I’ve always admired Professor Henry Higgins’ beautiful library in the 1964 version of My Fair Lady, featuring two-stories filled with dark wood bookcases, wood carving, and an elaborate spiral staircase. Until recently though, I hadn’t realized that the set was based on an historic library.
Academy award winning designer Sir Cecil Walter Hardy Beaton CBE, found inspiration for Henry Higgins’ library in the library at The Château de Groussay. Beaton was an English fashion, portrait and war photographer, diarist, painter, interior designer and a stage and costume designer for films and the theater. His most lauded achievement for the stage was the costumes for Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, which led to two Lerner and Loewe film musicals, Gigi and My Fair Lady, both of which earned Beaton the Academy Award for Costume Design.
Groussay is located within 50 kms of west of Paris, France in the town of Montfort-l’Amaury, in the Department of Yvelines. It was built in 1815 by the Duchess of Charost, the daughter of Madame de Tourzel, governess to the children of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.