portal project


  • Chris Henige
  • University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
  • John James
  • University of New South Wales
  • Jethro Lyne
  • England

Mission and Methodology

About This Project


The Portal Project is an ongoing effort to document photographically and in a comprehensive and systematic manner all French portals which contain significant figural sculptural components. The goal is to provide the best visual resources possible for the study of these portals without actually being there. This resource is particularly aimed at classroon instruction, as it is assumed that academic scholars would visit the portals personally.


Initially, the project involved identifying and collecting basic imagery for all known portals.

Systematic Documentation
Having identified the majority of known portals, a second phase undertaken in 2011 included further documentation of a number of portals in northern and western France by photographing all of the individual details of each portal.

Immersive Imagery
In 2012 a number of key portals in the northern half of France were revisited and photographed using compositing to create large, high-resolution images. These were then processed into zoomable imagery using Zoomify. This allows the user to continually contextualize as they zoom in on individual details. A second visit in 2013 covered many additional portals.

Subsequent visits in 2013, 2014 and 2015 yielded additional examples, and as we continue to visit France, we will continue to photograph figured portals as we come upon them.

To see a complete list of the portals we have documented to date, click on the "Search for Portals" button at the bottom of the panel on the left, or enter the specific name of a known building to narrow your results.