Voyeuse in molded natural wood, tapered and fluted legs topped with rosette dice, made for Madame Elisabeth's billiard room at the Château de Montreuil (Versailles) and delivered with another one in April 1789.
Stamped by Jean-Baptiste SENÉ (1748-1803), received master in 1765.
Bears a handwritten label on which is inscribed "pour le service de Madame / Elizabeth à Montreuil / n° 54 / Salle de Billard".
Louis XVI period, circa 1789.
Upholstery in blue velvet with floral motifs. Two sleepers later made.
H. 95 x W. 50 x D. 50 cm.
- Princess Elisabeth of France, known as Madame Elisabeth (1764-1794), sister of Kings Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X, at her Montreuil estate (Versailles).
- French private collection.
- Aguttes sale, March 31, 2016, lot 224.
- French private collection.
The Château de Montreuil was the property of the Prince and Princess of Rohan-Guémenée who had decorated and furnished it to new around 1776-1780. Following their resounding bankruptcy in 1783, Louis XVI bought the castle for his younger sister, Madame Elisabeth. The latter liked it and decoration work was undertaken in 1788-89, in order to rejuvenate the existing fabrics, replace or complete the existing furniture (which came from the Guémenée).
Sets of seats were then ordered from Sené (sometimes completing the series previously made by Jacob), generally painted white or gray and covered with point tapestry executed by Madame Elisabeth and her ladies.
In most of the rooms, the walls were covered with wallpaper hangings supplied by Arthur. Two rooms received a rich decor, with gilded seats and hangings or silk trimmings: the company lounge - whose windows opened onto the park and the road to Versailles - and the princess's bedroom. The cabinetwork was then ordered from Guillaume Beneman for the reception rooms and from Jacques Bircklé for the bedrooms, consisting mainly of mahogany or walnut furniture.
The 1788-89 deliveries of seats made by Sené concerned the "compagnie" lounge, Madame Elisabeth's bedroom (with sets richly sculpted by Alexandre and gilded by Chatard), as well as the Turkish boudoir, with painted Turkish-style voyeurs, now preserved in the Nissim de Camondo museum.
The only voyeurs delivered by Séné which were not entrusted to richly sculpting to Alexandre or given to gilding to Chatard (they were painted by Bidard) were two chairs intended for the billiard room (the one sold in 2011 at Christie's and ours), that Séné invoiced in these terms: "Accounts and memoirs of suppliers and workers of the Garde-Meuble; Year 1789, 1st semester, memoir of Séné...continuation of N54, Billiard Room, 6 chairs with double moldings and cove... 2 voyeuses ditto, at 14 L, 28 L" (French National Archives, O1 3649).
The price of these seats was higher than that of the voyeuse of the great salon of Montreuil (20 L) which is explained insofar as these were only rough-hewn and prepared for the sculpture while the others were moulded.
- The second voyeuse of number 54 of the delivery, in white lacquered wood by J.-B. Sené, bearing the same label partially erased as our voyeuse, sold at Christie's Paris, November 17, 2011, lot 216 (€34,600) (ill. 1).
- A voyeuse in gilded beech by J.-B. Sené, delivered in 1789 for Madame Elisabeth's salon in Montreuil, is reproduced in "Madame Elisabeth. A princess with a tragic destiny 1764-1794, J. Trey, Paris, 2013, cat. d", as collection of the Kraemer gallery (Paris) (ill. 2).