Marie Antoinette’s Shabbos Chair/Week 13

Switching centuries for a moment, parting momentarily from my beloved 19th century, to explore anew the 18th century.

I am in the process of moving, packing away my library. In doing so, I realized how heavy, literally and figuratively, my collection leans towards all things dealing with  the Ancien Regime. Instead of diligently packing I was gazing adoringly at our fair Queen.

In honor of her Majesty, I will highlight this very lovely chair. So very much NOT a product of the 19th. century.

Chair

ca. 1785-1790

Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sene’

Paris

Carved walnut,painted white and grey and partly gilt, modern upholstery, modern castors.

Victoria & Albert

Although unclear, this chair was most likely made for St. Cloud. Sene’ provided the Queen with similar chairs to Versailles and the Tuileries, but it appears to resemble a St. Cloud set.

Although the upholstery is modern, it is based upon a wax model from 1780.I have seen charming clay mockups of chairs, always enchanting. To see the delightful swags in silk is a joy.

I am at all moments a sucker for gessoes furniture, particularly in creamy white and French grey, partly gilt?, I’m hopelessly lost.

The Queens monogram is visible, just in case you were wondering who the chair belonged.

The St. Cloud set has a sphinx -head motif, this chair has the bust of Diana.

Really shockingly beautiful attention to detail. Love the little crescent mood, alluding to the goddess.

The beauty continues, this is a detail of the leg. The chair initially had small bun feet. Hacked off in 1895, replaced with castors.

Why?

I love castor-ed chairs, but how the hell do you mutilate such a chair. Now that the damage has been done, I do fancy the castors, so very handy.

This chair was recorded in a St.Cloud inventory , 1789. It will pop up at a bankruptcy sale in 1837, it’s history will continue until it finally reaches the V&A. I imagine the poor chair misses the Queen’s tush.

Marie Antoinette Josephe Jeanne de Habsbourg-Lorraine

2nd November 1755-16th October 1793

portrait

Elizabeth Vigee’ Lebrun

1783

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