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The King’s chamber

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Antechamber Bull’s Eye, King’s chamber, Council Study


The bull’s eye Salon

The bull’s eye Salon

The courtiers waited in the Bull’s Eye Salon, a large antechamber also created in 1701, to be admitted to the royal bedchamber, its entrance guarded by a Swiss Guard.

The King’s chamber

The King’s chamber

In 1701 Louis XIV moved his bedchamber into the drawing room lying east-west in the Palace, facing the rising sun. The three glazed doors into the Hall of Mirrors at the back were blocked off so as to form an alcove for the bed, with a carved and gilded wood balustrade separating the alcove from the rest of the chamber and over the bed a stucco allegory of France watching over the King in his slumber by Nicolas Coustou. It was in this chamber, become the visible sanctuary of the monarchy, that Louis XIV lunched en petit couvert (in relative privacy) and the ceremonies of the King’s rising and retiring took place every day. It was likewise in this chamber that Louis XIV died on 1 September 1715 after reigning for 72 years.

The chamber’s opulent decor of gold and silver brocade on a crimson ground forms a backdrop to paintings chosen by Louis XIV: The Four Evangelists and Paying Caesar’s Taxes by Le Valentin and Giovanni Lanfranco on the upper walls, Saint John the Baptist by Giovanni Battista Caracciolo above the door, Mary Magdalene by Le Dominiquin and two portraits of Antoon Van Dyck. On the two mantelpieces installed during the reign of Louis XV stand a bust of Louis XIV by Antoine Coysevox and a barometer clock and four candelabra that belonged to the Comte de Provence, Louis XVI’s brother.

The Council Study

The Council Study

Adjacent to the King’s Chamber and opening onto the Hall of Mirrors is the Council Study. This did not take on its present form until 1755, under Louis XV, when it was created by combining two rooms, the King’s Study where Louis XIV held his ministerial councils for financial and state matters and the Terms Study, a more intimate room to which Louis XIV retired with his family or inner circle in the evenings after supper. The study was decorated in sumptuous wood panelling featuring new decorative motifs (trophies, attributes of the army, navy and justice etc) carved by Antoine Rousseau from drawings by Ange-Jacques Gabriel; magnificent works of art commissioned by Louis XV and Louis XVI now adorn it: a rococo clock (1754), a porphyry bust of Alexander the Great and two vases depicting Mars and Minerva in Sèvres porcelain and chased bronze by Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1787).

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