To provide the appropriate distinguished setting for the statue of George Washington and the medallion of his ancestor Nicolas Martiau, French Heritage Society is sponsoring the creation of the gardens of the Hôtel de Clerjotte, in partnership with the city of Saint-Martin-de-Ré.
In these gardens, the statue of George Washington, a bronze replica of Houdon’s masterpiece, will feature on its pedestal a medallion of Nicolas Martiau, born on the Ile de Ré in 1591. This statue, paying homage to the French roots of the first President of the United States, will be inaugurated at a special ceremony on October 11, 2007.
The Hôtel de Clerjotte dates from the end of the 15th century. The “corps de logis” and the southeast tower are in Flamboyant Gothic style with wings in late Renaissance style resting on a series of basket-handle arcades. Purchased in 1959 by the city, the Hôtel de Clerjotte was restored to house the Ernest Cognacq collection. The “Aile de Clerjotte”, a modern temporary exhibition space, was built in 2006.
Known as America’s first monument to democracy, the Virginia Capitol was designed by Thomas Jefferson, inspired by the Maison Carrée in Nîmes, to embody an architectural style to express power, authority, continuity and aesthetic beauty.
This grant is part of an ambitious $100 million project to restore and revitalize Virginia’s 216 year-old Capitol, including an underground extension and the restoration of the Capitol Square grounds.
One of the most prestigious projects in the United States with a strong French influence, featured in FHS’s book “French America”, the Capitol serves as a continuing symbol of democracy and the preservation of the Commonwealth’s heritage.
Restoration project: restoration of the cast iron fence, designed by a Frenchman, Sabbaton, that encloses Capitol Square, part of the Virginia Capitol complex, and one of the most historic gardens in the country, predating Central Park in New York City.
The French Consulate in New York was established in 1783 following the one in Philadelphia, first capital of the United States. In 1942, the offices of the “house of France” at Rockefeller Center were too small and the French government purchased this townhouse on Fifth Avenue, built in 1926 by the architects Walkers and Gillette. This new site was not used until 1952 due to the Second World War.
The trompe-l’œil marble of the entrance hall reinforces the Italian Renaissance accent which is at its apotheosis in the Salon Rose, with a coffered ceiling, superb chandeliers, silk damassé fabrics, tapestries and majestic French windows giving on to Central Park.
The French Consulate in New York is a showcase for France in this vital American city.
Restoration project: restoration of the Salon Rose ceiling and the Salon Vert windows.
The château de Champlâtreux, a beautiful example of Rococo architecture, was built around 1750 by architect Jean Michel Chevotet for a family of Parliamentarians, the Molés, whose descendants were Noailles, the current owners. Louis-Marie, Vicomte de Noailles, took part in the American War of Independence alongside his brother-in-law, Lafayette.
The château sits in the heart of a 50-hectare park, whose gardens were designed along classical lines, then enhanced in the 19th century, with an English park. The brick and stone stables were built at the same time as the château and are among the most beautiful in the Ile-de-France region.
Restoration project: restoration of the stables.
This medieval château, in a triangular shape, dominates the Charente River and the picturesque village of Verteuil. Belonging to the La Rochefoucauld family for over 1000 years, Verteuil is just as fascinating for its architectural riches as for the history of its famous owners.
Their celebrated and illustrious guests have included Emperor Charles V of Spain, King Henri II, Queen Catherine de Medici and Queen Margot, Louis XIII, Anne of Austria and Marie de Medici.
In the 18th century, Louis Alexandre de La Rochefoucauld, a friend of Jefferson, was a fervent supporter of the American cause. He translated into French all thirteen of the Constitutions of the New American states.
A member of the Academy of Science and President of the Royal Society of Medicine, he was also a friend of Condorcet, Buffon and Lavoisier. All four were elected to the American Philosophical Society of Philadelphia upon Benjamin