Castle de Renesse in Oostmalle is just over half an hour from Dove Cottage, in the north of the Province of Antwerp, a quiet, rural area dotted with heathland and pine woods, the smell of which transport me back to my childhood. The village of Oostmalle's claim to fame is that it was hit by a tornado in 1967.
The earliest traces of the castle date from the 15th Century, the only visible remains being the keep tower.
In 1542, the castle was destroyed by raiding troops, who burned down both the castle and the village.
A couple of years later, Jan van Renesse built a new castle and outbuidings. It is said that the castle was visited by such dignitaries as Emperor Charles V, William I, Prince of Orange and Margaret of Parma.
Unfortunately, in the next couple of centuries, the castle was regularly plundered and used as a soldiers' billet, until it fell into decline, and the upper court and farm buildings were dismantled in 1793.
In 1830 the de Renesse family left the castle and it was sold to a certain Viscount Leonard du Bus de Gisignies (quite a mouthful!), who converted the service buildings to a country house. An English garden was established in the park and several Sequoias were planted.
During both World Wars, German troops moved into the castle. There's a story that during WWI, a German officer committed murder and then suicide, and legend has it that he is the notorious castle ghost, who is still roaming the castle to this day.
A final make-over took place in 1920, when the castle was renovated in Flemish neo-renaissance style. The building work, however, was stopped after the completion of the right wing.
The castle has been protected since 1982, and has been under the ownership of the local authorities since 1983.
Stalls were set up on two floors, allowing us to take in the opulent, if in places somewhat shabby interior, which is awaiting the necessary funds for restoration.
As we had hoped, the Brooch Lady had a stall, and Jos took the opportunity to take some photographs while I was browsing the many treasures she'd brought, so that you can finally meet this formidable, 85 year old lady.
I found two more brooches at other stalls. The trio of flowers (bottom right) is a Celluloid one, which I bought from the Brooch Lady's neighbour, who apparently took a shine on me and almost halved the original asking price.
Still on the ground floor, we fell in love with this exquisitely decorated Art Deco trinket box made from green Bakelite.
The owner told us it was produced by a Belgian company called Ebena, whose factory was in Wijnegem, near Antwerp. For only 10 years, between 1921 and 1931, they produced beautifully decorated Bakelite objects, like tobacco and cigarette boxes, bonbon boxes, toiletry sets, vases and jewellery boxes.
At a stall on the first floor selling haberdashery, old lace (and possibly some arsenic in an old apothecary’s case) and a myriad other little treasures, Mr. S and I both found hats, which we ended up wearing for the rest of the day.
Afterwards, we returned to our car to retrieve our picnic basket, which we took to a conveniently placed picnic seat, with a view of the castle across the lake.
Properly fortified, we then took off for a walk around the domain.
The view of the castle over the lake is quite picturesque, so much so that a frame has been erected in the perfect spot for taking photographs.
Soon we came to this little gazebo perched upon a knoll, which we climbed for a better view. It seemed to be purely for decoration, as there was no way to get inside.
Little did we know that it was built on top of an ice house. If we'd walked around the knoll itself, we would have seen the entrance. As it was, I only found out about the ice house while researching this post!
Our walk took us past a pretty little cottage, which used to be the bailiff's cottage, and which I would happily trade with Dove Cottage any time.
After negotiating the meandering paths through the park, we ended up at the back of the castle, where a magnificent, protected Sequoia was reigning over the domain.
We took turns to sit and pose on a beautifully weathered tree trunk. A perfect spot to sit and stare, mourning the fact that yet another weekend had almost come to its end.
I am leaving you now with the particulars of my spring outfit:
Jacket and both brooches: flea market (the fish brooch came from Wales)
Scarf: charity shopped
Cardigan, opaques, flower ring and booties: retail
Hat: bought that very day!
We finally see the Brooch Lady!ReplyDelete
What a lovely setting for an antique market. Love your Spring outfit, and the hat is a perfect addition.
Thank you Goody! The Brooch Lady was quite chuffed when I told her she would feature on my blog! xxxDelete
this is what i call a proper flea market! what a location! wow!ReplyDelete
and you & jos look like the owners of the place! :-) fabulous! seeing you with the brooch lady i saw YOU with 80+ years - selling your collection of beautiful brooches.......
huge hugs! xxxxx
Oh, that's so sweet, Beate. I hope I'll still look as good as her when I'm 80+. xxxDelete
What a wonderful day out you had! It sounds perfect to me; visiting old buildings, exploring beautiful grounds; buying gorgeous things and a picnic, too.ReplyDelete
I love your brooches and the Bakelite box is gorgeous.
The hat really sets your outfit off - you do look very 'Lady of the Manor' in it. I also loved your previous outfit post where you wore a lovely orange cardigan.
Have a great week
Thank you Veronica. It was a perfect day in all respects. Hope you are having a great time in Ireland in the meantime! xxxDelete
The 1930's plastic brooch caught my eye, I really like it. I love the colours you wear, you look beautifully dressed for your very interesting day out. How nice to combine sightseeing with an antiques market and finding some great accessories too! XxxReplyDelete
Thank you Sally! I wish there were more flea and antique markets in locations like that. It was very atmospheric and those pretty things on sale looked very much at home in the castle. xxxDelete
I was expecting something a bit more 'Twin Peaks' from the Brooch Lady! Thanks for taking us with you on your day out. I liked the Arsenic and Old Lace reference. XReplyDelete
Haha, I'd actually completely forgotten about "the log lady" until I read your comment. Glad you like the reference! xxxDelete
The brooch lady looks fantastic, selling vintage must keep her young (I hope!)ReplyDelete
The castle is gorgeous as are the pair of you in your vintage finery! xxx
Of course it's what's keeping her (and you!) young. I'm thinking of doing some vintage selling myself soon ;-) xxxDelete
Hurrah for the brooch lady! I love the ones you bought.ReplyDelete
Thanks Gisela. Bought some more last Saturday ... xxxDelete
what a cool place and your brooches are fabReplyDelete
Thanks Kate! xxxDelete
What a lovely day! Gorgeous old castle in beautiful surroundings (I love pine smell too! Actually Pine Woods is the name of the town where I grew up in Siberia, if you translate it from Russian :).ReplyDelete
The Brooch lady is just wonderful, she doesn't seem to look her age - young spirit! Love your new finds!
You look fantastic in your Spring outfit, and the new hat topped it off just perfectly!
Thank you! We used to have a caravan in the area, where we spent many weekends when I was growing up. So, the smell of pine woods always makes me think of that time! xxxDelete
What a majestic building and how lucky were you going on a day when there was an antiques market. You found some lovely treasures there too, that Bakelite box is a dream! xxReplyDelete
Thank you, Cate! I had a feeling the Bakelite box would be your thing ... xxxDelete
such a magnificent place for an antique market!, a really great background! and I love all your pictures! glad we met The Brooches Lady, she looks like a fabulous lady!ReplyDelete
And your spring outfit looks fabulous too, lovely colors and lovely floral dress, such a cute print!. And that's a cool accessorizing!
Thank you Monica! I thought was time I properly introduced the Brooch Lady. I told her she'd be on my blog, and also that we called her the Brooch Lady, which she liked! xxxDelete
That looks like a lovely place simply to visit, let alone get in a spot of shopping at the same time. Those floral brooches are really pretty.ReplyDelete
Thank you Mim. It was such a great day, and that market was fab, although quite expensive, generally. xxxDelete
I am very taken with your outfit, the colours really suit you. You'll never guess but I have a bag quite similar to yours, which is lovely. Bag twins now.ReplyDelete
Don't you wonder where all the money came from to keep rebuilding that wonderful pile. Isnt history a marvellous thing. xxx
Bag twins! Now why am I not surprised? I love a bit of history, but yes I do wonder about all the wealth, and where it came from. xxxDelete
My, what a beautiful place! So stunning! Love the folly atop the icehouse xxxReplyDelete
Now why is it I always think of you when I see a folly? This one was really pretty! xxxDelete