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This programme looks at the chateau of Montgeoffroy in Anjou, France. it examines its architecture, interior decoration, furniture, and the function and distribution of rooms, to see what light thi...s throws on the style of aristocratic living on the eve of the French Revolution.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: A204, The Enlightenment
Item code: A204; 16
First transmission date: 02-10-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:14
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Producer: Paul Kafno
Contributors: Michael Burrell; Belinda Thomson
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): 18th century French society; Architecture
Footage description: The programme opens with film of the exterior and grounds of the chateau of Montgeoffroy near Maze in Anjou, France. 18th century music is played over, and occurs throughout the programme. Shots of rooms within the house and of the gardens, over which Mary Wimbush reads Holland's 18th century description of French chateaux. From outside Montgeoffroy Belinda Thomson briefly describes the use made of country houses by the French aristocracy. A plan of Montgeoffroy is shown, then a portrait of its owner, the Marquis de Contades. Thomson describes Barre's design for the chateau over shots of the exterior of the building and an animated plan of its ground floor. She explains why the rooms are arranged as they are. She relates the design to the old Gothic chapel that it incorporates and explain the function of the enfilade. From inside Montgeoffroy Thomson shows us an inventory of the house's furniture and decorations in 1775. Moving upstairs she accounts for the design of the staircase, then comments on the general appearance of the upper floor. Film of the interior of an upstairs apartment over Lady Holland's description of such a room is quoted. Shots of specific details within the room with music over. Prints show the morning routine of guests at a chateau. Lady Holland's experience of the morning routine is read over. Thomson comments on the amorous affairs of ladies enjoying chateau life. An amorous escapade of Madame d'Epinay is described over appropriate illustrations. From one of Montgeoffroy's bedrooms Thomson comment on a number of decorations and pieces of furniture. She next examines a small room off the bedroom, the cabinet de toilette. Two prints depict servants assisting their masters. Thomson describes the constant proximity of servants in 18th century chateau. An animated plan shows the arrangement of servants' quarters in Montgeoffroy. Blondel's thoughts on the distribution of servants' rooms are quoted. From the Marechal's suite of rooms Thomson describe the furnishings and decorations. She shows how various symmetrical effects were achieved in these rooms. Paintings of the Marechal's mistresses are also examined. Thomson describes l8th century French aristocratic attitudes to marriage. The Prince de Ligne's account of his own arranged marriage is read as an example. A number of engravings depicting 18th century marriage are shown, over which Thomson explains the acceptance of adultery amongst the nobility. Engravings of adulterous scenes are shown, with music over. Thomson examines the apartments of Madame Herault, the Marechal's companion in later life. Various items of furniture and wall-hangings are examined in detail. Thomson goes up a small spiral staircase to examine the chambermaid's room. She describes how the room would have been furnished, and shows how the architect has concealed the room from the outside. Music over an engraving of dinner at a chateau. From Montgeoffroy's dining room Thomson discusses its oval shape and examines its stove in some detail. The room's paintings and chairs are also examined. Over engravings of typical chateau pastimes quotes from Arthur Young and Lady Holland give their impressions of the French aristocratic lifestyle. Thomson introduces the final sequence from the main salon. Various aspects of the room are examined, including its mirrors and gaming table. She describes evening entertainment in a chateau. The programme ends with music over prints showing the French nobility in salons.
Production number: FOUA006X
Videofinder number: 2275
Available to public: no