Casa de la Vall


In the late 19th century, before the widespread use of photography in newspapers and magazines, the French press used wood engravings to illustrate its publications. This technique, known as woodcut printing, is performed by carving an image out of a piece of wood, generally boxwood, and applying ink to the relief pattern of the piece to engrave the image onto a surface. This engraving was originally published in 1888 in Le Tour du monde magazine. According to the caption, it shows the Casa de la Vall (then referred to as the palais des Vallées), which is the seat of the Consell General de les Valls (General Council of the Valleys), or Andorran parliament. The Casa de la Vall is a fine old house with a defensive tower, built by the Busquets family, probably in 1580, as is stated in the text engraved on the arch of the main entrance. In 1702, the Consell de la Terra (Council of the Land) bought the house from the family. The house subsequently underwent various modifications designed to adapt it to parliamentary use and to accommodate the courts that functioned in the building. The engraving shows the facade and one of the sides of the house. One of the main features depicted is the entrance door, with the coat of arms of the Busquets family and some features for defending the house, notably one of the round embrasures with loopholes and conical roofs, and the machicolation in the facade. The drawing is by Gaston Vuillier (1846‒1915), a prominent French illustrator who worked for various French magazines. A major travel enthusiast, Vuillier would draw anything that caught his attention during his trips. He visited Andorra twice, in 1887 and in 1895.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Hachette, Paris


Title in Original Language

Le palais des Vallées

Type of Item

Physical Description

1 print : woodcut ; 29.5 x 21.5 centimeters


  • From Le Tour du Monde, 1888, pages 97-112

Last updated: March 24, 2017