‘Altoos met ijver geteekent en bewaart’. Architectuurtekeningen van Matthias Soiron (1748-1834) als historische bron
Two years before his death the Maastricht master joiner and -mason Matthias Soiron collected all the draft drawings he had made during his life and had them bound in 26 albums. Two-thirds of them have been preserved. This source provides an insight into the work of Soiron and the drawing practice in general, but also in our possibilities to understand architecture drawings.
To what extent was the production of drawings of Soiron unique or, on the contrary, typical? What conclusions can and may be drawn from them about the eighteenth-century architecture- and drawing practice in general? In this article an attempt is made to answer these questions by sketching Soiron's practice and analysing the preserved albums of drawings and his own explanation of them.
The master mason and -joiner Soiron descended from a family of master builders who had come to Maastricht from the environs of Liège in the early eighteenth century. His drawings show the diversity of his practice and interests. Among his commissioners were citizens, the nobility, the clergy, church institutions and authorities from Maastricht and surroundings.
The albums of drawings of Soiron contain the sketches and copies of beautiful works and of his own designs which he initially made for himself. Provisionally he explains the background and intention of the drawings. The techniques and materials of his drawings in combination with the types of drawings are highly varied. Consequently, it appears to be impossible to establish the background and purpose of a drawing on the basis of formal characteristics.
For a proper understanding, explanations in text or material for comparison are indispensable. In his practice Soiron was influenced by local examples of beautiful or technically special work. The great architects and buildings in the province of Holland prove to have been of no significance to him. International architecture theories or fashions presented starting points but not straitjackets.