LE ROY, Philibert
(d. 1636)

Biography

French architect and engineer. He was the "royal engineer and architect" to King Louis XIII.

In 1625 Le Roy was working for the King's brother, Gaston, duc d'Orléans. By 1627 he had become a royal architect and was involved in some small projects on behalf of the king. One of these was the construction of a tennis court at the King's hunting lodge at Versailles, a village a few kilometres from Paris. From 1631 he was employed in the creation of a small chateau replacing the existing hunting lodge. This phase of construction was completed in 1634.

It was this small château of three wings around an open court that would eventually become the core of the great château at Versailles built by Louis XIV. Le Roy's original château was of a simple construction. Its walls were of cream coloured stone which framed stuccoed panels. These panels were painted to resemble bricks. The château's roof was of blue slate. The colours employed by the architect were no coincidence, but reflected the red, white and blue of the King's livery.

In appearance, Le Roy's Château de Versailles is not dissimilar from François Mansart's designs for the Château de Maisons. A near contemporary of the Versailles château, the construction of Maisons is considered a defining moment in French architecture's drift towards the Baroque style.



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