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The King's interior apartments



The King's interior apartments

The Petit Appartement du Roi, the "new rooms" and the neighbouring rooms overlook the Cour de Marbre on the right and the Cour Royale. Far from the tumult of the Grands Appartements, they are situated on the first floor of the central body of the Palace, and in the 18th century they became real living and working apartments decorated in a very sophisticated style. These rooms and their functions were continually renewed and adapted to the tastes of the occupier. They can be seen every day as par

The bedchamber of Louis XV

Not far from the great "bedchamber of Louis XIV" as impractical as it was majestic, Louis XV had a new, smaller, south-facing room installed in 1738, which was easier to heat. He died there on 10 May 1774 at one o'clock in the afternoon. The sculptor Jacques Verbeckt carved the woodwork and also the great palm trees and the royal coat of arms which decorate the recess screen. The only alterations ordered for Louis XVI consisted in the creation of a delightful little dressing-room entered through a little door to the left, and the delivery of a new set of furnishings including the gilt brocade lampas which reproduces the recess hangings present in 1789.

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

The clock room

Louis XV took great interest in the sciences and especially astronomy. On the floor of this room the Paris meridian has been outlined in a copper beading. The extraordinary clock, from which the room takes its name, was presented to the Academy of Sciences and then to the King at Choisy before being installed here in 1754.
The clock shows the time, the day of the week, the month, the year and the moon's quarter; in the crystal globe, the planets can be seen revolving around the sun. The clock, designed by Passemant, the King's engineer, made by the clock-maker Dauthiau, and whose bronze casing is by bronze Caffieri, is a monument of art and science. The crystal globe on the top contains the sun and its planets following Copernicus's planetary system. In addition to the time, it shows the year, the day of the week, the date of the month and the moon's quarter. The clock was used to determine the first official time system throughout the kingdom.

Cabinet des Chiens

The name of this room and the décor of its cornice remind us that Louis XV allowed his favourite dogs to sleep here. The woodwork comes from Louis XIV's old Billiard Room, transformed by Louis XV into a bedroom; the floral tableaux on the panels above the doors are the work of Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer and Jean-Baptiste Blain de Fontenay. Two of the tables were made by Roumier for the gilded room next door, and the third by the Foliot family for the apartments of Madame Adelaide at Compiègne; their stucco plateaux represent the plans of the domains of Versailles, Marly and Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
This room, usually inhabited by the valets of the interior apartments, familiarly known as the "garçons bleus" or "blue boys" because of the colour of their livery, was the first antechamber to the interior cabinets.

Dining room or "after the hunt"

In 1750 it replaced a small bathroom. Once or twice a week, Louis XV gave a dinner here to the lords and ladies who had accompanied him on the hunt, and it was a highly sought-after privilege to be invited to these dinners. The Buffet room next door made it possible to serve the meal; the dishes were prepared in the Kings private kitchens, located on the third floor. After the supper, the King and his guests would retire to the Clock Room where they would spend the rest of the evening at the gaming tables.

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