The Broken Column House

The Broken Column House at the Désert de Retz, was built by the aristocrat François Nicolas Henri Racine de Monville who used it as his main residence before the French Revolution.  The house was designed to look like a ruined classical column, complete with fake cracks on the walls! Unfortunately, the building and the surrounding garden were actually abandoned for real. A restoration program was initiated in the 1980s.

Photo by Michael Kenna (1988)

Photo by Michael Kenna (1993)

The restored Column exterior

Escalier de la “colonne détruite” (Désert de Retz – ©Patricia Farazzi)

Members of the Frédéderic Passy family, who owned the Désert de Retz from 1856 to 1936  (c. 1910)

A cross section of the Broken Column House as recorded in Jardins anglo-chinois by George Le Rouge, 1785


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A photo blog focused on the unique things of the world, exploring a number of different subjects such as art, photography, architecture and travel.

2 thoughts on “The Broken Column House”

  1. Many thanks to Morfis for posting the photographs of the Desert de Retz and a link to my website, the Racine de Monville Home Page.

    I invite visitors to the Morfis blog to take a look at the exclusive photographs of the Desert de Retz taken between 1976 and 2008 and to read more about the creator of the Desert de Retz, François Racine de Monville on my website.

    Ronald W. Kenyon
    The Racince de Monville Home Page

  2. A little whimsy in life is a good thing. Excellent example that creativity and engineering can combine to create something unique.

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