Talk:Châteauesque

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Hotels[edit]

Do the "neo-Chateau" hotels of Canada count as chateauesque or something else? Kevlar67 23:42, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Go for it. Maitland et al say "The Chateau style . . ........ which led to the style's use for numberous other railway hotels and stations across the country." [1] .. Carptrash 15:20, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Maitland, Leslie, Jacqueline Hucker & Shannon Ricketts, A Guide to Canadian Architectural Styles, Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ontario, 1992, page 93

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Carptrash (talkcontribs) 15:20, 14 April 2007 (UTC).

I am inclined to remove this image[edit]

The:Euxinograd Palace because it looks more Second Empire (architecture) to me. How about to you? Carptrash (talk) 00:59, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

My intention here is to clean up and organize the galley before some rule chanting wikifascist shows up and starts making arbitrary (but RULE BASED, I’m sure) cuts.
So, I am going to start off with an American based definition of the style and what images should be included. All of this is open for discussion.
We (wikipedia) defines the Châteauesque style as “an architectural style based on the French Renaissance architecture of château style used in the 15th to the 17th centuries in the Loire Valley.”
So Euxinograd for example, is based on the “French 18th-century château style” and thus is not really Châteauesque as we have defined it. So the image goes. Likewise Halton House, although described by Girouard as “another French chateau” [1] that does not make it of the style that this article is about. It is (opinion) a Victorian pile utilizing a wide variety of styles. My feeling is that if a building has recognizable Greek or Roman detailing it probably is not Châteauesque, which is a combination of Renaissance and Gothic architecture.
This is not intended to be a lecture but rather a few breadcrumbs tossed into a fish tank to learn learn whether it is filled with goldfish or piranhas. Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 17:27, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
  1. ^ Girouard, Mark, ‘’The Victorian Country House’’, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT 1979 P 302

items removed from gallery[edit]

I am (besides just talking to myself)[edit]

having trouble with this phrase:

"The style frequently featured vernacular buildings incongruously ornamented...:

I find the use of the term "vernacular" inappropriate, misleading and even disturbing. Whiffen (reference upon demand) says of the style that it was "rather tricky for any but the cordons bleus of the (architectural) profession." So , vernacular? I don't think so. "Victorian eclectic" perhaps. I might even use that. Carptrash (talk) 00:22, 5 October 2010 (UTC)

Agreed. Not vernacular. Binksternet (talk) 00:32, 5 October 2010 (UTC)


Chateauesque stuctures often have vernacular elements, meaning "local influences." Kimberly Crest for example is constructed of wood, not stone or brick, because lumber was more readily available in that region. But I agree that chateauesque seems to qualify as polite architecture rather than vernacular architecture.

I have a question about the term "chateauesque." Can anyone cite it's original use and definition? I've read Whiffen's book and although the several page description of chateauesque elements is one of the best I've found, his reference to Bunting as having "coined" the phrase is both brief and casual. Since I have found references to chateauesque architecture that pre-date Bunting's birth, I suspect that there is more to it. Any citations or general advice would be appreciated.

Rollin's Ghost (talk) 06:08, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Please, more information is needed.[edit]

Yes, we seem to be talking to a limited audience.

Despite the work done by the earlier editors, and particularly those who organized the images, this article is rather superficial and reflects a single, albeit mainstream, point of view. I guess that shouldn't be surprising since the cited publications are also rather superficial and present a single point of view.

I'm reluctant to re-edit the main page at this time. I don't have immediate access to all the necessary resources and frankly I don't have time to do a proper write-up. Still, I've accumulated a lot of information on the subject and I'd like to list a few items here, for the benefit of anyone who gets this far. (I am hopeful that serious scholars read discussion pages as well as actual articles.)

First of all, I would have preferred that this article had been titled "Chateau Revival Architecture" in keeping with the general theme of the style and with the Wikipedia format used for other architectural styles. "Chateauesque" could then be shown as a more recently popularized term, apparently intended to reflect the limited degree of historical accuracy found in most of the representative buildings.

Second, it should be understood that this was not an important style. Despite their opulent splendor, the more spectacular examples were designed by a relative few architects, for a relative few clients, for a brief period of time, and had little long-term influence compared to other architectural styles, French or otherwise. As a result, not much is written on the subject. Many otherwise comprehensive books on American architectural styles fail to mention it at all.

With regard to some of the earlier comments and questions:

The early hotels associated with the Canadian National Railway were relatively uniform and consistent with the Francois I transitional style. They are generally referred to as "Chateau Style" rather than "Chateauesque" and I tend to agree with that designation. (PPOV)

Chateau style, like many architectural styles, was first seen on large, expensive, architect-designed structures and then "trickled down" to more modest buildings designed by architects with limited formal training. Many examples reflect a mixture of styles and some are aesthetically dreadful designs. (PPOV) Nevertheless, they are properly included with this style and the association with vernacular design is appropriate.

BTW, "Victorian" anything is not considered a good designation since it refers to an extended period of time based on the reign of a foreign monarch and does nothing to describe the visible nature of the style in question. Many different styles were popular during the Victorian period.

With regard to spelling, "Chateauesque" is most common. But "Chateausque", is found in enough contemporary civic descriptions of historic buildings to suggest at least regional legitimacy. It's also used in the title of at least one book, The Chateau or Chateausque Style in American Domestic Architecture. [1983, Harmon]

The origin and evolution of the term "Chateauesque" is somewhat elusive:

Some authors suggest that it was a Beaux-Arts movement term meaning "like a French chateau." [2005, Yarnall]

Nineteenth century newspaper accounts of the construction of representative structures make no mention of "Chateauesque" or "Chateau style." They usually refer to a particular mansion as having been "inspired by" or being built in "the style of" a sixteenth century French chateau. A very long newspaper article on the building of Biltmore makes no mention of architectural style at all, despite describing nearly every other imaginable aspect of the estate. It's possible that there were insufficient numbers of examples and too much variation in design for them to be treated as a formal style or movement at the time.(PPOV)

Although reports and reviews in the late 19th century were generally positive, those of the early 20th century were often more critical. The word "Chateauesque" appears many times in publications such as The Western Architect and The Architectural Review from 1902 through 1920. A representative article from a 1902 edition of The Architectural Review states, "The designs for Mr. Charles M. Schwab's residence in New York, by M. Maurice Hebert, are rather poorly drawn and show a distinctly commonplace design in the recognized 'Captains of Industry' style, namely, what passes for French Chateauesque."

Now jump ahead to 1967. In Bainbridge Bunting's Houses of Boston's Back Bay, he states "Deriving inspiration from the sixteenth century chateaux of the Loire Valley are several Back Bay houses that can be labeled Chateauesque(5)" The corresponding endnote reads, "In this connection attention should be called to a group of sixteen different houses built during the 1880's which are greatly influenced by chateau architecture but are not sufficiently archeological in their approach to be classified among the Authentic Revivals..." So it would seem that Bunting would have considered most or all of the examples in this Wikipedia article to be "Chateau Revival" and only the lower quality examples, which are understandably absent, to be "Chateauesque." Oops. [PPOV]

All of this might have gone unnoticed had it not been for Marcus Whiffen's 1969 book, already cited. In describing the history of the Chateauesque style, Whiffen writes, "However, it so often contains a generous admixture of earlier, fifteenth-century elements - in some cases, indeed, they become the dominant ones - that the term Chateauesque (an ingenious coinage of Bainbridge Bunting) is surely to be preferred." Since 15th century (and earlier) elements and construction would appropriately be part of 16th century chateaux, and since neither Bunting nor Whiffen offers a test of archeological adequacy, it's difficult (for me) to address Whiffen's interpretation.

Others have also tried to interpret Bunting's remarks. Architecture, Boston [1976 Boston Society of Architects] states, "Chateauesque is the name given by Bunting to ambitious attempts to combine the 'massing of the middle ages' with the 'lavish sculptural ornamentation of the Renaissance."

A quick on-line search of recently published books shows that the term "Chateauesque" has significant and growing popularity. It is unclear (to me) whether the authors are applying any of these scholarly interpretations or if the word has simply become a catch-all to describe all the many variations of the style.

I hope this helps someone. Discussion is encouraged. Intelligent opposing views are highly encouraged. Those with illuminating references or citations are really, really encouraged. Or, as suggested above, maybe I'm just talking to myself. Oh well.

George W. Siegel (talk) 18:44, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Indeed you are not George! I was in the middle of final exams at the time and so missed the announcement on my watchlist, but when I can get access to my personal library (with all my architecture books), I will try to get a good conversation going. Indeed, thanks for being someone else who actually cares to try to improve the architectural history pages - I frequently have that same "ghost town" feeling myself. Morgan Riley (talk) 14:33, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Morgan, welcome aboard. I'll begin watching the page more closely, and I look forward to sharing information with you.

George W. Siegel (talk) 04:20, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

And I too am lurking around. My Identifying American Architecture (Blumenson) features two pages on a stule called Chateau (1860-1890) I do not like the dates at all, have a couple good examples from the 1930s, but am comfortable with changing the article name to Chateau Revival Architecture.Hmmm looking at McAlister and McAlister, what I was looking at are probably French Eclectic. Anyway, they have Chateauesque and use the dates 1880-1910. I leave for Mexico (I'm in the USA) tomorrow morning where my wife is headed for emergency dental stuff, so am not sure when I'll be back, but I will try and remember to check in here. Einar aka Carptrash (talk) 04:37, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

Einar/Carptrash, thanks for checking in. I've admired your contributions and it's a pleasure to speak with you. Please extend my best wishes to your wife.

I'm also out of town, until next weekend anyway. I agree that 1860, pre-Civil War, is far too early for the style's start. 1880-something seems more appropriate. I'm less certain about the end of the style's popularity, in part because it varies throughout the country. From what I can see, the style quickly started to lose popularity shortly after Biltmore was finished. Hunt had died, Vanderbilt soon realized that he couldn't afford to live in his own mansion, and the architectural world began to look down at those who were still designing overly expensive, almost unlivable residences for ultra-wealthy clients. I'm tempted to say that the style's popularity had ended as early as 1905, but I'm flexible on that date.

In my area (Los Angeles), which might not be representative, the style suddenly regained popularity on generally smaller residences and on large hotels and apartment buildings, beginning around 1928. It was part of a general rise in eclecticism that included several other styles as well - something to ponder until we can all get together with source material at hand.

Changing the article's title was perhaps more of a daydream than a specific recommendation. I'll let the general feedback from others guide that sort of thing. In fact, part of my goal is to determine which of the many labels is really the best. Basically, old books don't say Chateauesque. New books generally do. But with the exception of Whiffen's and Bunting's few casual sentences, no one explains why they found it necessary to rename the style after about 75 years. I'm looking for a more authoritarian explanation that frankly might not exist. George W. Siegel (talk) 02:56, 17 June 2012 (UTC)

Some Recommendations[edit]

I can hardly believe it has been a year since my last post. I have yet to find a concise, comprehensive, authoritative source of information on this subject. But I've continued to work on my chateau-related project and I've gained an improved understanding that might be of some value here.

I found it useful to start with the architectural history of actual 16th century French chateaux. The related Wikipedia pages such as French Renaissance Architecture and Chateaux of the Loire Valley were of little help. The best general explanation came from a professionally written, traditional encyclopedia at the local library. More detailed information can be found in any of several books. I found Gebelin's The Chateaux of France, translated by Hart, to be an excellent source of information. It was at the same library. At the very least, one can easily find the out-of-copyright 11th edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, from about 1910, at many locations on the Internet including archive.org. The section on 16th century French architecture is located in Vol. 2, is still reasonably valid, and can easily be downloaded in any of the usual formats.

The study reminded me that the appearance of the subject chateaux changed considerably during the 16th century. Early examples, generally extant medieval fortresses, had defensive military components such as towers and turrets. And they had few if any outward-facing windows. By the end of the period, new construction had replaced fortresses with palaces. Gone were towers and turrets, and windows were now featured. The early attempts to mix Gothic and Renaissance styles had been refined and had evolved into a distinctively French style. The key point here is that there was never any single or ideal Chateau style. It ranged from crudely decorated fortresses to spectacular palaces, and included everything in between. The distinction becomes important 300 years later.

Jumping forward to the last quarter of the 19th century in the United States, there was considerable unrest in the world of architecture. After nearly a century, the country still had no original American styles. Instead there had been endless revivals of ancient, foreign styles, usually as interpreted by French art schools. Architects wanted something new.

Now up to this time, professional architects largely followed a historicist/revivalist philosophy. In some ways it was like musicians who focus exclusively on classical music; striving for the perfect interpretation of works written hundreds of years earlier but never daring to make their own changes. As the unrest grew, a new architectural philosophy gained momentum. Eclecticism, also known as academic eclecticism or classical eclecticism, promoted the idea that a well trained architect should be allowed far greater flexibility and creativity in designing a building to meet a client's particular needs and wishes.

Those who were trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts understood that philosophy. So from an eclectic perspective, Hunt's chateaux for the Vanderbilt family didn't need to be perfect replicas of old buildings or attempt to create or promote an architectural movement or specific style. He was simply producing a distinctive product for a particular client. At the time, it was a revolutionary concept. When the buildings were typically described as being inspired by a French chateau, that's exactly what they meant. It wasn't supposed to be treated as a formal architectural style.

Chateau style as one of many examples of an eclectic approach to architecture seems to explain the lack of specific information on the subject. It also explains the lack of an official name for the style and possibly the context for Bunting's comments.

Unfortunately, the above interpretation isn't covered here at Wikipedia or clearly stated in any books or encyclopedias that I've read. I've had to piece it together myself, which doesn't allow for inclusion on the main page of this article. Probably just as well. I'm sure that the right person could describe it much better than I just did. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, comments and citations, either in agreement or rebuttal, are invited. Meanwhile, I'll dig deeper into the subject of academic eclecticism. George W. Siegel (talk) 04:16, 8 June 2013 (UTC)