41st ILAB Congress - Tuesday: The Castles of Ecouen and Chantilly
Grand Tour on Tuesday. Early in the morning the ILAB affiliates headed northwards to Ecouen. Built in 1538, Ecouen Castle is an architectural gem of 16th century France. It houses an impressive collection of paintings, sculptures, tapestries – and a magnificent library. Lunch time was crowned with an open air concert in the sunshine in the beautiful gardens of the Domaine de Chantilly. Then followed the highlight of the day:
The library and archives of Chantilly Castle keep a real treasure: books and written documents collected over the centuries by the Lords of Chantilly, family members of Montmorency and Bourbon-Condé, and by the Duke of Aumale. An erudite 19th century bibliophile, the Duke of Aumale was one of the most important French book collectors of that time. No wonder that the library now comprises 44.000 books including 700 incunabula, 1500 (and 500 illuminated) manuscripts. The book cabinet, constructed between 1876 and 1877 by Honoré Daumet as a presentation room and a reading room, includes 19.000 volumes, 1500 manuscripts and 17.500 prints, among them the most precious manuscripts in the world.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and to touch such unique bibliophile treasures, when the illuminated medieval manuscripts and early printings – milestones of Renaissance book art – next to Racine’s works with his handwritten annotations were spreaded on a table in the magnificent library, which was exclusively opened for the special guests from ILAB. It was indeed a Grand Tour through the world of bibliophily, and a wonderful day the ILAB delegates will certainly not forget!
> Go to the left column, click down and see the pictures!