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A virgin and child, rare "survivor" of the castle of La Rochepot in Côte-d'Or


HERITAGE - To bail out the debts of its owner, a Ukrainian billionaire, the furniture of this neo-Gothic building was sold at auction. The mobilization of the inhabitants made it possible to save some objects including this sculpture, sheltered in the neighboring parish of Nolay ....

This castle is in itself a lesson in architecture.

A neo-Burgundian style from the 12th century, reworked in the 15th century, then completely restored in the 19th century with its glazed Burgundy tiles.

La Rochepot, located about fifteen km south-west of Beaune, separated on Sunday October 10 from a large part of its historic furniture, more than 500 objects, dispersed during a sale at the Beaune auction house .

These auctions attended by two hundred people on the spot, as well as by nearly a thousand Internet users, did not have the function of dissipating the cumbersome legacy of a rich collector, but of paying off the debts of a dead man. alive and well.

That of Ukrainian millionaire Dmitri Malinovsky.

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Declared dead in 2014, following a tragic accident on Ukrainian roads, the squire and oligarch was put in irons in Nancy four years later. Arrested with his wife by Europol, Dmitri Malinovsky is accused by the Kiev prosecutor's office of

"international fraud and money laundering"

to the tune of more than 12 million euros.

However, the incredible nature of this criminal affair does not make people laugh in Côte-d'Or, where the unusual setting of Ukrainian tax exile is located: the Burgundian neo-Gothic castle of La Rochepot.

This decayed ensemble fell into ruin when it was restored, from 1893, by the family of the President of the Third Republic, Sadi Carnot.

Restored at great expense and become one of the most visited sites in the region, the castle was bought in 2015 by the enigmatic Ukrainian couple.

It suffers today from their neglect, to the chagrin of the 300 inhabitants of the town.

Curious people visit the castle of La Rochepot, on October 8, 2021, before the auction, on October 10, of more than 500 pieces of its furniture.


The parish of Nolay saves a Virgin

From the town hall of the town to the Departmental Council via the Agglomeration Community, the local elected officials have been helpless in the dispersal of the furniture of the castle, after not having been able to obtain the postponement

. "The sale seems to me, if not to deal a fatal blow, at least to remove part of the attraction of the castle"

, had thus noted, for AFP, the deputy of 5th district of Côte-d'Or Didier Paris (LREM).

Unable to prevent the inevitable, various actors took it upon themselves to save what could be saved, like the parish of Nolay.

Neighboring La Rochepot, the religious community mobilized the last two days before the sale to buy back, for 5,000 euros, the polychrome statue of a Virgin and Child from the 15th-16th century.

An amount that was collected in record time thanks to the generosity and involvement of local residents.

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“We are all very happy, the Virgin and Child will stay in the village. She had many admirers at the castle, no doubt she will have many visits to Saint-Georges church, because she has a story

, welcomed Bernadette Lamy, a resident of La Rochepot who participated in mobilization for the safeguard of the castle heritage.

It represents a bit of our heritage; some will come to visit her for this, others will show their attachment to the Virgin Mary, others will pray. (…) She is the only survivor of the castle who will remain in the church: a beautiful symbol! ”

Despite their attachment to the castle, the inhabitants of La Rochepot witnessed the scattering of its furniture almost powerless. The future of this historic site, which received up to a few tens of thousands of visitors per year, is now covered with uncertainties. JEFF PACHOUD / AFP

“The statue of the Virgin was known to all and was one of the strong symbols of the castle since it recalls the motto of Lord Reigner Pot

(lord of La Rochepot, chamberlain and advisor to the Duke of Burgundy at the end of the 14th - early 15th century ,

Editor's note


 : “To the beautiful as it is worth” ”

, testified for

Le Figaro

Father Dominique Garnier, parish priest of Meursault and Nolay. Sheltered since the end of the Middle Ages in the small chapel of this fortified residence, the 1.65 meter high sculpture will leave the old house of the lords of La Rochepot in the coming days, with the help of the local mason.

“There is an attachment of many inhabitants to this castle in which their lives have been intertwined,

Dominique Garnier said.

It was also the economic heart of the village because of all the visitors who passed there, nearly 25,000 per year ”


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The Virgin and Child of the castle of La Rochepot is far from being the only vestige of the places to take off. The sale of the 527 pieces of furniture brought in nearly 450,000 euros, three times more than what the initial estimates suggested. A painting of the Hospices de Beaune by Édouard Darviot (1859-1921) fetched 2,700 euros, thirteen times its modest starting estimate. The highlight of the sale, a Buddha in carved, lacquered and gilded wood, offered by the Chinese Empress Tseu-Hi to Sadi Carnot, sold for 52,000 euros. An


de Diderot and an atlas by Jean-Baptiste Bourguignon d'Anville were also sold for 3,100 and 4,150 euros respectively. The State, for its part, pre-empted a batch of plaster sculptures from the Belle Époque, signed by Dijon artist Xavier Schanosky (1867-1915).



for its

"incredible results"

, according to the declaration of the auctioneer Grégoire Muon collected by our colleagues from France 3, the Sunday sale leaves a bitter taste to residents of La Rochepot as well as to lovers of glazed tiles and with the sparkling pepper shakers of the castle. The day before the auction, the former custodian of the site, Romuald Pouleau, was sorry about the situation with AFP:

"La Rochepot emptied of its entrails will no longer be La Rochepot."

An abatement shared, unfortunately, by the parish priest of Nolay.

"The mobilization is, I think, over

," says Father Dominique Garnier.

The furniture having been sold in its entirety.

The castle will undoubtedly be… in a few years after the legal proceedings. ”

In La Rochepot, the broken pots of the Ukrainian affair may well throw, in the long term, this secular residence in the oblivion of the local heritage.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-10-17

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