posted 12-17-98 04:53 AM
Was able to find this... hope it helps!
A History of Archictecture--Banister Fletcher-17th ed. pg. 555 -
The Chateau de Blois (east wing) (1498-1504) has a thirteenth century Salle des Etats and gateway to the court, around which later buildings were added. The Gothic spiral staircase of Louis XII was probably the model for the marvellous staircase of Francis I of the early Renaissance period.
A History of Archictecture--Banister Fletcher-17th ed. pg .770 -
The Chateau de Blois (1498-1524 and later), begun in the thirteenth century was continued (1498-1504) by Louis Xii in an addition to the east wing which shows very little Renaissance influence, and by Francis I shortly afterwards (1515-24), being finally completed (1635-8) by Francois Mansart for Gaston d'Orleans in the reign of Louis XIII. The buildings belonging to these successive periods are grouped around an irregular quadrangle with central entrance, enriched with statuary, through the Louis XII block. The facades of the time of Francis I have
windows with panelled instead of moulded mullions, ornate crowning cornices, and carved roof dormers and chimney stacks, which together make a pleasing and characteristic combination, further enhanced by the famous spiral staircase of Francis in its open tower, in which the letter F and the Salamander, emblems of Francis I are introduced as heraldic decoration among the
carving on the balustrades and vault bosses. The staircase has a beautiful architectural treatment, founded on the Mediaeval corkscrew stair, similar to a spiral shell. The chimney-pieces, with columns, niches, and carving are ornate, and show that internal fittings were elaborated more than in the Gothic period. The part by Gaston d'Orleans was designed by Francois Mansart, and its stately formality forms a contrast with Early Renaissance work of the time of Francis I.
Baedeker's Northern France-1889 edition pg. 246 -
The Chateau is about 1/4 mile from the station--one of the most interesting in France. The part immediatedly in front of us as we arrive is the Francis I Wing, the finest part of the whole castle and a chef-d'oeuvre of the Renaissance. The inner or court facade is noticed below. The exterior facade, with four stories, is richly decorated and adorned with tasteful turrets and an open gallery at the top. The unattractive-looking pavilion on the right dates from the time of Gaston d'Orleans,
who began a complete reconstruction of the whole. Between these two sections rises the Tour des Oubliettes, dating from the 13th century. The chateau is entered from the Galerie Louis XII., constructed of stone and brick and finished in 1501. Above the door is an equestrian statue of Louis XII.
Visitors are generally first led to the Chapel, also dating from the time of Louis XI., but recently restored and repaired. It is embellished with paintings and coloured windows, one of which represents the betrothal of Louis XII. to Anne of Brittany. At the end of the court is the Gaston Wing, bult by Mansart, the most remarkable feature of which is the staircase. The Francis I.
Wing, the inner facade of which is even more richly decorated than the outer. Like most of the chateau it has recently undergone complete restoration. Here, too, the Staircase is the chief feature; it ascends within a projecting pentagonal tower, open at each stage, and both outside and inside is most beautifully carved. The salamander which is frequently repeated in the ornamentation is the badge of Frnaics I., while the hedgehog on other parts of the building is the badge of Louis XII. The apartments of the palace have been restored and beautifully decorated, though not furnished. On the First Floor are the Queen's Ante-Rooms ('Salles des Gardes'), the first of which has two gilded chimney-pieces; the Quen's Gallery; the Dressing Room of Catherine de Medicis; the room in which that queen died in 1589, with artistically carved beams, her Oratory, partly in a turret supported by a corbel; her Study, with nearly 250 carved wooden panels, all different. Maried de Medicis, who was confined in this castle by order of her son
Louis XIII, is said to have escaped by one of the windows of the last-named room. We next
inspect the Tourdes Oubliettes or donjon, and the dungeon in which the Cardinal de Guise,
brother of the duke, was assassinated. The King's apartments were on the Secon Floor. They include two ante-rooms with fine chimney-pieces; the Duke of Guise, surnamed 'le Balafre' or 'the Scarred', assassinated in 1588 by order of Henri III., breathed his last. Adjoining are the Retiring Room where the first blows were struck, the King's Dressing Room, and the apartment in which two monks, during the assassination, remained in prayer 'for the success of a great scheme'. The Third Floor has been most recently restored. The gallery commands a fine view,
extending to the east as far as Chambord. We descend by a staircase at the end of the Galerie de Louis XII., from which we visit the 'Salle des Etats'. This hall, which is divided into two by eight columns, dates like the donjon from the 13th century.
From the other end of the Galerie de Louis XII., another staircase leads to an unimportant Musee. In the fifth room on the first floor, are two valuable pictures: a Group of Sheep by 'Rosa Bonheur', and La Colombine by 'Leonardo da Vinci'. Most of the rooms have the chimney-pieces of the time of Louis XII. On the second floor are painting, sculptures, engravings, and a collection of natural history. Fine view from the first room.
Blois first rose into notice about the end of the 14th century, when Louis of Orleans, son of Charles V. of France, purchased the castle from the counts of Blois. Under its new masters Blois enjoyed a period of importance, especially when Louis' grandson, who frequently resided here, ascended the throne of France as Louis XII. Francis I spent large sums of money in enlarging and embellishing the castle, in which he entertained Charles V., Henri III., spent much of his time at Blois, and twice (in 1576 and 1588) assembled the States-General here; here, too, the Duke
of Guise was assassinated by the king's orders. The castle then fell into disfavour. Henri IV. visited it once. Louis XIII. imprisoned his mother, Marie de Medicies, in this castle, and afterwards presented it to his brother, Gaston of Orleans.