Monday, 5 September 2016

Attic Apartment of Madame de Pompadour

Madame de Pompadour were given the attic apartment formerly belonging to the King's mistress, Madame de Châtearoux, when she took her place after the latter's death. She would occupy these rooms from 1745 to 1750 when she moved to the ground floor of the palace.

Her apartments were located immediately above those of the King and spanned some of the King's Grand Apartment too. The apartment passed to Madame de Pompadour's consisted of eight rooms - not counting her servant's apartments: a wardrobe, two studies, a living room, two antechambers (now gone), a water closet and large room. These faced the North Parterre and due to their location had a lovely view of the Marly forest which meant that the apartment had the luxury of being flooded by sun-light.

These were soon changed to fit the new favourite's taste better which caused the number of rooms to grow to ten rooms and a few very small cabinets. Here is the layout:

Apartments: 1 - bath, 2 - antechamber to bath, 3 - wardrobe, 4 - interior cabinet, 5 - old cabinet, 6 - chaise percée (toilet), 8 - second antechamber, 9 - first antechamber, 10 - new bedroom
The bath and its antechamber were only added later. The wardrobe is almost devoid of decoration since it had a purely functional purpose: to store Madame de Pompadour's gowns. Thus they were not used for entertaining company and the Marquise would rarely had gone in there herself.

The new bedroom was decorated with Verbeckt woodwork and designed by Gabriel. The Marquise's bed was moved into the snug alcove between two discreet doors crowned by the arms of the favourite. Here the Marquise would receive guests at her public toilette "like a Queen".

Previously (until 1748), Madame de Pompadour had slept in what later became her living room (7 in the illustration above); this had also been the bedroom of Madame de Châteauroux. The Marquise's new bedroom is characteristic with its green silk furniture. However, these pieces were not owned by Madame de Pompadour; the panels were a part of her apartment though. The furniture has most likely been chosen due to their dating back to her era and happen to be of the same colour as the varnish - called Martin's varnish - used to break off the otherwise white walls. This happened to be one of the Marquise's favourite colours.

The second antechamber (8) contains a marble fireplace and was used by Jeanne to receive guests and partially to keep some of her books.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to say exactly what pieces of furniture Pompadour filled her apartments with. She was not supplied by the Garde-Meuble since she was not an official member of the royal family and there are no inventory list in existing of her apartments 1745-50.

Madame de Pompadour loved perfume and a visitor to her apartment described how her rooms were always scented - it is said that her choice of scents could still be smelled twenty years after she had left the rooms.

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