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2020/05/14

The Furniture in the Former Crown Prince’s Palace ④

Chaise avec le monogramme de Marie Antoinette

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This painted side chair has a monogram MA in the back, which is for Marie Antoinette, Queen Consort of France to Louis XVI. It used to be placed at the Petit Trianon in the premise of the Palace of Versailles. The Petit Trianon was Marie Antoinette’s favourite place in the Palace. She escaped here from extremely busy and fatigued court life and spent most of time with ‘Inner circle’.

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The photograph was taken before the restoration work of the Petit Trianon in the 2000s. The chairs were shown around small tripod table in the middle of the room. Now they were somehow removed.

 

The chair was described in the book called ‘Le Mobilier français : Les Sièges ’ by Henri Marcel Magne published in France in the 1920s.

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The description of the chair said that it was in the Petit Trianon and bearing stamp underside of chair frame, J. B. B. Demay.

 

Jean-Baptiste Bernard Demay (1758 – 1848) was a master cabinet maker and carpenter in Paris. The chair must be there in the 1920s. The reason for the removal was seemed to be uncertain whether the chair was made before the French Revolution. Demay was seemed to supplied furniture to the Petit Trianon. But it was possibility that the chair was made after her death for commemoration by him.

 


In the Magne’s book there is quiet detail diagram of the chair.

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Among the initial furniture blueprints supplied by Fourdinois for the Crown Prince’s Palace there was one drawing of a chair resembled to Marie Antoinette’s side chair.

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There was no MA monogram in the back. However the rest of the design was absolute copy of the side chair. Four chairs were made in the design with some changes in France and shipped to Japan later. This is the photograph taken when it arrived at the palace for their inventory.

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The surface finish was not polychrome-painted like the original. Instead of MA monogram there was a new design requested for Imperial Household.

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Paulownia crest (Kiri No Gomon 桐の御紋), which was originally the private symbol of the Japanese Imperial Family. Unfortunately the chairs were not made for the princess’s room, for the room called ‘Midori No Ma 緑之間, Green Room’ for male guests.

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Interestingly François Linke was making Marie Antoinette’s chair in his repertoire. The furniture ‘Number 1545’ costed him 280 francs to make and was retailed 450 francs each in 1908.

 

The Imperial Household paid 1400 francs for 4 chairs, 350 francs each for the palace.

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There are a lot of possibilities you can think of. Current Akasaka Palace is open for public for certain occasion, but you could see only several main rooms. Museum Meiji-Mura holds a part of the furniture made for the palace and luckily Linke left his detail archives. If further researches for those areas progressed, you could be able to see new discovery in the future soon.

 

 

 

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