Château: Be a King or Queen in Your Own Home
Every little girl dreams of being a princess, living in a castle – wearing the pointy pink hat with the long, sheer scarf flowing out from the top, canopy bed in her room, the whole shebang. That wasn’t just me, was it? Boys are the knights in shining armor. They battle with swords and spend their time crossing the moat of crocodiles to safety. There’s no question that this fascination with castles is universal, but how much do we really know about them? More importantly, what in the world does any of this have to do with antiques?
One of Latique’s lovely dealers, Annick McNally of Le Louvre French Antiques, said to me, in her enchanting French accent, “I have a love for châteaux– so if I see anything that is château-ish, I’m going to try to get it in my store.” Although her store, Le Louvre French Antiques is filled with all sorts of unique items, she gravitates toward the pieces that come from the old French fortresses. Like so many of us, Annick’s had a fascination with châteaux since she was a little girl.
Château is a French word meaning castle or fortress. But, a French château is not exactly a castle, as we know it. We think of castles as the homes of nobility. But, French châteaux didn’t start out or end up that way. At first, château was a fortress – a place of protection from enemies. Since Bible times, high walls have been built around cities as a form of protection. Inside the walls, would be the citadel, which would be stationed on the highest piece of land within the walls. Around the castles, a ditch was dug, which would become a moat when it filled with water – another means of defense.
It wasn’t until the 1500’s that the châteaux transitioned into more of what we know as a royal palace – the structure remaining similar, but much less enemy-proofed. Nowadays, the word château can refer to a wine producing estate.
As you can imagine, château furniture that has survived is nothing short of grandiose. Adding any château antique to your collection will unquestionably make you and your guests feel like royalty.
French furniture makers (or “ebenistes”), during this time period, were commissioned to make pieces for Royalty first, then for the Bourgeoisie. Only prime pieces would have veneer over solid wood. This château buffet is available at Le Louvre French Antiques. For more of the history on this piece as well as pricing information, click here.
Make your home into a château by going Latiquing! And, stop by Friday for more from Le Louvre and Annick McNally’s insight into antiquing!