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Chillon Castle Dungeon

Chillon Castle Dungeon, Lac Léman, Switzerland- by Prue Bishop
sculptural watercolour in a box frame 70 x 50 x 8 cm

To mark the 200th annivesrary since Lord Byron called on Chillon Castle, then published The Prisoner of Chillon, that includes:

Prisonner of Chillon II

In June 1816 - the 'year without a summer' caused by April's catastrophic eruption of the Tambora volcano in Indonesia - Lord Byron and his friend Percy Bysshe Shelley visited the Château de Chillon: an especially imposing castle set on a small rocky island on the shore of 'Lac Léman' (Lake Geneva) near Montreux in Switzerland.

Whilst showing his honorable guests around the entire castle, the warden regailed them with its history, including that of François Bonivard, a Geneva larger-than-life patriot and political activist who had been imprisoned in a dungeon there for 6 years from 1530.

Lord Byron was so inspired by this account that he immediately wrote a greatly embellished version entitled 'The Prisoner of Chillon'. Not only was this poetic 'fable' a great success, but it wove the lake and the earlier extremely successful romantic tale ''La Nouvelle Héloïse" by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (pub 1761) into the fabric of the Romantic Movement.  

The Canton Vaud authorities that owned the castle were apparantly very slow to capitalise on this interest, but nowadays this is Switzerland's No 1 tourist attraction, and indeed very well worth a visit. It is so large that one may easily spend several interesting hours there not only looking at the many rooms and exhibits but also looking out on the various views.

In the summer, you may extend the romantic spirit of Chillon by coming and going - or taking a round trip - on one of the early 20th century paddle-steamers.


This Sculptural Watercolour is available for exhibition.  It is not for sale


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