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Apartments of Marie-Antoinette



Apartments of Marie-Antoinette

Behind her State Apartment, the queen had several small rooms for her own private use and for her lady’s maids. In the 17th century, the number of the queen’s chambers increased. Marie Leszczinska took over the rooms of the main body of the building separating the Queen’s courtyard from the Dauphin’s courtyard; she would withdraw to those rooms to read, paint, meditate or entertain her closest visitors. Marie-Antoinette added mezzanines and levels, making herself a genuine little apartment.

Le Cabinet Doré (Gilded Study)

When she was at Versailles, it was to her interior chamber – the largest of the queen’s private rooms – that Marie-Antoinette generally withdrew to entertain her children and friends, to play music with her teacher Grétry , or to pose for Madame Vigée-Lebrun, her favourite painter. Created for Marie Leszczinska, this room was redecorated in 1783 according to the drawings of Richard Mique, Marie-Antoinette’s architect. The woodwork by the Rousseau brothers, adorned with sphinxes and antique tripods, recalls the recent discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The majority of the pieces of furniture and works of art found there today belonged to the queen: for example, the chest of drawers, one of Riesener’s most beautiful creations, was created for her bedroom in Marly, and the “Chinese-style” Sevres vases that sit on top it are from her apartment in Saint-Cloud.
This gilded study – so named due to the abundance of gold on the woodwork, bronzes and chairs – opens by means of a small door to the left of the chimney onto a small chamber whose Martin’s varnish colour paint dates back to the 1750s. It is the only original testimony of the craze that this China lacquer imitating process provoked at the time. Its woodwork comes from a back chamber of the apartment of Marie-Josèphe of Saxony located on the ground floor; it was Marie-Antoinette herself who had the décor, which was created for her mother-in-law, brought to the gilded study.

The Cabinet of the Meridian

The particular shape of this boudoir, with its cut sides, made it possible for the queen’s domestic servants to pass from the large bedchamber to the other chambers without disturbing the queen who, at midday, would go and rest there, hence the name Meridian. It was in 1781, after Marie-Antoinette finally gave birth to an heir, that the room was decorated with woodwork whose bronze motifs were applied to the sash doors. The dolphin that can be seen evokes children, while the roses, Hapsburg eagle and the peacock, symbol of the goddess Juno, are allusions to the queen.

The Billard Room

On the second floor, the queen had other chambers. One of them, whose silks were restored and the settees by J. Jacob replaced, was used as billiard room.


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