An Architectural Jewel Lost
FIRE IN A PRIVATE HOTEL in Paris, France, caused extensive damage Wednesday morning, including the destruction of some 17th-century artworks and fine woodwork. The famous Hotel Lambert dates back to 1640 and has been in contiuous use since then and is now one of the oldest and architecturaly significant buildings in the old section of the city.
The fire that raged through the night from Tuesday 9 July to Wednesday 10 July at the Hotel Lambert, one of the architectural jewels of the city dating from the seventeenth century, has caused "irreversible" damage, confirmed the Minister Aurélie Filippetti, who visited the country culture. The fire, which broke out in the roof of the mansion and was extinguished on Wednesday at dawn, "has made some very serious injury to a key asset of Paris." The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, "this is a test in terms of heritage, it is a truly exceptional hotel."
The Art Newspaper is reporting:
A fire has ripped through one of Paris’s most famous buildings, Hotel Lambert on the Ile Saint-Louis, destroying a series of frescoes made around 1652 by the artist Eustache Le Sueur. The blaze, which broke out on Tuesday night, caused the rooftop to collapse on to the Cabinet des Bains (bathroom) area immediately below. Its vaulted ceilings were decorated with Le Sueur’s designs depicting Greek gods and nymphs.
"It’s a complete disaster," Alexandre Cojannot, an architectural historian, told our sister paper Le Journal des Arts. Following extensive restoration, begun in 2010, "the Cabinet des Bains was in a perfect state, an excellent example of ‘Parisian Atticisme’ [a 17th-century movement drawing on classical Antiquity]", Cojannot adds. The French culture minister, Aurélie Filippetti, said that the Cabinet des Bains has been "completely destroyed".
Lieutenant-Colonel Pascal Le Testu, a spokesman for the fire service, reportedly stated that frescoes adorning the Gallery of Hercules, painted by Charles Le Brun in the mid-17th century, were also "severely damaged by smoke and water". The building, part of a Unesco World Heritage site on the River Seine, was empty and undergoing renovation.
Hotel Lambert sits at the eastern tip of the Ile Saint Louis, one of two natural islands in the River Seine. The mansion, designed by the architect Louis Vau, was built in the 1640s for an official named Lambert de Thorigny.
The Art Newspaper article also includes a brief history of the building HERE.
The fire was dispatched at 1:30 am and brought 140 firefighters to the scene where they worked for six hours to get it knocked down and extinguished. They were able to contain the fire to the hotel with no fire damage to the adjoining buildings. One of them however, had heavy smoke damage.
ITN has some good fire footage in this video report:
Euronews has more fire coverage plus a glimpse of the famous frescoes prior to the fire:
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