Favorite Books ~ An Invitation to Chateau du Grand Lucé
Happy Wednesday everyone. I hope your week is going well.
As I have previously shared with all of you, one of my favorite things to do on a lazy Sunday morning is to curl up in bed with a good book and just forget the worries of the world for a few moments. I particularly love books about interior design and history so when I came across "An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Luce" by Timothy Corrigan I knew I had found a little gem. It is a book that truly takes your breath away and makes you dream...
This books covers the restoration of Corrigan's beloved French Chateau which was built between 1760 and 1764 by the engineer Mathieu de Bayeux for Jacques III Pineau de Viennay. Corrigan began his painstaking restoration the property's gardens and building's interiors in 2005. What captured my attention was the chateau's history and the remarkable dedication that Corrigan placed into bringing back the chateau's original elegance and grandeur.
What I liked most about Timothy Corrigan is his design philosophy of creating spaces that are comfortably elegant but livable. The photography in this book is exquisite but best of all, the book provides indispensable advice on decorating.Below a few incredible photos his exquisite country estate.
A short video of Timothy Corrigan giving a small tour of the chateau.
History of the Chateau du Grand-Luce’
“The chateau at Le Grand-Lucé represents one of the most precious elements of architecture of the French Enlightenment” - B. Chauffert-Yvart, Architect of the French Monuments
In 1760, the Baron Jacques Pineau Viennay, lord of Luce’, demolished the medieval castle, which dated from the 10th century and began building the current chateau. Constructed using local materials (sandstone and limestone quarried in Le Grand-Lucé), the chateau was destined to receive the many illustrious friends of the Baron. As the Intendant for all of eastern France for King Louis XV, Viennay was living in Strasbourg when he began the construction of his future summer palace. Unable to survey the construction himself, the Baron addressed his instructions in lengthy letters to his Architect, Mathieu de Bayeux. All of their correspondence and the original plans for the chateau are still in existence at the National Archives in Paris.
After several decades of planning his new chateau and five years of continuous construction, Pineau Viennay arrived to see his finished masterpiece. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the gates of his chateau he was so overwhelmed that he died of a heart attack even before entering the chateau or seeing the numerous sculptures (exact replicas of the ones that he had at the Chateau du Versailles) that King Louis XV had placed in the gardens as house-warming gift.
The chateau was eventually inherited by the Baron’s daughter, Mademoiselle Louise Pineau Viennay. In 1781, a major fire broke out in the village surrounding the chateau and destroyed 144 houses. In a gesture of great good-will Mademoiselle opened the doors of the chateau to the village and paid to have the town rebuilt, only this time in the same stone that the chateau was built so that they would never again face the same risk of fire. Only a few years later, this act of generosity was directly repaid, when the Revolution occurred, and both Mademoiselle and the Chateau were protected by the resident’s of the village. Every bit of the interior of the chateau survived in tact from this time and it is one of the only chateaux in all of France that weathered this turbulent time totally unscathed.
The chateau and its property remained in the same family for over 200 years. During the Second World War (1939-1940) the chateau served as a hospital for British Military officers. 700 important paintings (Rubens, Watteau, Fragonard, and Van Dyck) from the Louvre, Lille and other French museums were also hidden at the chateau throughout the war.
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