on plan). The latter, covered with a zinc dome has wooden letters built into it. It reads: SIC (heart-shaped pattern) HO N. SICHON - being the last name of the carpenter who built it. These dormers are well preserved by the current owners of the house and reflect the expertise of Andre, the carpenter. Photos by – Mr. Brix Pivard Source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2014/09/30/lucarnes-de-charpentier-a-chartres
Guitardes were, at one time, a sign used to signal any traveling journeyman (of the same rite or faction) that the building with the guitarde is of an elder Compagnon. An elder is a Compagnon that is done the Tour-de-France and trains the younger journeyman. Most often, the elder owns a shop and employs journeyman that are on their Tour-de-France.
The largest of all guitardes in the world stands at 2.15 meters high and weighs more than 750 kg. It was built by the Compagnon Alain Audrerie, "Périgord la Maîtrise du Trait", and took him seven years, around 2500 hours. The construction started in 2005 with the help of three to four other Compagnons in the town of Brive. Some of the parts were constructed in Nimes and were assembled in his shop in Cenac. The guitarde is now installed in the town of Tarn in the South West of France. Source - http://www.sudouest.fr/2012/05/05/sept-ans-de-travail-et-un-chef-d-oeuvre-706253-1776.php
This next guitarde is located at 16 rue des Quatre Huyes, Vendôme (Loir-et-Cher). Photograph taken by Jean Beaubreuil. Although it is less known then the guitarde by Compagnon Fisseau, it still remains iconic.
And the last one, the more modest one.
Photograph by Laurent Bastard
source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2010/01/12/guitarde-compagnon-charpentier-cinqmarsl
This guitarde in Provins (Seine-et-Marne) is located at 14 Aristide-Briand Street. The construction, probably from the nineteenth century, is starting to feel the ravages of time. The work was carried out by a Compagnon carpenter, as indicated by the letter UVGT in the "pincer links." Source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2012/08/13/une-guitarde-de-compagnon-charpentier-a-provins-77
An ‘epure’ drawn by Pierre François Guillon from his Trait school in Romanèche Thorins in 1892 and presented to the Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans in October 2002.
“The guitarde is topped with a three peaked roof without a ridge; its construction is composed of a main truss establishing two king posts which follows the ramp of a cone”
source - http://imagesdouvrages.free.fr/trait24.htm
A skilled carpenter built this guitarde over one of the three dormer windows of a large nineteenth century building in Bordeaux (Gironde), 269, Boulevard Ornano.
72 Rue de la Gare
It proudly proclaims “Dieu Protégé Les Arts” - "God Save the Arts". Note the four letters of the Compagnon carpenters Soubise rite - UVGT. The letter V, absent in the photograph, but has since reappeared. Note also that the square and the compass around a starry hexagram or "Seal of Solomon", the symbol of which we too often forget that it is also very present and very important for the Soubise rite. source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2009/12/18/guitarde-compagnoncharpentier-vendome
Along the main street in the town of Cinq-Mars-la-Pile (Indre-et-Loire), we can see, raising our eyes, this beautiful guitarde. It was built in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century by a Compagnon carpenter, as evidenced by the four letters of Soubises (UVGT) at the corners. Note the "pincer links" that look like an X. A compass and bisaiguë completes this beautiful piece.
This guitarde is all in the more classical style. As it is topped by a piece called "five peaked imperial on a round tour". We can find the ‘epure’ in Louis Mazerolle’s book – Traite Theorique et Pratique de Charpente. Source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2012/03/29/une-elegante-guitarde-a-bordeaux-33
Now for those who still want more, here is a compilation of Guitardes from all across France.
This is the grand works of a Compagnon carpenter Mr. Pierre Bertrand, located at the corner of 49 rue des Beaumonts and Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Jean, Orleans. A sloping guitarde dormer in an imperial form with a twisted pinnacle on a circular base. Built in the first quarter of the 20th century, this in my opinion tops every one shown thus far. The more you look at it, the more you realize how complicated it is. Source - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Maison_%C3%A0_lucarnes,_Orl%C3%A9ans Source - http://www.monumentum.fr/maison-lucarnes-type-compagnonnique-pa45000003.html
A picture with the four Compagnons that helped Alain.
This next guitarde was built by Andre Sichon, born 25 March 1808, in the small town of Saint-Eliph, 40 kms of Chartres. At the age of 22 he married Rosalie Fourchet, aged 25, on the 9th September 1830. They lived together in this building located at 15 rue Saint-Brice, Chartres. The building was built in 1835 and therefore we can only assume that the guitardes were built during that time.
These next pictures are taken by Lionel Royer. This Guitarde is situated in Vendôme (Loir-et-Cher), 4 rue du Faubourg Saint-Lubin. This is a splendid guitarde with a complex top, decorated with the coat of arms of Compagnon carpenters and roofers on the sides. This guitarde is all the more remarkable in that it’s topped by a square pavilion on circular plan. This work is part of the teachings in the major treaties of the nineteenth century (Mazerolle, Delataille, Billon, ect…). This is the former home of the Compagnon carpenter Albert Fisseau, "Tourangeau l’Ami du Trait" he was also a M.O.F. (Meilleur Ouvrier de France). The building also served as his shop, which was later converted into apartments after his death. It now remains abandoned. There only remains the municipal information plaque commemorating who lived there. Source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2012/02/08/une-belle-guitarde-a-vendome-41
We cannot end this great moment without having the last show. These last monumental guitardes are found on three houses located at 12, 50-58, and 72 rue de la Gare, Paris, built in 1871, they have roofs adorned with complex dormers. Executed at the end of his life by the Compagnon Passant Charpentier du Devoir Bon Drille de Tour de France - Hippolyte Moreau, said Berry-la-Consciousness, carpentry contractor in Châteauroux (1822-1900). Built with the aid of his son-in-law, Armand Viraud, a public works contractor that worked on large sites in Chateauroux in the last decades of the 19th century. The work Hippolyte Moreau created on his family house on the rue de la Gare, reflect all fantasies and challenges of his trade, and condense, as a kind of testament, all his knowledge of Trait learned during the Tour-de-France. The building at 72, rue de la Gare was built in 1871. It is three floors above a basement. The facade has five bays regularly distributed on either side of the central span. The main interest lies in the carpentry work which rises above the roof, at the center span, on the front wall. The plan of this complex dormer that can be likened to a triple “capucines” a square tower with a pavilion roof which connects different roof shapes. On the work is inscribed symbolic letters of the Compagnon du Devoir: UVGT and the inscription "Honor to the Arts". The roof material is of slate. Source - http://imagesdouvrages.free.fr/guitardes_chateauroux.htm
This building (pictured above) is dated to 1852 and is adorned with the letters J and S. This is probably the initials of the carpenter, or those of the owner who had built this building in a neo-Gothic style. The building is now in one of the shopping streets in the city center of Chalon-sur-Saône.
Source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2010/01/14/guitardedouble-chalonsursaone
Crossing the small town of Perrusson, located 3 km south of Loches (Indre-et-Loire), we see these imposing three balconies built on the facade of a beautiful house.
12 Rue de la Gare
This carpentry work was done by the great-grandfather of J.P. Bouchasson (stonemason), Compagnon Carpenter Antoine Foucaud, born August 15, 1844 to a field of "Small Royalties". Antoine died in Veurdre, Allier, in 1936.
Source - http://compagnonnage.info/blog/blogs/blog1.php/2009/12/10/guitarde-capucine-compagnoncharpentier-l
Guitardes are scattered all across France. Most of which will never get the attention they deserve. They can be very inconspicuous and simply because of their nature, a dormer, they can be high up in the sky.