Preserved 19th Century Mansion Opens to Public

Thursday, 20 January 2011

The BBC has published the story of Louis Mantin and his late 19th Century townhouse in central France. Mantin's last wishes, which were recently fulfilled, was to leave the house untouched for a century and consequently open it to the public as a museum.

The house has proven to be a perfectly preserved time capsule complete with opulent period furnishings and decor, including taxidermy birds and archeological curios. Decor by the eccentric aesthete included imported tapestries, paintings and porcelain. Mantin had dedicated his life to pleasure, science and the arts, and not only does the mansion house commissioned sculptures and carvings, but the top floor is a museum of Egyptian relics, Neolithic oil-lamps, prehistoric flints and medieval locks and keys.

Not only the decor has sparked interest, but also household gadgets such as electricity and an early period toilet. With this revealing and fascinating glimpse into the past, we're reminded at HBL that the design of interiors and the built environment serves as a lasting barometer of the times, how people live and, most of all, the objects that we cherish.

See a video tour of the house on BBC.