1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Chantilly

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CHANTILLY, a town of northern France, in the department of Oise, 25 m. N. of Paris on the Northern railway to St Quentin. Pop. (1906) 4632. It is finely situated to the north of the forest of Chantilly and on the left bank of the river Nonette, and is one of the favourite Parisian resorts. Its name was long associated with the manufacture, which has now to a great extent decayed, of lace and blonde; it is still more celebrated for its château and its park (laid out originally by A. Le Nôtre in the second half of the 17th century), and as the scene of the great annual races of the French Jockey Club. The château consists of the palace built from 1876 to 1885 and of an older portion adjoining it known as the châtelet. The old castle must have been in existence in the 13th century, and in the reign of Charles VI. the lordship belonged to Pierre d’Orgemont, chancellor of France. In 1484 it passed to the house of Montmorency, and in 1632 from that family to the house of Condé. Louis II., prince de Condé, surnamed the Great, was specially attached to the place, and did a great deal to enhance its beauty and splendour. Here he enjoyed the society of La Bruyère, Racine, Molière, La Fontaine, Boileau, and other great men of his time; and here his steward Vatel killed himself in despair, because of a hitch in the preparations for the reception of Louis XIV. The stables close to the racecourse were built from 1719 to 1735 by Louis-Henri, duke of Bourbon. Of the two splendid mansions existing at that period known as the grand château and the châtelet, the former was destroyed about the time of the Revolution, but the latter, built for Anne de Montmorency by Jean Bullant, still remains as one of the finest specimens of Renaissance architecture in France. The château d’Enghien, facing the entrance to the grand château, was built in 1770 as a guest-house. On the death in 1830 of the duke of Bourbon, the last representative of the house of Condé, the estate passed into the hands of Henri, duc d’Aumale, fourth son of Louis Philippe. In 1852 the house of Orleans was declared incapable of possessing property in France, and Chantilly was accordingly sold by auction. Purchased by the English bankers, Coutts & Co., it passed back into the hands of the duc d’Aumale, in 1872. By him a magnificent palace, including a fine chapel in the Renaissance style, was erected on the foundations of the ancient grand château and in the style of the châtelet. It is quadrilateral in shape, consisting of four unequal sides flanked by towers and built round a courtyard. The whole group of buildings as well as the pleasure-ground behind them, known as the Parterre de la Volière, is surrounded by fosses supplied with water from the Nonette. On the terrace in front of the château there is a bronze statue of the constable Anne de Montmorency. The duc d’Aumale installed in the châtelet a valuable library, specially rich in incunabula and 16th century editions of classic authors, and a collection of the paintings of the great masters, besides many other objects of art. By a public act in 1886 he gave the park and château with its superb collections to the Institute of France in trust for the nation, reserving to himself only a life interest; and when he died in 1897 the Institute acquired full possession.