The term was comparatively recent in English use. The first citation in OED is from Rickman ‘Four Letters on the Ecclesiastical Architecture of France’ in Archaeologia XXV, 1835 page 182; ‘early French’ is distinguished from ‘latest flamboyant’. Gally Knight, Architectural Tour of Normandy, in 1836 refers to the word as recent and a ‘fanciful appellation’. The name is derived from the flame-like tracery of the windows in what is sometimes defined as the third and final phase of French Gothic architecture. In the Lamp of Sacrifice Ruskin had cited the central gate of Rouen Cathedral as ‘the most exquisite piece of pure flamboyant work existing’. Unlike the upper portions, which are degenerate, the gate itself is of a ‘purer period and has hardly any renaissance taint’ (Works, 8.52 and Plate 1). The theme of degeneration is at the heart of Ruskin’s concerns for this journey, and its relationship to flamboyant style is set out at Notebook M2 p.2back and Notebook M2 p.3back.
The following references to flamboyant are in what appears to be chronological order of Ruskin’s observations:
[Version 0.05: May 2008]