Paneled Room / Unknown artist
Paneled Room
Unknown artist
French, Paris, about 1755
Painted and gilded oak; four oil-on-canvas overdoor paintings; brèche d'Alep mantelpiece; modern mirror glass
14 ft. 4 in. x 23 ft. 6 1/2 in. x 25 ft. 6 in.
Questions for Teaching

• Describe what you see.
• What words would you use to describe the room?
• Based on what you see, what can you infer about the owner's identity?
• What can you infer about the tastes of wealthy noblemen who lived over 300 years ago?

Background Information

In this room, the furniture and paneling on the walls are original works of art. The paneling was made around 1755 for an as-yet-unidentified Parisian hôtel (mansion). It is a good example of the decoration of a grand salon in a fashionable town house in the mid-1700s. This room would have formed part of a suite of rooms, known in French as an appartement, where the doors face each other on opposite walls to create an enfilade, a characteristic feature of grand homes in the 18th century, designed to draw the visitor from one room to the next.

Elaborately paneled rooms were not intended for hanging paintings. In this room, only the overdoors are set with painted canvases, which contain scenes of incense burners and garlands of flowers with separate carved frames. Cast trophies of musical instruments decorate the four corners of the plaster cornice, and scenes of female musicians adorn the centers. The ceiling and floor are reproductions of the originals.