Sunday, December 11, 2011

The house for Inspiration...

The house for Inspiration: Lycee Saint-James

address: Folie Saint-James, 34 Avenue de Madrid, Neuilly/Seine, Paris

The Lucee Saint James occupies the old Foile Saint James, a Neo-classical villa on the outskirts of PAris built in  1775-80 to designs of Francois - Joseph Belanger, architect of the neighboring Chateau de Bagatelle. The word 'foile' means 'folly', 'caprice', even 'madness', but in the eighteenth century it was used to describe a type of building which was then very much in vogue: a small-scale pleasure house generally set in a landscape garden not too distant from the center of town. 'Saint James' is an anglophile corruption of 'Saint Gemmes', an estate in Anjou owned by the man for whom the Foile was originally built, financier Baudard de Vaudesir. Later occupants included Lucien Bonaparte, the Duke of Wellington, and Madame Recamier, and in 1844 history seemed to be punning when the Foile was acquired by a psychiatric hospital, where the painter Toulouse-Lautrec was treated for alcoholism in 1899. The house serves today as a state secondary school and yet several interiors are virtually unchanged since the late eighteen century. The entrance is decorated with illusionistic murals representing Doric columns, urns. and statuary. An interesting feature is the underside of the staircase, painted to represent a hanging drapery. especially dramatic is the interior of the 'Grand Rocher', a towering rockery in the park, which survives in a Piranesian state of ruin. The  entrance is decorated with marbled walls and a coffered vault. Doors as either end lead through to a cavernous suite of pebbles grottoes. 

The entrance of the Lycee Saint -James

'Grand Rocher'