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French château near Tours, Indre-et-Loire (see fig.). It was built in 1518–28 by an unknown architect for Gilles Berthelot (d 1529), a financier from Tours in the service of Francis I. The stone château, surrounded on three sides by the River Indre, has an L-shaped plan under steep slate roofs. The medieval château of Azay, belonging to the Ridel family, had been destroyed by fire in 1418, although its original keep survived. The château subsequently passed to the Berthelot family, and in 1518 Gilles Berthelot put his wife, Philippe Lesbahy, assisted by the curé of St-Cyr, Guillaume Artault, in charge of supervising its reconstruction. Berthelot, however, was implicated in the prosecution of Jacques, Baron de Somblançay (c. 1457–1527), Minister of Finance to Francis I, and in 1528 the château was confiscated by the King. This effectively put an end to the building programme, leaving unfinished two of the four wings. In 1845 the medieval keep was rebuilt as a circular tower in Renaissance style, terminating the east wing, and a corbelled circular corner turret was added at the end of the south wing over the moat, to balance the turret built in the 16th century.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.