The dressing room of Louis XVI
The final masterpiece of royal art in Versailles, built on the eve of the Revolution, the dressing room is one of the rare major arrangements undertaken by Louis XVI in his private apartments. This cabinet is entered by a door hidden in the hangings of the recess of the bedchamber, installed for Louis XV in 1738. Completed in 1788, the work effectively doubled the area of the room and divided the new volume into two levels: the dressing room and the entresol. This little cabinet of barely 13 square metres was then much better lit thanks to two large bay windows opening onto the Cour des Cerfs.
The dressing room of Louis XVI lined with carved woodwork and crowned by an architectural cornice, stands out for its exceptionally sophisticated décor. The sculpture for this set of rooms was commissioned to the brothers and sculptors Jean-Siméon and Jean-Hugues Rousseau, who, in this their last intervention in the Château, signed one of their most brilliant productions. Under the direction of the architect Richard Mique, the style and composition are characteristic of the brothers, and can also be found in the décors of the private apartments of Marie-Antoinette (golden cabinet in 1783 and bathroom in 1784) as well as the King's dressing room. In a neo-classical style, the carved and gilded décors show the main areas of Government: commerce, agriculture, the navy, war, the sciences and the arts. Nothing is futile in these illustrations, which are more typical of a study, in the style of a "studiolo" typical of the Italian Renaissance, than a place of "convenience", as indicated by the title of dressing room. This is indeed a place dedicated to work, a sort of rear cabinet, more intimate than the corner room. The King's serious and industrious character appears here, far removed from the frivolous or conventional themes so common in the décors created for his predecessor. This theme only has its equal in the cabinet du Conseil (the Council Room), the official room with allegorical representations of the activities of the government. According to a principle that was common in the 18th century, this series of rooms is decorated in a harmony of white and gold: all the mouldings and the carved areas are gilded in tempura and stand out against a white distemper background. The floor is covered with a wood-panel parquet known as Versailles, centred around the fireplace.
Restored in 2009 with the support of Lady Michelham of Hellingly through the Société des Amis de Versailles