Rare armchair of Queen Marie-Antoinette from the Appartement des Bains of the Château de Saint-Cloud
Rare armchair of Queen Marie-Antoinette from the Appartement des Bains of the Château de Saint-Cloud
Louis XVI period, by Adrien-Pierre DUPAIN, circa 1785
Object N° 1862

Armchair with a flat back in white relaquered wood, the belt adorned with a double row of pearls, the armrests with detached balusters with twisted flutes, the back supported by drops, resting on tapered legs with rudent flutes ; checked trimmed and covered in cream velvet and duck blue checks.

Louis XVI period, circa 1785.

Marked A. P. DUPAIN and VF.

Formerly handwritten label: "St. Cloud Chambre de la Reine".

H. 93 x L. 63 x P. 44 cm.


- Ordered on April 10, 1785 for the Comtesse de Provence at the Château de Marly.

- Moved on August 27, 1785 to the château de Choisy.

- Moved in 1788 to the Château de Saint-Cloud, installed in the bedroom of Madame Elisabeth's apartment on the ground floor, which will then be used by Marie-Antoinette.

- Private apartment of Queen Marie-Antoinette said des Bains, from June 4, 1789.

- Sold in 1794 among the contents of the Château de Saint-Cloud, under n° 2208.

- Daniel Druault collection, antique dealer.

- Private collection, Paris.


Long studied by Pierre Verlet, the royal furnishings of eighteenth-century palaces and castles are known in large part from the description of the inventories drawn up by the intendants and controllers general of Crown furniture, such as Thierry de Ville d'Avray ( 1732 -1792). Unfortunately, if some large furniture and works of art, retained by the Arts Commissions formed at the time of the Revolution remained in place, many others were sold, or transported to depots, etc. Thus, periodically we find furniture that belonged to the most illustrious figures in the history of the 18th century, such as ours. This armchair bearing the circular stamp of Adrien-Pierre Dupain, received as master on December 10, 1772, was indeed part of the furnishings of Marie-Antoinette at Saint-Cloud.

Salverte wrote about Dupain he "obtained orders for the King's castles, in particular for that of Saint-Cloud. At the same time, he supplied numerous upholsterers". The fact that Dupain is not mentioned in the archives of the Garde-Meuble suggests that Dupain, failing to work directly for the Crown, was working for an upholsterer.

Royal furniture has the particularity of being almost always "marked". This denomination in fact covers several types of marks. It can be a number preceded by one or two letters, abbreviation of the castle for which it was made, or a label on which the name of the castle and the room intended for it have been written. In this case, we find a handwritten label on which we could read (notably in L'Estampille of June 1986, still visible today under ultra-violet light): “St. Cloud Queen's Bedroom”.

Made around 1780, this armchair was part of a piece of furniture comprising a bed, eight folding chairs, two armchairs, two bergères, a screen, a step and a paravent. The first record that we have of this set dates from April 10, 1785. We learn that everything (except the bed and the screen) was ordered for Marly for the Comtesse de Provence. This furniture was probably never installed in Marly, since on August 27 of the same year, an order was given from the transporter to Choisy. At that time, the armchairs had been painted white by Chatard, and upholstered by Capin.

In 1787-1788, the same Château de Choisy was completely unfurnished in order to furnish the Château de Saint-Cloud, purchased by the Queen on February 19, 1785 from the Duke of Orleans, through the intermediary of Baron de Breteuil. From this purchase, the king and queen expressed the wish to stay there at the end of August of the same year. Many orders then passed to the Crown Furniture Repository, until the end of July. For example, for the large cabinet, Hauré had to provide "the wood for the seats and the double-molded screen, the simplest sculpture and the quickest to execute...".

Thus in 1788 the furniture was installed in the bedroom of Madame Elisabeth's apartment. This furniture is again described with more precision concerning the fabrics. Persian furniture is defined as follows: "Persian furniture white background, drawing with vase and illuminated shrub, framed by border in Persia"

During the years 1786, 1787, 1788, major expansion works carried out at Saint-Cloud in anticipation of the future installation of the Court, since a major campaign of works was planned at Versailles during the decade 1790-1800.

Madame Elisabeth's apartment, located on the ground floor, returned to Marie-Antoinette after the death of the Dauphin on June 4, 1789. A change in the allocation of the apartments took place at this time: Madame Elisabeth was housed in the apartments of the deceased Dauphin, and Marie-Antoinette takes up her accommodation, which is just above her large apartment on the first floor, overlooking the main courtyard. The former apartment of Madame Elisabeth becomes the private apartment of the Queen or apartment of the baths. She had a similar apartment in each of her residences: Versailles, Choisy, the Tuileries. Marie-Antoinette will use this apartment during the last stay of the Court in the summer of 1790.

The last inventory of Saint-Cloud drawn up in 1790, mentions the furniture still in place in this bath apartment. Part of the furniture was sent to Paris, the rest was sold on site in 1794. The sales report mentions, under n° 2208, the furniture described above. The two armchairs were sold with the bed, the paravent, the screen, the two bergères and four tie-backs for the sum of 3,400 livres. To date, it seems that this armchair is the only known piece of furniture in Queen Marie-Antoinette's bathroom apartment (text taken from the article by Patricia Lemonnier in L'Estampille of June 1986).

Related works

- Two seats stamped by Dupain and bearing the mark of Marie-Antoinette's Garde-Meuble were exhibited in 1882 at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. They then belonged to the Vicomtesse de Janzé and the armchairs came from the Château de Saint-Cloud.

- A pair of Dupain's bergères, probably delivered for Marie-Antoinette in Saint-Cloud or for the queen's salon in her house in the Hameau à Trianon, sold at Sotheby's Paris, October 22, 2008, lot 98 (auctioned for € 150,750, ill. 1).

- An armchair by Dupain sold with another posterior, probably delivered for Marie-Antoinette in Saint-Cloud or for the queen's salon in Trianon, sold at Christie's Paris, April 14, 2015, lot 246 (auctioned for € 20,000).

- A pair of marquises attributed to Dupain, probably delivered for Marie-Antoinette in Saint-Cloud in 1785 then placed at the Château des Tuileries under the Restoration, sold at Sotheby's Paris, November 9, 2012, lot 224 (auctioned for € 70,350, ill. 2).

Dupain and the VF mark

The abbreviated VF stamp is often associated with that of Adrien-Pierre Dupain. It can be found on:

- a series of six armchairs (Christie's sale in New York, June 17, 2006, lot 59).

- a pair of armchairs and three chairs kept at the Nissim de Camondo museum in Paris (catalog n° 534).

- a pair of shepherdesses (sale in Neuilly, Aguttes study, December 7, 2004, lot 257).

Perhaps it is a mark of a sculptor or that of a lumber merchant.