Panels from the shutters formerly in the Chapel Room at Versailles

Designer Robert de Cotte French
Jules Degoullons French

Not on view

Following his morning prayers and toilet, Louis would leave his chamber and proceed through the State Apartments to the Chapel Room, a salon on the second floor that gave access to the royal tribune in the chapel where the king attended Mass. The Chapel Room was paved with marble. Corinthian columns and sculptures in niches enlivened the walls, and allegorical stucco decoration representing the four parts of the world filled the corners of the vaulted ceiling. The three large windows were fitted with interior shutters carved in 1710 by the sculptor Jules Degoullons (ca. 1671–1737) and his partners, who worked for the Bâtiments du Roi, the department in charge of the royal palaces, after designs by architect Robert de Cotte (1656–1735). Sometime after they were removed from Versailles during the nineteenth century, the shutters were split through the middle into much thinner panels, presumably so that the carving on the fronts and backs could be used separately. The panels were subsequently mounted on a new oak substrate, framed with moldings, and made into doors that were matched with over-door carvings from another source. When Georges Hoentschel acquired two sets of these double doors carved with state and royal symbols, they were thought to have come from the Château de Marly, a country residence built for Louis XIV by Jules Hardouin Mansart. After they arrived at the Museum in 1907 it was realized that the frameswere not of the same period and that the over-door carvings, not nearly as fine, did not belong to the doors. The discovery of an account by Degoullons describing in great detail each of the three vertical and alternating horizontal panels he and his associates carved for the shutters in the Chapel Room has more recently led to the recognition that the doors were arbitrarily made up from those very panels. Despite having been cut apart and remounted and stripped of their original paint, the exquisitely carved panels are valuable remnants of the splendor of Versailles.

[Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide, 2006]

Panels from the shutters formerly in the Chapel Room at Versailles, Robert de Cotte (French, Paris 1656/57–1735 Paris), Oak, French

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