The Château de Rosny-sur-Seine was built of bricks and limestone by Maximilien de Béthune, duke of Sully, on the site of an old fortified manor that had been dismantled and burned in 1435. In 1529, the old building passed by marriage to Jean de Béthune, the grandfather of Sully, who was born at the old house, but it was modest by the standards of the day, and he had it replaced in the last years of the 16th century with a new building more befitting his high rank. He is reputed to have ceased building in 1610 at the death of Henri IV, who had visited him there and whose monogram appears on the decorated joists of a room there.
In 1709, the estate passed into the hands of the Olivier family. The château was inherited in 1740 by Jean-Antoine Olivier de Sénozan (1713-1778), from his brother François Olivier. He took up permanent residence there in 1753, with his wife the Countess of Sénozan (1718-1794). She was older sister to jurist, statesman and botanist Malesherbes. He was a frequent visitor to the estate. After Jean-Antoine's death in 1778, she seems to have returned to Paris, where she was executed in May 1794, on charges of conspiracy against the state.
The estate went to Madeleine Olivier de Senozan de Viriville (1764–1794), whose son, Edmond de Talleyrand-Périgord, sold it in 1817 to a Parisian merchant. From him it was purchased on 14 August 1818 by Charles Ferdinand, duc de Berry. It was the his summer residence until he was assassinated on 13 February 1820. Caroline Ferdinande Louise, duchesse de Berry then became châtelaine of Rosny. In 1826, she employed the architect Joseph-Antoine Froelicher to complete the construction of the wings that had been left unfinished by Sully after the death of Henri IV.
When she left France with Charles X in 1830, she bequeathed the château and recommended the staff to her aunt, Queen Marie-Amélie. When she had lost any hope of returning to France, after her exile, she sold the château and its property in 1836 to an English banker, who yielded in his turn to an anonymous company of businessmen. The property was then parceled out, and the château was slated to be dismantled. In 1840, the comte Le Marois acquired the estate, and saved the building from total destruction. The new owner, finding the residence too large for his use, demolished the wings built by the Duchess of Berry, leaving the remainder of the construction its current state.
From the 19th century until 1955, the château and the property belonged to the Lebaudy family, who arranged the commons to lodge their stables, and their kennels, since they practised fox hunting in the surrounding forests. The château was classified a monument historique in 1941. It hosted the 11th World Scout Conference in 1947.
The château was bought in 1955 by Doctor Hertz, who arranged in the commons a center of functional rehabilitation, he and later his widow, continued to live in the château until August 1984.
The château was acquired in December 1984 by a Japanese company, the Nippon Sangyo Kabushiki Kaisha and it underwent various degradations, including a fire in January 1997. It was largely stripped of its furniture, tapestries, chimneypieces, ornaments, statues, woodwork and even of certain trees from its parks, which were sold through auctions. It was repossessed by the State, and conservation work was undertaken by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.
Since 1999, the château has belonged to a private owner who wishes to make it a relais-château to accommodate overnight tourists. The work is still in progress, and the château is not open to the public.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.