La Maison Mantin

How neat is this?

A rather eccentric Frenchman decreed that on his death, his house should be sealed up for a century, then opened to the public as a museum. Louis Mantin died in 1905, and his house was opened in 2010 after renovations to repair damage from mold.

Louis Matin

Louis Matin

The house itself is fantabulous and I adore Mantin’s crazy-ecclectic taste in bric-a-brac. I kind of wish the restoration wasn’t so extensive, though… if everything is replaced, you have a simulacrum of a place rather than the original, and there’s something beautiful about age. Sometimes I think that historians and restorationists are too focused on “original” to see the beauty and meaning in the scars – the visible history – but the scars show a journey through time.

Still, in this particular case, I suspect a full restoration is what Louis Mantin would have wanted. I don’t think bugs and rot were part of his lifestyle.

And I kind of want that diorama of frogs in a sword fight. It adds a touch of epic to the mantle above the fireplace.


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