Arts & Entertainment

Tintin’s Professor Tarragon’s villa for sale

Watermael-Boitsfort, Belgium, Apr 29 (EFE).- The real mansion house Belgian cartoonist Hergé used as inspiration for Professor Tarragon’’s home in ‘The 7 Crystal Balls’ is on sale for $1.6 million.

The 1905 bourgeois villa, which boasts 425 square meters of living space and a vast wooded garden, was designed by architect Alban Chambon for the family behind multinational chemical company Solvay and is now on sale for 1,480,000 euros ($1.62 million).

The facade of Number 6 – on Delleur Avenue, in the commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, a Brussels residential suburb – was accurately depicted on pages 27 and 28 of the comic.

At the time Hergé (1907-1983) created the story, he was living in a much more humble home on number 17 on the same street.

One day, while taking a stroll with colleague Edgar P. Jacobs, he spotted the mansion and decided it was the perfect setting for Professor Tarragon’s house.

They sketched the building’s exterior but did not reproduce the interior to avoid issues with the Nazis, as they thought that the house was occupied by Gestapo officers.

“Hergé never entered (…). He started making comics during World War II, during the German occupation, and it was difficult for a cartoonist to make sketches, even dangerous because they could have taken him for a spy or a terrorist,” Maxime Blause, head of the We Invest real estate company in charge of the sale, tells EFE.

The Nazis could also have confused him with a member of the Resistance conspiring against occupation forces, although the cartoonist, whose real name was Georges Remi, was not overtly critical of Nazi ideology, a fact that continues to cast a shadow on his legacy.

Thus, Hergé let his imagination run wild for his sketches of the villa’s rooms where Tintin investigates the disappearance of several archaeologists linked to the discovery of an Inca tomb in Peru.

The Belgian creator often drew inspiration from real places, such as the Moulinsart Castle where Captain Haddock resides which is inspired by the French castle of Cheverny, or the house of Professor

Topolino which was recreated from a house in the Swiss town of Nyon.

Heger also used real people to create his fictitious characters, and Professor Tarragon’s real-life template was Belgian Jean François Désiré Capart (1877-1947), an ethnographer and Egyptologist.

The current owners of the house have kept a framed cover of the Tintin album in the lobby honoring the house’s link to ‘The 7 Crystal Balls’.

“The value is estimated on the house’s square meters, on the value of the land and the construction, but not really on the added value of Tintin and Professor Tarragon,” the seller adds. EFE


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