Thursday, 1 January 2015

Papal Apartment, Fontainebleu

The Papal Apartment is the most luxurious and splendid at Fontainbleu, after the sovereign's apartments. It was created in 1804 by the amalgamation of two smaller, adjoining suites for the visit of Pope Pius VII who came to France for the coronation of Napoleon.  It was named the Papal Apartment after this visit and his second stay, as a captive between 1812-1814. The only remaining memento of  Pope Pius in the apartment is his portrait by David. The opulent decor dates from the 1860's  and reflects  the tastes of Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie. They did however retain the earlier ceilings from the former chambers of Henri II and Anne of Austria.

The older section of the apartment occupies the wing linking the Horseshoe Pavilion and the Stoves Pavilion, designed by Primaticcio to provide a new apartment for Henri II. The apartment was later occupied by his widow, Catherine de' Medici, then by Marie de' Medici and after them by Anne of Austria, giving  the apartment its earlier designation, the "Queen Mothers' Wing". Later on the apartment housed the Dauphin and his wife and then was used to put up important guests, including in 1688, the exiled James II of Scotland and England and in 1717 by Tsar Peter I of Russia.

The newer section of the apartment extends into the Grand Pavilion built by Jacques-Ange Gabriel in 1754, the building that replaced the Stoves Pavilion. Anne of Austria's Apartment was handed on to Louis XV's daughters, the Mesdames Henriette and Adelaide and from 1748 also by Madame Victoire. Divided in two, Anne of Austria's Apartment was the occupied by  the Count of Provence, brother of Louis XVI. After the Revolution the Chateau housed a military academy which  remained there until the crowning of Napoleon as Emperor in 1804.After the Restoration Louis-Phillipe's eldest son, the Duke of Orleans lived there with his wife. The last inhabitant of the apartment was Napoleon III's cousin, the Grand Duchess of Baden.

Formerly an antechamber, the Officer's Room became the Salon of the Duchess of Orleans' ladies in waiting.

The Officer's Room

The Grand Duchess of Baden's Bedchamber has been used as a bedroom since 1770. It was refurbished in 1837 for the Duchess of Orleans. The last person to use the room was the Grand Duchess of Baden, Napoleon III's cousin.

Grand Duchess of Baden's Bedchamber

Next door to the bedchamber, the first dressing room was redecorated in the late 18th century.

First Dressing Room

Unchanged until the time of the Duke of Orleans, Anne of Austria's Bedchamber was redecorated for her around 1660. The magnificent coffered ceiling was painted by Charles Errard between 1662-1664. Turned into a salon during the Second Empire the room was hung with the Triumphs of the Gods tapestries woven by Gobelins around 1700.

Anne of Austria's  Bedchamber

The State Salon has a magnificent ceiling depicting the the planets,with the sun, Apollo in his chariot, in the centre. The ceiling had been constructed in 1558 for Henri II's Bedchamber in the Stoves Pavilion and features shields bearing the French coat of arms and Anne of Austria's monogram which means that it the room had become the first antechamber of Anne of Austria's apartment around 1660. In 1748 it became Madame Adelaide's Bedchamber before becoming the State Salon of Louis XVIII's apartment. The chandelier was brought here from the Tuileries.

State Salon