Le Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse – Hospice Comtesse

Posted: October 3rd, 2012 | Author: Kathryn | Filed under: Uncategorized, travel | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

In Vieux Lille (old Lille) there is a yellow and terracotta building that just about everyone who visits Lille will walk by. Although it sits amongst the main shopping area and is very large, it is surprisingly easy to walk past. I knew the building having walked past it so many times and had assumed it to be private but got struck with curiosity one day and stuck my head in. As it turned out, the site had belonged to Jeanne de Constantinople, the Countess of Flanders who founded a hospital in the original buildings in 1237. In 1468, a fire completely destroyed the original buildings but it was rebuilt immediately. Another fire in 1649 destroyed part of the site. Between the years of 1649 and 1657 the current buildings were built and it seems to be in the same condition. The inside is impressive, it has an authentic feel of life and living during the 17th Century, I was enthralled! Unfortunately I didn’t get many great photos but these will give you an idea of what it is like. The dorm on the first floor houses a museum containing decorative objects, architectural fixtures and paintings. It is concise and illuminating.

The Hospice from inside the courtyard. Access is through a gate to the right that opens onto Rue de la Monnaie, a wonderful shopping and eating street:

The medicinal garden that houses a very old rosemary tree with a thick trunk like none I had seen before:

The kitchen, tiled floor to ceiling in hand painted tiles. You will notice two doors above the file place. This large cavity was used to store food, flour and cured meats for example:

There were many different tiny scenes throughout the room but they are arranged in groups of the same image or theme, on the wall below you can see fish, turtles and boats in the lower group and men and women standing on a bank in the upper group:

The walls are covered in art that appears to hang as it would have at the time, not simply for exhibition. Many of the walls are paneled in wood which cleverly camouflages the large and bulky wooden furniture used for storage:

Wooden building fixtures on display in the museum:

There are two huge astrological globes that are unlike anything I have ever seen. The surface of each globe has been covered in paper that has been lithographed (I guess). They are exceptional, beautiful works. Each panel of paper is shaped so that the images come together when adhered to the globe:

Detail of the globe, exceptional:

As I understand it, parades were held where all of the groups and trades were represented by these very large wooden, I’m sorry, I have no idea what they are called, but they are used in the same way as a flag. On the top of the pole, a carved sculpture would symbolise their trade or group:

An example, possibly traders of bulk goods?: