Sunday, April 20, 2014

St. Fargeau

Warning: this is not sewing related!  This is me geeking out and reminiscing.

My master's thesis back in graduate school was an analysis of La Grande Mademoiselle's (Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans) memoirs.  An essential part of that analysis was about how she created her persona: via texts, via physical representations (portraits, etc.) and via estate-building.  Well, I finally got to visit the chateau that she is most associated with during her exile: St. Fargeau.

While the castle suffered during the Revolution and then afterward, through neglect, it was renovated in the late 70's and early 80's.  It's privately owned and still suffers from a lack of funding, but it's definitely better than it was 40 years ago.

Montpensier transformed what was essentially a medieval defensive castle into a neo-classical 17th beauty.  Here are some photos of the outside, with its large park in the back:



The inside needs more love.  Nonetheless, here are some shots (with a before and after renovation), plus an extract of Mme. de Sévigné's witty letter about Montpensier's supposed marriage:


There were many, many representations of La Grande Mademoiselle around the castle, in various degrees of preservation.  Because these were essential to my master's thesis, I made a little collage of these too:


However, the portrait which was the key to my analysis is not here.  It's at Versailles.  Here's a link.  And here's the portrait:


And, because I'm a dork, here we are together:


Happy Easter everybody!

5 comments:

  1. Oh Donna, this looks like such a fascinating place and she sounds like a fascinating woman. I have to say I hadn't heard of her before! (Excuse my ignorance). I love to hear the snippets of peoples' lives and past studies. One day when you are really bored I can tell you my thesis title (yawnmaking in the extreme I warn you) :) Hope all is good with you x

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  2. Sounds like your studies were really interesting! And what a beautiful castle!

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  3. That must have been so interesting for you to visit the subject of your studies! The grounds are beautiful, and it is great news that restoration is slowly taking place :)

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    1. I was very excited to be able to visit it! :)

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