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

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Marie Antoinette's cabinet doré at Versailles

The fully restored/refurbished cabinet doré.  (The other images show the work in progress.)

At Versailles, behind the state rooms of the queen of France, lie several very small private rooms ranged around two dark interior courtyards.  The most important room of the petit appartement de la reine is the grand cabinet intérieur.  In 1783 Marie Antoinette ordered a complete redecoration of this small salon.  The décor was the design of the queen's architect Richard Mique, and the new carved and gilded boiseries, in a beautifully severe neoclassical style - the work of the Rousseau brothers - caused the room to be renamed the cabinet doré.

Toward the end of the Revolution, most of the furniture at Versailles was sold off, starting in August of 1793.  In the modern refurnishing of the palace, it is fairly rare that a room will accommodate its original furnishings; the museum has often been unable to acquire the original furniture and, in many cases, the rooms that once housed much of the fine pieces they have acquired no longer exist.  (Also, before the Revolution, furniture was often replaced and/or moved to another residence, which makes it hard to know to what state a room should be restored.)   In the cabinet doré, the paneling, mantlepiece, and chandelier are all original to the room.  Of the furniture - by the likes of Riesener and Jacob and Weisweiler - most was owned by the queen, but made for other settings.

At great cost, this salon has recently been very much restored/refurbished;
the desk, alone, was purchased by the state in 2011 for 6.75 million euros.
(In these last two images, the embellishments to the the divan and screen
have not been added, and the drapery above the alcove is not in place.)
A fauteuil from the suite of seat furniture by
Georges Jacob, originally in the Tuileries.
The queen's desk, made in 1783 by Riesener for the salon of the maison de la Reine of the Hameau at Trianon.

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