Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Duke of Aumale's Private Apartments, Chantilly

Henri Eugene Phillipe Louis d'Orleans, Duke of Aumale (duc d'Aumale) (1882-1897) was the fifth son of King Louis-Phillipe I of France. In 1830 as a boy of eight he inherited the estate of Chantilly from his godfather, the last prince of Conde. When he came of age the Duke of Aumale entered the military and served in Algeria. During the July monarchy of his father King Louis-Phillipe I the Duke of Aumale had the private apartments of Chantilly designed by Romantic painter and decorator Eugene Lami between 1844-46 shortly after his marriage to Marie Emilie de Bourbon-Sicilie. The private apartments at Chantilly on the ground floor of the Chateau remain one of the only princely interiors of the epoch to survive in France. However the Duke's plan to rebuild the chateau had to be abandoned when he was forced to leave France after the Revolution of 1848. He was not able to return and live at Chantilly until 1871.

The Salon de Guise contains family portraits, including the Duke of Aumale aged nine, the year after he inherited Chantilly, and those of his two sons, Louis of Guise, and Francois. The room was renamed in 1872 after the death of the Duke of Aumale's second son, Francois, Duke of Guise.

The Duchess of Aumale's Bedroom.

The ceiling in the Duchess's Bedroom was painted by N. Diaz de la Pena.

The Duchess of Aumale's Boudoir is a round room that was originally hung with green fabric. After the death of the Duchess in 1869, on the instructions of the Duke  the walls and furniture were covered in purple fabric woven with silver, the colour of mourning.

The piano was especially made for the Duchess's Boudoir  by the cabinet makers the Grohe Brothers.

The Petite Singerie divided the Duke's and Duchess's rooms. It was decorated in the 1730's by Christophe Huet, a famous animal painter in France. It is a small room that depicts monkeys imitating the daily activities of the aristocracy in a world that looks very like Chantilly.

The Duke of Aumale's Bathroom.

The Salon de Conde. On the walls are hung 42 framed medallions with likenesses of members of the house of Bourbon-Conde so that the Duke of Aumale originally called this room "the Condes Family Salon". It was renamed the "Conde Salon" in memory of Louis of Orleans, Prince of Conde, eldest son of the Duke of Aumale.

The Duke of Aumale's Bedroom is furnished with a military bed. The paintings are of members of his family including his mother by Baron Francois Gerard. The room is unchanged since 1897.

The Marble Salon was the Duke's private dining room and it was decorated by Eugene Lami in the Neo-Renaissance style.

Without living heirs, the Duke of Aumale bequeathed Chantilly, including his art collection, to the Institut de France. His act of fabulous generosity led the government of France to withdraw the decree of exile imposed on members of the former ruling houses and the Duke returned to France in 1889. He died in Lo Zucco, Sicily where he had engaged in producing wine, and was buried in Dreux, in the Orleans family vault.