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A family day out to Leeds Castle leads to a surprise
What a great day out with my daughter's family and what a surprise for me too. For may years I have been a huge Armand Rateau fan. This wonderful deco period French designer has inspired me and to - ok - copy and reinvent some of his work (See other parts of our website) but I had no idea that in the 1930s he had been commission to decorate and even assist in the exterior of a large restoration on Leeds Castle in Kent at that time.
At first I was a bit bewildered by the carving in the big oak beams - it wasnt "right" - then when I read some of the displayed notes I was surprised that they were from Rateau's Paris workshop. Why his workshop? Why here in a castle in Kent? While the linenfold on the stairs was very good, these beams are awful, lacking the flow and vitality of the assumed period he was trying to copy. Its as though he thought, "This stuff is simple, I think I will get some complete amateur carver off the street and he can muck it up enough to look like 15th century beam."
Apparently the last private owner, Lady Baillie, lived in Paris before she bought the castle so we can assume thats where the French connection is - anyway she later employed the designer Stephane Boudin to work on some of the more elaborate areas - like the Leeds Castle Library - now there's a cornice!
There are plenty of good interior photos of Leeds Castle on the internet - wickipedia has a few facts but does anyone know where I can find more detailed info on the artisans?? ....... same old story....
Stephane Boudin was also well know for also assisting Jacqueline Kennedy for the restoration and renovation of the White House 1961-1963. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St