Liberal Arts Blog — Castles, Palaces, Manor Houses (I) — Neuschwanstein, the Louvre, Downton Abbey

Liberal Arts Blog — Friday is the Joy of Art, Architecture, Design, Film, and All Things Visual Day

Today’s Topic — Castles, Palaces, Manor Houses (I) Neuschwanstein (Germany), the Louvre (France), Downton Abbey (England)

For looks, you can’t beat Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. The setting. The towers. For interiors, well, the Louvre wins. Hands down. I mean really. Does any other palace, castle, or manor house come remotely close? Now, from a perspective of being most alive in terms of associations with a multiplicity of characters of high rank and low, can you top Downton Abbey? Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE MOST ROMANTIC CASTLE IN THE WORLD — NEUSCHWANSTEIN

1. Built by King Ludwig of Bavaria between 1869 and 1880 in honor of his friend Richard Wagner.

2. Financed out of personal rather than public funds.

3. Inspiration for Disneyland’s “Sleeping Beauty Castle” and prominently featured in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (as the home of the King of Bulgaria).

THE PALACE WITH THE BEST ART COLLECTION I N THE WORLD — THE LOUVRE

1. Construction began under Francis I in 1546 and continued in the 17th and 18th centuries under Louis XIII and Louis XIV and in the 19th century under Napoleon.

2. Now the world’s most visited art museum.

3. The IM Pei pyramid was added in 1989.

NB: The setting on the right bank of the Seine and the vista through the Tuileries gardens down to the obelisk of the Place de la Concorde to the Champs Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe are stunning. The vista is sometimes referred to as the “Axe historique” or the “voie triomphale.”

THE MANOR HOUSE MOST ALIVE WITH A MULTIPLICITY OF CHARACTERS

1. “Highclere Castle” is a manor house in Hampshire county in southern England built in 1679 and renovated in the 19th century. The grounds were designed by the great British landscape architect Capability Brown (1715–1783).

2. In the PBS television series, the building is a fictional Yorkshire estate called “Downton Abbey” the home of the Crawley family. The historical period covered is 1912 to 1926. The series ran from 2010 to 2015.

3. Memorable characters among the staff included Mr. Carson, the butler, Barrow, the under butler, Mr. Bates, valet to the Earl, Mrs. Hughes, head housekeeper (later Mrs. Carson), Anna (housemaid to Lady Mary, later Mrs. Bates). Among the aristocrats: the Earl of Grantham (Huge Bonneville), Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery), Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael), Lady Sybil (Jessica Brown-Findlay).

NB: So, confess, how many times have you watched it? Favorite character? Is there a house more alive with detailed fictional or historical associations?

Neuschwanstein Castle

Louvre

Axe historique

Highclere Castle

Downton Abbey

For the last three years of posts organized by theme:

PDF with headlines — Google Drive

YOUR TURN

Please share the coolest thing you learned recently or ever related to art, sculpture, design, architecture, film, or anything visual.

This is your chance to make some one else’s day. And to cement in your own memory something cool or important you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that is close to your heart.

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store