When mentioning the Château de Versailles, one’s thoughts may wander to the beautiful Hall of Mirrors, the gorgeous palace gardens and the macarons of Marie-Antoinette. But as being one of the biggest castles in the world, the Palace of Versailles, as it is also known, has brought along some pretty famous and outrageous furniture styles! Let’s go back to the story behind the flamboyant colors and royal patterns of 17th and 18th century France!
About Versailles Furniture
“There is nothing that indicates more clearly the magnificence of great princes than their superb palaces and their precious furniture.” this was written by king Louis XIV in 1663, just two years after assuming absolute power in France.
King Louis’s Chateau
It has been this king who initiated the massive enlargement of the Château, transforming from a hunting lodge into a 800 hectares seat of power. He surrounded himself at his court with artists, nobels and diplomats from all over the world and during his reign France became one of the most importants states of Europe.
With the sun as his personal symbol, Louis XIV is still today remembered as ‘the Sun King’. The nickname is particularly a reference to the knowledge and power that had been spread like rays of sun during his reign. It was the Sun King’s intention that this glory and power of the sovereign should be reflected in the decor and furnishes of his Château.
His intention has resulted in a rich decorative scheme of exotic and high end furnishes. Colored marbles, bronze- and silver-gilt furnishings, crystal candelabra, rich colored rugs and shimmering mirrors show that there was definitely no lack of royal magnificence.
The influence of Sun King on interiors
The court style of the Sun King had been greatly influenced by the rational and classical style of the Italian Baroque, at that time the predominated fashion in Paris. The King’s more simpler lifestyle during his last years has left its mark on the stylistic movement into that of the oncoming more lyrical and spontaneous Regency style.
The latter style is called after the Regent of France that ruled the kingdom when Louix XV, or Louis Quinze, was too young to succeed his great-grandfather Louis XIV. However, during his reign (mid 18th century), the furniture of Versailles was marked by the Louis XV style, characterized by a French Rococo decorative style. King Louis XV loved delicate carved furniture, gilded details, gentle S-curves and naturalistic organic and floral motifs. The King integrated both supreme craftsmanship as the arts of cabinetmaking, painting and sculpture.
Just before the French Revolution and the end of the French monarchy in 1789, the Château’s interior design has been influenced with the last King Louis XVI’s style: the Neoclassical return of more classical features, also called the ‘Goût Grec’.
We are enlightened to see that the beautiful furniture styles of the Château of Versailles still influences today’s designs. Elegant patterns of fabrics or refined passementerie in either Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI style, shape a crowning addition for a chic and high end interior. For instance, we are a huge fan of Declercq Passementiers. They have provided the restoration of the Château’s furnishes with their qualitative tassels and trimmings. We also love fabrics with a floral motif à la Versailles Style, like the fabrics from Tassinari et Chatel, in the picture here below.
With a new destiny as the museum of the History of France, the magnificent Château de Versailles and her beautiful gardens are worth a visit!
Posted by Ethnic Chic