Une église, coupe longitudinale
Settling in Rheims after his training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he had studied under his father Pierre-Louis Gosset and Charles Questel, Alphonse Gosset designed most of the city's public buildings: the post and telegraph office, a hospice, an orphanage, churches, schools, hotels, theatre (drawing in the museum), villas, farms, and chateaus as well as the extraordinary buildings of the Pommery champagne firm in 1901.
This beautiful drawing testifies to Gosset's travels in the Orient and his research into religious and civil monuments which culminated in two publications, Anciennes églises et mosquées de Constantinople in 1887 and Les coupoles d'Orient et d'Occident in 1889. This project with its rich decoration against a gold background shows his familiarity with and taste for domed basilicas. The large central dome, resting on lower hanging domes, and all the walls are decorated in a way which accentuates the structure: star studded arches, saintly processions, large "primitive" figures against a gold background. Gosset gave a demonstration of this style in Sainte Clothilde de Reims, built in 1898-1900 to commemorate the fourteenth centenary of the conversion to Christianity of Clovis and the Franks in 496. The drawings for the church are now in the museum. The main source of this religious architecture is Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (Istanbul). The restoration of that monument sparked much discussion and research and updated the use of the dome, whose huge mosaics against a gold background fired the imagination of European architects.