Friday 4 February 2011

The Town Hall

The suitably imposing 19th century Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall) in Preuilly was designed about 1855 by the architect Alcide Créchet as a private house (hôtel particulier) for the Fumey family in the style of a small château in the neo-classical style. It is constructed of tuffeau (soft limestone) on the site of the old pig market. Foreshadowing its current function, Créchet incorporated motifs apparently intended to hark back to the Consulate, the First Empire and the Restoration. Its pediment and fluted pilasters are representative of the 'Preuilly style' that its creator Créchet used again and again in the town. (Another example of the 'Preuilly style' can be seen here.) The bell comes from l'eglise de Notre-dame-des-echelles.

The rear facade, with its perron en fer-à-cheval
(curved stone external stairs).
The house was occupied by Ernest Fumey and his wife Marie-Elodie, and then by their son Raoul. After Raoul died in 1933, his heirs put the place up for sale. The mayor at the time decided it would make an ideal new town hall, and the architects specialising in historic monuments agreed that it would be possible, with covenants. The council borrowed 350 000 francs from la Caisse nationale des retraites pour la vieillesse (the national retirement fund). 250 000 francs were for the purchase and 100 000 for repairs. The council took possession in 1936.



Diogenes said...

This is a beautiful building, nicely proportioned. Perron en fer-à-cheval - does this literally mean steps in horse iron?
Forgive my French...

Susan said...

Diogenes: un fer-à-cheval is a horseshoe.

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