Splendors of Versailles (April 1 to August 31, 1998)
- Mississippi Arts Pavilion (Jackson), April 1 to August 31, 1998
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Getty Center, Museum South Pavilion, Gallery S114
Chair (fauteuil de toilette)
Paris, France (Place created)
Carved beech; caning; modern silk velvet upholstery
85.1 × 57.8 × 54.6 cm (33 1/2 × 22 3/4 × 21 1/2 in.)
Marie-Antoinette sat in this chair while her servants arranged her hair and applied her makeup in her bedroom at the Petit Trianon a small house built on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles. Known as a chaise de toilette, its swivel mechanism and low back were specially designed for performing the daily rituals of dressing. It is finely carved with bands of lily of the valley and ivy along the curved supports of the arms, while the legs and edge of the circular seat imitate caning.
The Petit Trianon was given to the queen by her husband, Louis XVI, as a private retreat where she could escape from the rigid etiquette of court life. Marie-Antoinette furnished these intimate apartments, which were never seen by most of the courtiers, with exquisite furniture that reflected her own personal taste.
This chair was part of a set of furniture delivered to the palace in 1787 that also included two armchairs, two side chairs, a fire screen, and a stool. The bed from the set is missing, but the rest remains at the Petit Trianon. The other pieces retain the original pastel-colored paint in yellow, blue, green, and white that has unfortunately been stripped from this chair.