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:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.