Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The More Things Stay the Same

When I was in San Fran, I picked up a copy of the latest The Magazine Antiques. That copper cookware (rows of it!) caught my eye and piqued my interest. The corresponding article is about château de Montgeoffroy, one of the best preserved of France's 18th century châteaux. Built in the 1770s by the marquis de Contades, it was one of the few châteaux to survive the Revolution. And amazingly enough, the château has remained in the same family since it was built with the current marquis de Contades and his wife residing there today.

So how well preserved is it? Much of the original furniture has survived and remains in the same rooms where it was placed in the 1770s. There are numerous late 18th c. chairs that were products of the Gourdin workshop, while commodes from cabinetmaker Pierre Garnier (1725-1800) are dotted throughout the house. And up until recently, much of the furniture wore its original fabric, cotton chintzes hand printed in India. The fabric has now been replaced by comparable Pierre Frey prints.

Funny enough, I felt that I had seen the kitchen before. Alas, I had, in my 1963 copy of
Decoration . As you can see, little in the kitchen has changed. And you know, that's a very good thing.

château de Montgeoffroy

The Grand Salon

A bedroom with a lit á la duchesse.

A bedroom with reproduction Braquenie fabric.

Yet another charming bedroom.

The beautiful kitchen with that glorious cookware.

The kitchen as it appeared in 1963.

(All color images from The Magazine Antiques, Sept/Oct 2010, article by Joan DeJean, Daniel Kessler photographer. Last image from "Decoration", Pierre Levallois.)


  1. John T8:28 AM

    Other than the taxidermy display (in the kitchen no less), the chateau is charming!

  2. I went to Montgeoffroy about 4 years ago knowing nothing about it, but being taken by friends who live in Nantes. Interestingly enough, the reason that so much of it is intact is because of the head of the household's mistress and her illegitimate children. The family fled because of the revolution and left them behind to fend for themselves. The family not surprisingly was grateful for have the majority of their belongings to have been spared after returning. They rewarded the mistress and her children by kicking them out of the chateau, to never return.

  3. Beautiful images, and the copper is to die for!

  4. I have been collecting antique copper cookware for about 8 years, so you are preaching to the choir here. I love the really big old pots from the really big kitchens. They are fabulous! The chateau is great, but I would never leave that kitchen!

  5. How amazing to be able to live like this in this day and age. Just love Pierre Frey and everything else about the chateau including the fabulous copper pots. And as you say, a great example of no change being a good thing!

  6. The images are wonderful and Jennifer I adore the sight of all of those copper pots!

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  7. I have never seen this magazine in the UK - would love to see it over here!
    Margaret P

  8. I've seen images of the chateau many times and with each image, I fall more in love. Truly a gorgeous space. Thanks.

  9. The rows of copper pots are stunning. How much they add to a kitchen!

  10. Oh, those copper pots make me go weak in the knees. Absolutely gorgeous images!


  11. Anonymous12:27 PM

    See the whole issue at

  12. I assume the pots and pans have been used....or at least polished and dusted -otherwise it might get a bit scary ;-) Remarkable it's exactly the same over 300 years! Good design never dies.