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Work Paneling and furniture of the Grand Salon of the Château d'Abondant

Department of Decorative Arts: 18th century: rococo

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Lambris

© 1994 RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Decorative Arts
18th century: rococo

Author(s):
Dryansky Larisa

The Grand Salon of the Château d'Abondant, an almost complete décor from the 1750s, entered the Decorative Arts Department of the Louvre in 1989 through a gift. Produced between 1747 and 1750 for Louis II du Bouchet de Sourches, it was installed by a team of Parisian artisans in the extension added by Bouchet to the château inherited from his father. The paneling and furniture are perfectly representative of the evolution of the rocaille style in the 1750s toward more sober ornamentation.

The Château d'Abondant

The Château d'Abondant became the property of the du Bouchet de Sourches family in 1645 and remained with its descendants until 1902. In 1699, the estate went to the courtier Louis-François du Bouchet de Sourches. When he died in 1746, it was passed on to his son, Louis II du Bouchet de Sourches. The distribution of rooms having changed in France since the 17th century, Louis II transformed the château to adapt it to the new ways. In particular, he had two large pavilions added on either end of the main building. The work was directed by the architect Jean Mansart de Jouy (1705–after 1779). In the right pavilion was a large salon, which gave onto the park. This room had a square design with curved angles, and was lit by three windows on the parterre side, and three others on the park side. This is the Grand Salon now in the Musée du Louvre. It was dismantled in 1902 to be reassembled in 1903 in the new Parisian mansion of the Countess Lafond. Dismantled and reassembled again with transformations in 1955, the salon was dismantled one last time in 1988 and reconstituted at the Louvre in 1994.

The wall paneling of the Grand Salon

The delicately carved paneling is the work of the woodcarver François-Simon Houlié (d. 1787). The wood is painted green, the color chosen for this wing of the château. It is a very light green mixed with gray and set off with a more intense shade of aqua. The paneling is divided into two parts. The paneled dado is decorated with rectilinear molding, with tiny flowers tacked into the pattern's corners ; the upper panels are bordered with curving and scrolling molding adorned with acanthus foliage, palms, cartouches and flowers. The ornaments are arranged quite symmetrically, a sign of the more sober development of rocaille in the 1750s. The rocaille style is also represented here by the Sarrancolin marble chimneypiece sculpted by Louis Trouard. As a final touch to the décor the overdoor panels are painted with scenes by Jacques de Sève, a painter and draftsman known for his illustrations of Buffon's Natural History. They depict children's games in the Chinese style: music playing and dancing, "Chinese" fishing and chess, swings and the rehearsal of a play. The taste for exoticism is apparent in these monochrome paintings as it was in other rooms of the château also decorated with Chinese pictures by Jacques de Sève. The theme of children playing was not randomly selected but signified the use of the 'Grand Salon', which was reserved for the son of Louis II, then nine years old. The room was hung with fabric also in the Chinese taste: Pekin with a motif of flowers and branches.

Furniture typical of the 1750s.

The furniture set is composed of two settees, two fauteuils à la Reine — placed up against the dado — and of four console tables. The scrolling and curved backs of the settees, adorned with alternating clasps and flowers, adopt the design of the frames surrounding the pier glasses. The fauteuils are still covered with the original paint and petit-point upholstery in a variation of the motifs of the Pekin curtains. The four consoles are painted a gray green and each decorated with a clasp asymmetrically placed on the stretcher. Considered separately, the tables seem completely asymmetrical. Seen together, however, they appear symmetrical in relation to one another. All four are topped with Sarrancolin marble matching the marble of the chimneypiece. This ensemble was completed by a group of light and movable seats (courants) stamped by Michel Cresson and designed along the same lines as the rest. The painting was the work of the widow Chavard in association with Jean-François Chevalier. These furnishings are very representative of the style of the 1750s with their combination of rocaille ornamentation and symmetry.

Bibliography

B. Pons, Les Grands Décors français 1650-1800, Paris, Faton, 1995, pp. 253-268
B. G. P. Pallot, Le Mobilier du Musée du Louvre, t 2, Paris, Faton, 1993, p 66-68.
Catalogue d’exposition : « Nouvelles Acquisitions du Département des Objets d’art 1985-1989 », Paris, 1990, pp. 145-149

Technical description

  • Menuisier : François-Simon HOULIÉ (1710 ? - 1787)

    Lambris

  • Chêne sculpté et peint

  • Provenance : grand salon du château d'AbondantDon du laboratoire L. Lafon, 1989 , 1989

    OA 11234

  • Decorative Arts

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