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Work Pair of fauteuils à la reine

Department of Decorative Arts: 18th century: neoclassicism

Pair of fauteuils à la reine (flat-back armchairs)

© 2010 RMN / Martine Beck-Coppola

Decorative Arts
18th century: neoclassicism

Author(s):
Catherine Voiriot

These two fauteuils are termed 'à la reine' in reference to their flat back. They were part of a set of twelve armchairs created for the 'Salon des Jeux' (or game room) of Louis XVI at the Château de Saint Cloud. The Metropolitan Museum, New York, owns one more item from this suite.
Their frame is made of gilt walnut. The upholstery is of brocaded silk with a design of rose vines. The backs and the seat rails are decorated with a continous border of entrelac and rosettes.

Fauteuils by Jacob

The two armchairs in the Musée du Louvre are not stamped, but a handwritten label on the reverse of the back rail indicates that they were created by the cabinetmaker and chairmaker Georges Jacob (1739-1814). Jacob delegated the task of carving and gilding so we do not know the names of the other artisans involved. Capin furnished the upholstery, which was rewoven in 1948 by Tassinari after the original model. It is a fabric from Lyon with a green ground and a design of rose vines.

The Louis XVI style

These fauteuils à la reine are in the style of Louis XVI. The legs are straight (and no longer curved as during the time of Louis XV) and turned; the arm supports are gondola-shaped. The backs of these chairs, like those of the Louis XV fauteuils à la reine, are flat, but Jacob innovated by making them square. This type of back is known as a square back 'à la reine'.

The Château de Saint Cloud

The château was built by Jules-Hardouin Mansart at the end of the 17th century for Philippe of Orléans, the brother of Louis XIV. Marie-Antoinette purchased it in 1785. Transformed under the direction of the architect Mique, it was then entirely fitted with new furniture. The set of twelve armchairs by Jacob was placed in the 'Salon des Jeux'. Conceived as the axis of the building, the 'Salon" was lit by three windows giving onto the 'Cour d'Honneur'.

Bibliography

Verlet Pierre, Le mobilier royal français, Paris, 1955, pp. 152-154, pl. XXXVI-XXXVII.

Catalogue de l'exposition Vingt ans d'acquisition au Musée du Louvre 1947-1967, n 285.

Pallot Bill, Le Mobilier du Musée du Louvre, tome 2, Dijon, 1993, pp. 166-168.

Technical description

  • Georges JACOB (Cheny, 1739 - Paris, 1814)

    Pair of fauteuils à la reine (flat-back armchairs)

    1787-88

    Paris

  • Gilded walnut ; rose-bush pattern silk redone after the original model of the upholstery delivered by Capin

    H. 1 m; W. 0.69 m; D. 0.60 m

  • Provenance: Salon des Jeux of Louis XVI at Saint-Cloud
    Acquired in 1948

    OA 9449 a, 9449 b

  • Decorative Arts

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