Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Women of Loches – 3

I know you are curious to read about the lunch we had with blogger friends Jean and Nick at La Gerbe d’Or in Loches. But bear with me just a little longer, because I still have one painting to show you. By now you probably know that I was fascinated by these three contemporary portraits of the women who at some point in history visited or lived at the Logis in Loches. 

The first one was Joan of Arc, who on June 3rd, 1429 – after her victory at Orleans – visited the future King Charles VII (Agnes Sorel’s ‘boyfriend’, remember) to insist on him travelling as soon as possible to Reims for his official coronation. In the previous years there had been some doubt and dispute about the King’s ancestry. I suppose that since Joan had won the battle with Charles’ moral and financial support, it was important to get him on the throne while his popularity was at its peek. Mind you, this is my personal interpretation of the matter. There might have been a more important, political reason for the sudden rush. 

While Joan only visited the Logis and never actually lived there, Agnes Sorel became a permanent resident of the elegant castle after leaving the court at Chinon, where Louis XI, the dauphin, had been doing everything in his power to make her life as miserable as possible. The logis became Agnes’ hide-out where she spent many a happy hour with her lover and companion Charles VII.

21th century Anne de Bretagne.

The third and last woman who inspired our contemporary artist is Anne de Bretagne. As the widow of Maximilian of Austria, After the annulment of her mariage to Maximilian of Austria she was successively married to Charles VIII and Louis XII. She lived in Loches at the end of the 15th and/or the beginning of the 16th century (she died in 1514, age 37). She took up residence in the northern part of the Logis where she had a small yet profusely decorated room at her disposal. The intricate cord and other motives are still as exquisite and delicate as they must have been at the time when Anne had them carved.

15th century Anne de Bretagne.

Of the three portraits, Anne de Bretagne’s is my favourite. She looks so diva-like in her silk gown. And is it my imagination, or do I detect some of Ava Gardner’s features in her face and posture?


This is where my saga of the Women of Loches ends (do I hear a sigh of relieve there?). I hope you’ve enjoyed it. After meeting these three grand ladies, it is time to move on to our rendezvous with another special lady, blogger friend Jean (and her husband Nick) from Derbyshire and holidaying in Le Grand Pressigny.


Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I love French history so this is an interesting post. Looking forward to your lunch with Jean and Nick, it was sad that they missed the party :( Diane

Mark said...

Even before you mentioned it, I thought that the Anne portrait looked a little Hollywood too! m.

Louise said...

No sigh of relief from me Martine! My fascination with French history has been tweeked. Thank you for your insights. These women are fixtures in history, and their beauty and intrigue fascinate us hundreds of years later...Louise

Niall & Antoinette said...

Anne de Bretagne's emblem of the 3 ermine tails of Brittany [sable and argent] litters her chapel in the Logis.

A propos of Susan's comments on the previous post. The Fouquet protrait of Agnes as Madonna is actually part of dyptch [right wing]. You can see th original in the museum of fine arts in Antwerp.

Carolyn said...

That's a lovely header photo. It really says "Summer in the Loire valley...."

ladybird said...

Diane, It was a real shame indeed. I'm sure they would have enjoyed it as much as we did.

Mark, Great minds think alike ;)!

Louise, I don't think they had an easy life though, always being at everybody's beg and call.

N&A, I really should go and see the original in Antwerp. It's only 45 minutes from where I live, and yet I've only seen the copy in Loches :(

Carolyn, Thank you! It brings back many happy memories.