Furniture Exchange between Versailles and the Institut

1. André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732)
Bureau plat, 1715
Boulle Marquetery - 198 x 93 cm
Versailles, château
On deposit at Musée Condé
Photo : Christian Milet

19/3/12 - Deposits- Versailles, château and Chantilly, Musée Condé - The Institut de France and Versailles have exchanged two pieces of furniture each on deposit but which will now join the château for which they had been originally commissioned.

The first (ill. 1) is a bureau plat commissioned in 1715 from André-Charles Boulle by Louis-Henri de Bourbon, Prince de Condé who installed it in 1720 in his study at the château in Chantilly. This is one of the very few pieces by the famous cabinetmaker for which the attribution has been fully certified.
Moved to a cabinet room in the Petit Château in 1740, the desk was confiscated in 1793, then recovered by the museum before being placed on deposit in Versailles in 1834 where it was displayed in the Dauphine’s second ante-chamber.

2. Jean-Baptiste Limonne
Table of Library, 1786
Mahogany, Gilt Bronze - 390 x 185 cm
Paris, Institut de France
On deposit at Château de Versailles
Photo : D. R.

The second piece (ill. 2), produced by the cabinetmaker Jean-Baptiste Limonne and delivered in March 1786, is a large table for Louis XVI which was to be placed in the library known as the Combles (or "bibliothèque haute"). This item was of course not currently in Chantilly (in which case it could not have returned to Versailles given the Duke d’Aumale’s will) but, probably since 1795, in the library of the Institut de France (which includes the Musée Condé).
The table will be installed in its original location at Versailles, as the "bibliothèque haute" still awaiting restoration.

The château in Versailles and its Société des Amis had been asking the Institut for the "restitution" of this library table for some time now. This exchange of deposits which will no doubt be permanent, is a very satisfactory and elegant solution.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 20 mars 2012

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