The pensionnaires produced not only the envois but also preparatory drawings and many “personal” drawings, some of which represent, in a similar way, the same sub- jects. The opportunity to compare numerous albums, in particular thanks to several new digital archives, provide a broad overview of the phenomenon. It is possible to trace almost identical copies, sometimes to the point of complete uniformity of some travel portefeuilles. The phenomenon of “exchanges,” and the resulting copies, has been explained, in some cases, by the collaboration between the pensionnaires, who work together in the preparation of the envois. Yet is it possible to consider copying as a practice deter- mined purely by convention, even when referring to pri- vate drawings? First of all, how the drawings reproducing monuments and places were selected to be copied? Were the copies made by the apprentice architects in Paris before the trip, or only after arriving in Rome? Why the work was carried out with so much care and precision, when the private drawings were not intended to be displayed in public and were therefore not subject to any judgment? Starting from the analysis of the “private” drawings and travel notebooks of the French architects, who operated between the end of the First Empire and the beginning of the July Monarchy, the contribution answers these questions.
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