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A few pictures of the restoration

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A few pictures of the restored ceiling

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Restoration of the Queen’s Salon du Grand Couvert

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Sponsored by Martell & Co

The restoration of the antechamber of the Grand Couvert, in the Queen’s Grand Apartment, was one of the major undertakings of 2009-2010. This room, reserved for the King’s supper, features exceptional paintings that were damaged over the years. It took no less than sixteen months and the work of fourteen restorers to bring them back to their original state.

Louis XIV took his supper in the Grand Couvert every day at ten o’clock in the evening, surrounded by his family and a crowd of courtiers. For an hour, savoury dishes and desserts were carried ceremoniously from the kitchens, watched attentively by the Court.

The antechamber of the Grand Couvert is located in the long suite of rooms of the Queen’s Grand Apartment which goes from the Guards Room to the Peace Salon. Decorated between 1671 and 1680, and dedicated to the god of war Mars, the paintings draw their subjects from episodes of ancient history featuring “powerful women” who won fame in war by their courage, such as Artemesia, queen of Helicarnassus.

Restoration of the painted decors of the Queen’s Salon du Grand Couvert © EPV/Christian Milet

Fourteen restorers were assigned to the restoration of the paintings, led by Nicolas Milovanovic and directed by Anthony Pontabry and Cécile Gouton. The surface of the paintings on the ceiling of the room was flaking in many places. The restoration required the installation of complete scaffolding and the creation of a “tunnel” to allow the passage of visitors from the Nobles Salon to the Guards Room of the same Apartment of the Queen.

After the work on the painted décor, the stucco decoration on the ceiling was then restored and the wall hangings were re-hung with crimson damask. All the furniture was entirely restored under the direction of Béatrix Saule: period-style armchairs and stools were returned to their places around a table of the Grand Couvert which was properly set thanks to the silver dinner service of George III of England, modelled on the service of Louis XVI that has not survived.

This restoration programme was made possible thanks to the work of the Château de Versailles teams, the advice of Jacques Garcia, the exemplary collaboration of several institutions (C2RMF, the Musée du Louvre and the Mobilier National) and the sponsorship of Martell & Co.

Thus, for the first time, a room of the Queen’s Grand Apartment has recovered its original appearance. The Château de Versailles would like to be able to reproduce this exercise in all the rooms of the apartments.


© EPV/Christian Milet

The restoration of the painted décor was supported by the sponsorship of Martell & Co.


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