Château de Beaumesnil

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The Château de Beaumesnil was begun in 1633 by Jacques de Nonant for his wife Marie Dauvet Desmaret. Construction lasted until 1640. Today, Beaumesnil is a commune, the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic, in the Eure department in Haute-Normandie in northern France. “Although Du Cerceau was obligated to leave France in the year 1604, the impulse which he had given in the direction of the above-mentioned manner led to its being generally adopted. The new buildings were more correct, but less picturesque than those built during the earlier period of the French Renaissance, and a certain insipidity seems to characterize the various structures erected during the reigns of Henry IV., and especially Louis XIII. As is shown [here], a combination of free-stone and brick was restored to in such a way that the former was employed for the mouldings, and for the quoins and dressings of the doors and windows, whilst brick was used for the spaces between. In the case of the windows the free-stone introduced assumed the forms of quoins. If ornamentation had been previously excessive, it now retired into the background, and was only employed in moderation; and the method of its treatment began to be distinguished from that of the former period. The forms of the details above all began to lose in purity: rustications were inappropriately introduced in the walls and columns, and the roofs were made high and steep, which gave the rest of the building a heavy and squat appearance, whilst the numerous turret-shaped chimneys, which were necessitated by these high roofs, formed a peculiar feature in the construction. The Roccoco, or Baroque Style, was beginning at the same time to exert its influence. Commencing from the second half of the seventeenth century, this new architectural deviation became prevalent in all civilized countries, owing to the splendor and influence of the French power and manners, and the influence of Italian art was consequently paralyzed. [This image] gives a characteristic example of French architecture of this period of the Later Renaissance, showing the peculiarities which have been described above.”


A. Rosengarten, W. Collett-Sandars A Handbook of Architectural Styles (New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1895)


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