Set of eight chairs and an armchair 'en cabriolet à la grecque'. Handwritten labels, heat-affixed W and ink marks. Order of the year 1784 for 'l'Abbé Daran aumônier de la Vénerie' at the Château de Versailles'.
Discovered in July 2018 by Mrs Camille Chabroux, auctioneer, these seats were pre-empted by the Château de Versailles at the auction of December 13, 2018 organized by the Labarbe Auction House.
Sold out € 27 280 under the hammer of the auctioneer Marc Labarbe, this set joins - to our great pleasure -the collections of Versailles and will reinforce the representation of "ordinary" furniture made during the reign of Louis XVI.
These seats were created in 1784, only five years before the French Revolution and the dispersion of furniture garnishing the royal residences. Probably sold at this very troubled time, their rediscovery in a castle in the South West of France in 2018 and their return to Versailles in early 2019 will probably remain one of the most moving events in the history of Labarbe Auction House.
" 'Une bergère en cabriolet à la grecque'
Supported by four fluted legs turned into sheath, the capron of the armchair, simply molded and slightly curved, had to accommodate a cushion, now missing. The armchair is decorated with a rosette pattern and extended by curved arm supports, while the rectilinear armrests receive manchettes of a green velvet nicely embossed whose fabric is identical to that of the cheeks and high backrest.
The reverse side of the lower rail has the Versailles heat-affixed mark W and a handwritten label mentioning "une bergère en cabriolais ala / greque pour M label Darran / aumonnie delavenerie ". If no stamp appears to have been affixed by the carpenter, the armchair keepsits ink mark "WN ° 63A" on the seat straps.
Eight embossed velvet chairs
The eight chairs, from a set that originally had ten, are stylistically identical to the armchair but furnished with a different embossed velvet, striped in green and crimson.
Each has elements identical to those listed on the armchair, namely a label - more or less well preserved depending on the chair - with description of the furniture and the name of his addressee; the heat-affixed W on the lower rail; the brush mark WN ° 63.10 on the straps.
Although the logic behind the brush numbering of furniture remains
enigmatic to the specialists, Bertrand Rondot points out (1) that this is
" characteristic of the furniture delivered by 'the shop' and not by the suppliers of the Garde-Meuble
, more common and easier-to-use furniture made in workshops working directly for the furniture storage (2) " However, this simple manufacturing does not detract from the historical value of the ensemble since " paradoxically, the most simple furniture is the one that is today most cruelly lacking in the castle's collections (3).
Moreover, trace has been found of this set in the " Rapports et décisions pour distributions de fournitures et de meubles. 1784-1792 - Prêts de meubles et distributions : état divers et récépissés. 1699-1784 (4) "National Archives.
They are described in a section on the status of loans to "Mr Labbé Daran. chaplain " as " Chaises en cabriolet couvertes de velours d'Ütrecht cramoisi " under No. W.n°.63.10 and " 1 Bergere avec son carreau en cabriolet à la grecque garnie en couverte de velours d'Ütrecht vert et blanc " under the number W.n°.63.A.
Finally, note that the armchair of the abbot Daran is very close to an armchair of 1783 carrying the number W n°.67A, for Mr Le Fournier d'Yauville, gentleman also attached to the 'Vénerie', today in private hands (5).
It is also similar to another armchair made in 1783 for Mr. Dumas de Goursac, esquire of the king in the 'Grande Ecurie', although the latter does not seem to have an ink mark on his straps. (6)
By the preservation of all the evidences of its provenance - handwritten label, heat-affixed W and ink marks - the furniture found in Toulouse has historical significance and gives to see what constituted the ordinary furniture of Versailles under the reign of Louis XVI.
1 CONDAMY Laurent, « Les ‘boutiques’ des maisons royales et du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (1666-1792) », Versalia, n°19, 2016, pp.123-124
2 BABELON Jean-Pierre (dir.), MEYER Daniel, Meubles royaux récemment acquis à Versailles (1985-1989), Mobilier, Revue du Louvre et des musées de France, n°2, 1990, pp. 95-96
3 Bertrand RONDOT cité dans Le Grand Livre du Mécénat, Société des Amis de Versailles, Versailles, 2016, p.126
4 AN, O134788 Extract
5 CONDAMY Laurent, « Les ‘boutiques’ des maisons royales et du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (1666-1792) », Versalia, n°19, 2016, p.128
CONDAMY Laurent, « Les ‘boutiques’ des maisons royales et du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne (1666-1792) », Versalia, n°19, 2016, pp.115-132