Friday, 4 September 2020

Black and White Decor

Louise of Lorraine inherited Chenonceau from her mother-in-law Catherine de Medici, and she happened to be there when news that her beloved husband Henri III had been assassinated. In response she had her chambers decorated in black and white, to express her sorrow, and she spent most of the rest of her life in these rooms.

One of the reproduction wall panels.
Black and white decoration in Louise of Lorraine's bedroom, Chateau of Chenonceau. Indre et Loire. France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

Her private apartments at Chenonceau no longer exist. They were between the chapel and the library and consisted of her bedroom and private oratory. The rooms were demolished in the mid-19th century by Marguerite Pelouze, but luckily, the historic black and white panels that had lined them had been put in storage much earlier, by an 18th century owner, and they survived.

You can now see the original panels on the ceiling of an attic bedroom in the chateau dedicated to Louise. The panels on the walls are reproductions. The white decorative motifs on a black background include tears, cords suggesting her ties to him, crowns of thorns, shovels, crosses and the Greek letter lambda (for Louise) intertwined with H for Henri.


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chm said...

It looks like thre is also an M with the lambda and the H. What could it be? Médicis, the name of her mother in law? Not likely, though.

chm said...

At the death of Louise de Lorraine, Chenoncesu is bought by César de Vendôme husband of Françoise de Mercœur, Louise de Lorraine's niece. Is it there the origin of the M?

chm said...

This website gives more information about the fate of Chenonceau after the death of Louise de Lorraine and the different owners before Mme Dupin.

chm said...

George Sand, a famous 19th century French writer, was the step-grand-daughter of Mme Dupin.


Susan said...

The appearance of an M is because the lambda appears right side up and upside down. Césare de Vendome got Chenonceau as part of a deal Louise was forced to do at the end of her life due to debt. Thanks for the link. I'll check it out. Yes, I know of the George Sand connection.

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