Palace-Turned-School ‘La Martinière’ In Lucknow Gets Featured In Vogue, See Inside Pics

Vogue is one of India’s top magazines and often stars in the dreams of celebs from different walks of life. Featuring in one of the articles is considered a big deal, think about making it to the cover of the magazine.

When a palace turned school from India was featured in the magazine, students and alumni of the school were overjoyed.

For the ‘Culture and Living’ segment of Vogue India, the newly restored palace-turned-school in Lucknow ‘La Martinière’ was featured.

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In the article, the author beautifully talks of the school’s history, the artistic marvel it is, and the magnificent eye of a Frenchman named Claude Martin from Lyon who built the palace in Lucknow in the 18th century.

Looking for adventure, the soldier fled Lyon and fought against the British. He slowly and stealthily made his way into the company of the Nawab of Awadh, Asaf-ud-Daula, at Lucknow and became the wealthiest firang in India. He then built an elegant house on the banks of the Gomti river.

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“He had the cellars designed to flood during hot weather, covered the ceilings with mirrors to reflect the ripples of the river, and christened it Château de Lyon. Martin filled his mansion with Enlightenment-era treasures, including ranks of classical statues and a philosophical library with many Oriental manuscripts,” read the article.

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He also had a vast collection of textiles and exotic animals that could be seen in his palace.

“From silver tissue and gold-threaded brocade to coarse chintz and country silk, Martin also amassed a vast textile collection, which he had fashioned into turbans, sashes, tents, and, his pride and joy, a set of four Gobelins tapestries from Paris depicting exotic panthers, lions, and horses.”

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Vibrant color schemes, wooden furniture, paintings, statues, and rare artifacts decorated his palace. But he never saw the house completed when he died in 1800.

“As surreal and fanciful as its squire, Constantia’s façade is dominated by a peculiar array of statues, including a pair of enormous lions, their mouths once lit with glowing red lanterns. No less ambitious is the interior, on which with unbridled audacity Martin lavished arabesques, bas-reliefs, and riotous stucco. It was rumored that he had even imported plaster-of-Paris plaques from Josiah Wedgwood, but subsequent scholarship has concluded they bear the mark of local craftsmen.”

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It’s said that Martin foresaw his death and made arrangements for his fantastical fort to be endowed as a boys’ school, named La Martinière College, along with two others in Calcutta and Lyon.

Over two centuries later, his last wish has turned into reality by conservation architect Dr. Neeta Dass, the principal Carlyle McFarland, and the generosity of the school’s alumni.

“Thanks to this disparate band of tireless champions, along with organizations such as ‘Alliance Française’ in India, La Martinière once more stands gleaming. It remains a beacon of learning and belonging for generations of Martinians, who flock to the annual Founder’s Day from all over the world and proudly see themselves as sons of the ‘Frenchman among the mangoes’.”

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Fellow Martinians online were proud of the history they belonged to. This is how they reacted:

Some couldn’t believe that this artistic marvel is actually a school.

It’s indeed pretaaaaaayyyy! Minus the grave, I would have loved to live inside this school.

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