November 30, 2021
The castle of Moulinsart is a castle located in the fictitious locality of the same name and imagined by Hergé for his comic book series Les Aventures de Tintin. Tintin is host to Captain Haddock at the end of the series.
The castle first appears in the album Le Secret de La Licorne.
Tintin first discovers vast undergrounds where he is held prisoner. In May 1942, a period during which Hergé was preparing for the adventure, the press gave wide coverage to the archaeological excavations in the Romanesque crypts of Nivelles and the Saint-Martin abbey in Tournai. They are perhaps a source of inspiration for the places designed by Hergé. Precisely, these sites are in the region where the Merovingians settled, of which Professor Tournesol is looking for a tomb in the park of Moulinsart.
These cellars serve as a deposit of antiques. To draw the accumulated pieces, Hergé borrows from the engravings published in the Larousse encyclopedia in two volumes. He will do the same to design the interior furnishings of the castle, mixing the different eras.
Tintin then discovered the upper parts of the castle, including the main staircase and the upstairs room, from where he telephoned Captain Haddock. The fireplace in this room is inspired by that of the king's bedroom at the Château de Cheverny, of which Hergé used a tourist brochure. It is in this room that Tintin discovers both the identity of his jailers, the Loiseau brothers, antique dealers, and the name of the place, Moulinsart; this document is also used by Hergé to draw the staircase in which his hero arrives while leaving the crypt in which he was locked, taking again during this scene the same angle as that of a photograph of the prospectus and reproducing even the country sculptures .
It is only towards the end of the following adventure, Red Rackham's Treasure, that the general appearance of the exterior is revealed. Moulinsart is a replica of the Château de Cheverny, from which the two imposing side pavilions would have been removed, in order to give it a less imposing appearance for the lifestyle of its characters and to adapt well to the format of the drawing sheet. Hergé also took other liberties with this castle, by inventing a crypt for the sake of the intrigue.
Hergé never clearly explained the reason for his choice of model. But at the time of the creation of the fictitious castle, it was in the Loire Valley that we observed the greatest density of castles open to the public. Also, the symmetry of the Chateau de Cheverny matches perfectly with the clear line.
In Coke en stock (page 10), Captain Haddock acquires a painting by Alfred Sisley: Le Canal du Loing. At this time, in 1956, Hergé discovered a growing passion for painting and even considered giving up comics. He becomes the imaginary owner of this canvas, which he could neither paint nor afford, thanks to Captain Haddock.
The name of Moulinsart
The name of Moulinsart was invented by Hergé by reversing that of a hamlet of Braine-l'Alleud, Sart-Moulin, located south of Brussels. The first element is the toponymic name sart, a swallowed form of "clearing", common in Romanesque Belgium as well as in the North of France. This hamlet, whose name therefore means "the land cleared (near) the mill", is known to Hergé through the visits he paid to José De Launoit, then designer for the newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle and inhabitant of Braine-l'Alleud. . The latter's wife, Alice Devos, then became Hergé's collaborator. Curiously, in the radio adaptation of the album, broadcast by RTF as part of the series of the adventures of Tintin from December 24, 1959 to February 6, 1960, the castle of Moulinsart became during some