On July 14, 2015, I spent a hot afternoon at Père Lachaise Cemetery on the quixotic quest to find the triple grave of the architects Charles Percier, Claude-Louis Bernier, and PierreFrançois-Léonard Fontaine. Bernier, the quiet and forgotten third partner in this passionate architectural triangle, was the first to go in 1830. Six months after his death and two months before the start of the July Revolution, Fontaine had completed the monument that would mark his friend’s final resting place, one that would become Percier’s in 1838 and ultimately his own in 1853: “Two small vaults prepared below, one for me, the other for my friend Percier, will receive one day, when our hour will come, our ashes which must be united with his, as we had always desired.”1 Pictured in Fontaine’s journal and found online, the vertical grave marker is an elegant, but rather unassuming thing (Figure 1.1). Composed of a piece of Vergelet stone faceted into eight planes, the dolefully worn column is crowned by a funerary vase with carved flames licking out of the top. Each facet incorporates the architectural tools of the compass and plumb bob along the base. At the top of each plane is the repeating motif of sheaves of wheat bundled by a piece of ribbon with the engraved words ex utile decus, “out of usefulness comes decoration,” a Latin device that neatly captures the kind of work in the interior for which Percier and Fontaine gained fame. Upon his own death, Fontaine requested that his children add another inscription: Hi tres in unum (“they are three in one”). Found elsewhere, the motto could have easily been interpreted as a profession of Christian piety or perhaps revolutionary fervor. Here on the column, this compressed expression captures the terminus of a lasting but earthly friendship.