Jean Bourré, friend of the King
Jean bourré was born in the West of France in 1424 into a wealthy merchant family. When he was 19, after studying Law at the University of Paris, he joined the service of the Dauphin Louis, the son of Charles VII. As his private secretary, Jean Bourré was one of the main counselors of Louis and wrote all his private correspondence.
In 1461, the Dauphin became King Louis XI and Jean became his minister of Finance, role he kept until 1495 throughout the reigns of three kings. Thanks to his competences, he also had the functions of captain of the castles of Langeais and Angers and tutor of the Dauphin Charles VIII. He died at 82 in 1506, and his heart was buried in the chapel of the Plessis-Bourré.
Jean Bourré, the alchemist
The decoration of the guardroom, which follows the taste of the medieval society for symbolism in images, seems to testify Jean Bourré’s interest for alchemy. The ceiling commissioned by him is composed of 24 sections. 16 of them symbolize the search of the philosopher’s stone. The 8 last represent the laws that the alchemist has to follow during his quest. This iconography is completed by other decorations everywhere in the castle, especially on the façades and the main stairway.