- Claude I Sené (French, 1724–1792)
- ca. 1775–80
- Gilded beech and pine; silk and velvet
- H. 30-3/4 x W. 21-1/2 x D. 21-1/2 in. (78.1 x 54.6 x 54.6 cm);
H. of opening: 11-3/4 in. (29.8 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1971
- Accession Number:
Claude I Sené’s talents as a chair maker were not limited to seat furniture for humans (see also Gallery 541). Among one of the most charming pieces in the Wrightsman collection is this niche de chien created for Marie-Antoinette. Considered a part of domestic furnishings, dog kennels were typically comprised of a small case or basket open on one or two sides to allow the dog to enter. More elaborate models resembled diminutive canopied beds or tabouret-shaped chairs with a recessed niche below. The Wrightsman’s example is constructed from gilded beech and pine and covered with luxurious velvet. The interior is lined in a striped blue and beige silk. The usage of acanthus leaves and Greek keys throughout comprise popular Neoclassical motifs fashionable in France at the end of the eighteenth century. Marie-Antoinette, like Madame de Pompadour before her, was a lover of canines. Her pets seemed to return the affection: tradition has it that her beloved dog Coco followed her mistress to her imprisonment at the Temple during the French Revolution.
Nicole de Reyniès, Mobilier domestique: Vocabulaire typologique. Paris: Centre des monuments nationaux, Éditions du patrimonie, 2003, vol. 2, 944–5.