DAMMARTIN, Guy de
Palais de Justice, Poitiers
Although the Paris court had lost much of its cultural pre-eminence, under Charles VI (1380-1422) in the closely related satellite courts of the king's uncles there developed a love of splendour which had never been known before. Each of these courts attempted to outdo the others. One of the king's uncles was Duke Jean de Berry, who had residences in Bourges, Riom, Mehun-sur-Yèvre, and Poitiers, furnished in a princely manner. Part of this involved divers building schemes, including costly new buildings. At the end of the 1380s Guy de Dammartin restored the Early Gothic palace of the duke's forebears, the dukes of Aquitaine.
The transformation of the Maubergeon tower was, apparently, undertaken on a decision of the duke of Berry at the beginning of December 1384, date at which the presence of Guy de Dammartin is attested in the city. By the end of the following month, the model of the tower was being prepared for the Duke, and construction began in May 1385. The showpiece of this work was the famous fireplace wall with which the narrow southern end of the great hall (dining hall from 1191-1204, called Salle des Pas Perdus, the "hall of lost footsteps", where a footfall was silenced by the vastness of its space) was newly closed off. The three-part fireplace stands at the top of several steps, like the backdrop of a stage. The gallery above the fireplace was for the use of musicians. A five-part composition of tracery windows with decorated gables fills the upper part of the wall.
The photo shows the interior of the great hall (Salle des Pas Perdus) of the ducal palace, now the Palais de Justice.