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Château du Bosc: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Uncertain future for the château

One of my favourite trips in France (and I have a great many) is to Château du Bosc. Hidden away in the tiny Aveyron commune of Camjac, 40 kms north-east of Albi, the château was the family home of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s paternal grandmother, Charlotte-Louise Gabrielle, the Comtesse Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec (née d’Imbert

du Bosc).

There is a correction of 'Montfa' on this copy of his birth certificate.
Henri sometimes signed his name as 'Monfa'

Although born at the Hôtel du Bosc in Albi, Henri Marie Raymond de Toulouse-Lautrec-Montfa (his full name) spent much of his early life at the château. Toulouse, Lautrec, and Montfa refer to places where his forebears had been the lords in previous generations. Lautrec in the Tarn département, listed in Les Plus Beaux-Villages de France scheme, is famous today for its ail rose – pink garlic. Château de Montfa, 10 kms away, lies in ruins, but has recently been acquired by L’association des Amis Château de Montfa with an aim of restoring some parts of it and opening it to the public.

I first visited Château du Bosc in July 2013. On this occasion my guide was a lovely and helpful Parisian student, Mlle Pauline Sudriès. I was introduced to the great grand-niece of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Comtesse Nicole Tapié de Celeyran. “Je ne suis pas née Comtesse - alors appelle-moi Nicole!” Nicole lived in the château, which at the time of my visit was visibly crumbling. Peeling paintwork, shutters and doors hanging loose, and stonework in need of repair. I was immediately concerned for the future of the château – it was owned by the family and not by the State. Toulouse-Lautrec himself was the single heir to the château, but as he died young (aged 36) it was passed on to his eldest first cousin Raoul Tapié de Celeyran. Nicole is Raoul’s granddaughter.

Comtesse Nicole Tapié de Celeyran
photo Graham Twemlow 2014

Nicole Tapié de Celeyran died on the 12 August 2016 at the age of 91. In her later years she had been concerned about the future of the château, and a recent court case took place in which distant Tapié de Celeyran relatives, M. et Mme Putzola, laid claim to the estate. 15 descendants have grouped together and contested the will, arguing that the couple persuaded Nicole to will the estate over to them in the months before her death. The couple, originally charged with “abuse de faiblesse” were found guilty and given an 18-month suspended sentence, appealed and found innocent in September 2021. I assume the 15 descendants will contest this result, but meanwhile M. et Mme Putzola continue to live in the château – it is once again open to the public.

This photograph, taken in 2017, shows that the château has undergone some restoration - shutters repaired and painted

Even at an early age Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was a master draughtsman. This, a portrait of his mother, Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec, whom he adored, sitting on a bench in the garden at Château du Bosc. He was 17 years old.

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
La Comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1882

MuséeToulouse-Lautrec, Albi In 1883 Adèle acquired a chateau of her own, Chateau Malromé in the commune of Saint-André-du-Bois, south east of Bordeaux in the Entre-Deux-Mers region. It came with 34 hectares of vineyards (the present owners claim that the vineyard had been there for centuries, but in a letter to her mother Adèle stated that she planned to plant vines on part of the land – perhaps that was in addition to those that already existed). Here Henri painted other portraits of his mother. This one shows her looking pensively at an 18th century Sevres porcelain cup and saucer decorated in a floral design. A cup and saucer from this tea set can be seen today in a vitrine at the Château du Bosc

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, La Comtesse Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec petit déjeuner au Château de Malromé, 1883 Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Albi

Henri often visited his mother at Chateau Malromé and eventually died there on 9 September 1901, aged 36 His tomb can be found in the cemetery of the nearby Baroque church at Verdelais


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