L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Belvedere at the Petit Trianon, Versailles

Between 1788 and 1781, to the designs of her personal architect, Richard Mique, a music salon was built for Marie Antoinette on a small artificial hill at Trianon, part of the new "English" garden on the estate. Called the Belvédère du Petit Trianon, or the Pavillon du rocher - after the adjacent artificial rock formation, waterfall, and grotto - it is a small octagonal stone "folly" in the neoclassical style. The four overdoors - incorporating attributes of gardening and hunting - and the carvings above the four windows - representing the Seasons - as well as the eight sphinxes flanking the pavilion are the work of the sculptor Joseph Deschamps, assisted by the young Pierre Cartellier. The interior is richly decorated with arabesques painted in oil on stucco by Sébastien François Leriche, while the ceiling painting was created by Jean-Jacques Lagrenée le Jeune, and the floor is a beautiful mosaic of white, red, green, and bleu turquin marble. In fine weather, the pavilion was furnished with eight armchairs - fauteuils en bergère - and eight chairs - chaises à dossier - the work of François II Foliot, and based on the models of architect Jacques Gondouin. (Delivered in 1781, the costly chairs were sold off during the Revolution; just one has been returned to Versailles.) After a year of meticulous restoration, the renewed and preserved Belvedere was inaugurated in June of 2012.

An anonymous watercolor made soon after the construction of the Belvedere.
One of the original chairs. The original upholstery was of painted blue and white silk, luxuriously trimmed.
Apparently, the embroidered fabric on this chair - not the one at Versailles - was modeled after the design of the original.


Most of the images in this post were adapted from those on the Andrewhopkinsart blogspot, whose own post on the subject tells the story of the Belvedere expertly!


  1. one of my favorite places in the world. I wrote about my experience there and some of my (not nearly as good photographs) on my blog in 2009

    1. When I was there in the Autumn of '94, it was looking pretty shabby, the sphinxes all worn down. So glad for the recent restoration - which looks like they avoided the over-restoration that's come to be rather a blight at Versailles.

  2. Superb design and execution. It is a tiny gemstone, and the perfect palce for a quiet retereat from the world.

  3. Those are the politest Sphinxes I've ever seen. Lace bras!