Sunday, 13 July 2014

First Floor (Central) - Development

Obviously, Versailles has undergone renovations since the time the court officially moved into the then unfinished palace. Surprisingly enough was neither Louis XV nor Louis XVI eager to make great alterations to the château they inherited, so it is still the spirit of the legendary Sun King that dominates the buildings. From the very first the King and Queen had their individual apartments on the first floor at the very heart of the palace but the current layout is not quite what it was when Louis XIV lived there. Here is a clear illustration of how the royal couple's apartment has developed over the years - the King's apartment is marked with blue, the Queen's with red:

Fig. 1 : Anonyme, Plan du premier étage du château de Versailles, vers 1673. Stockholm, Nationalmuseum, NMH THC 3 (plan coloré et numéroté par l’auteur).

In 1673 the King and Queen's apartments were symmetrical which is evident from the names you can read below. At this time they were named after celestial figures but neither the Salon of Jupiter nor the Salon of Saturn still maintain their names.

The King's apartment as it was in 1673:
1. Second Salon of Venus 
2. Salon of Diane - Then an antechamber 
3. Salon of Mars
4. Salon of Mercury - Then an antechamber
5. Salon of Apollon - Then the King's Grand Chambre
6. Salon of Jupiter - Then Council Room
7. Salon of Saturn - Then Petit Cabinet
8. Salon of Venus - Then Small Private Chamber

The Queen's apartment as of 1673:
9. Salon of Venus - Then a small cabinet
10. Salon of Saturn - The Small Private Chamber
11. Salon of Jupiter - Grand Angle Chamber
12. Salon of Apollon - The Queen's bedroom
13. Salon of Mercury - Then an antechamber
14. Salon of Mars - Guard's room
15. Salon of Diane - Chapel between 1672-80

                   Fig. 2 : Restitution des appartements du Roi et de la Reine au château de Versailles après la mort de Marie-Thérèse, vers 1693, d’après le plan dans Verlet 1985 (p. 208) [plan coloré et renuméroté par l’auteur].

Here we are 20 years later in 1693 after the death of Queen Marie Therese. Several new rooms has been added to the King's apartment - but not to the Queen's - which can be explained quite simply. The Queen had died in 1683 and consequently there were no one to claim the extra rooms which were then added to the King's interior apartment. 

2. Cabinet of Medallions
11. Vestibule
12. Guard's Room
13. Antechamber to the Grand Couvert (Grand Dining Room)
14. Second antechamber
15. King's Bedroom in 1684
16. King's Salon
17. Council Chamber
18. The "Wig" Chamber
19. Billiard Room also known as the Salon of Dogs
20. Salon of the Small Staircase
21. King's Staircase
22. Cabinet of Tables (possibly a work-room)
23. Shell Cabinet
24. The Oval Salon
25. First Salon of the Gallery
26. Small Gallery
27. Last Salon of the Gallery

The Queen's chamber:
28. Guard's Room
29. Antichamber
30. Grand Cabinet
31. Bedroom

                  Fig. 3 : Jean-François Blondel, Plan du premier étage et de l’avant-cour du château de Versailles dans lequel sont compris les appartements du Roi et ceux de la Reine (détail), vers 1735, in C.-N. Cochin (graveur) et J. F. Blondel, Architecture françoise […], Paris, C. A. Jombert, 1752-1756 (plan coloré et numéroté par l’auteur).

In this last layout we are now in 1735 which means that the King is now Louis XV who had a far greater preference for private life than his predecessor. It is also quite clear that there is now a Queen at Versailles again but she was not granted her entire wing. The King's bedchamber had been moved again because there were need for more room since the number of courtiers permitted to his levée and coucher had increased drastically.

The King's apartments: 

2. Salon of Venus
3. Small Salon of Abundance
4. Cabinet of Medallions
5. Salon of Diane
6. Salon of Mars
7. Salon of Mercury (also known as the Parade Chamber)
8. Salon of Apollo (also known as the Throne Room)
9. Salon of War
10. Hall of Mirrors
11. Vestibule
12. Guard's Room
13. First Antechamber 
14. Great Antechamber
15. Second Parade Chamber
16. Council Room
17.  "Wig Chamber"
18. King's Bedchamber
19.  Council Room
20. Dining Room
21. The Oval Salon
22. Cabinet
23. Antechamber
24. Bathroom
25. Second Bathroom
26. Cabinet
27. Small Gallery
28. Great Guard's Room

The Queen's apartment:
30. Queen's Guard's Room
31. Antechamber
32. Grand Cabinet
33. Queen's Bedroom
34. Salon of Peace

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