Château de Beauregard, Loire Valley

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This article is about the château in the Loire Valley. For the Pomerol winery, see Château Beauregard.
Château de Beauregard, viewed from the front.

The Château de Beauregard is a Renaissance castle in the Loire Valley in France. It is located on the territory of the commune of Cellettes, a little south of the city of Blois and a few miles from other famous Loire châteaux such as Cheverny. Although still inhabited, it can be visited by tourists. The castle is renowned for its Gallery of portraits decorated in the 17th century with 327 portraits of famous people.

History[edit]

Most of the château was built around 1545, when it was bought by Jean du Thiers, Lord of Menars, and Secretary of State to Henri II. The commissioned interior included frescoes on the fireplace of the royal chamber, which have survived. In the Great Gallery there is a fireplace in Italian style from this period. However its main feature was commissioned by Paul Ardier, Comptroller of Wars and Treasurer, who bought the château in 1617. He added further interior decorations over the next few decades, including a gallery of portraits.

The gallery of portraits[edit]

The gallery of portraits (Galeries des Illustres in French), the largest in Europe to have survived to our days, is the masterpiece of the castle : built during the first half of the 17th century at the request of Paul Ardier, it is 26 meters long, its pavement is entirely made of 5 500 Delftware tiles and its walls are decorated with 327 portraits of famous people having lived between 1328 (date of the beginning of the reign of Philippe VI of France) and 1643 (death of Louis XIII). The French kings are depicted accompanied by portraits of their queens, ministers, marshals, diplomats etc. Apart from French personalities, other important historical people of 25 nationalities are represented. Marie Ardier, daughter of Paul Ardier, committed the decoration of the ceiling to the painter Jean Mosnier and its family. The blue color which dominates has been obtained by the use of lapis lazuli, one of the most precious and expensive mineral stones in the 17th century.

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Coordinates: 47°32′13″N 1°23′01″E / 47.53694°N 1.38361°E / 47.53694; 1.38361