• 16 May 2018

On May 12th 2018, the queen’s house built by Marie-Antoinette between 1783 and 1787 is open to the public again. After three years of renovation of the frontage of the house and restoration of its indoor furnishing, the visitors can contemplate the artistic treasures of this unique architectural ensemble again.

Marie-Antoinette with a rose by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Marie-Antoinette with a rose, 1783 ©
Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

The Queen’s Hamlet : between intimacy and return to nature by Marie-Antoinette

Built by architect Richard Mique under Queen Marie-Antoinette‘s guidance between 1783 and 1787, the Queen’s Hamlet is a reconstitution of a bucolic fantasy. The idea for the young queen, at the dawn of the French Revolution, was to distance herself with the strict etiquette of the French court. Moreover, French philosopher Rousseau suggested at the same time that people returned to nature. The hamlet was later reorganized by Empress Marie-Louise, Napoleon the first’s second wife. The hamlet is included in the Estate of Trianon which has been the object of a special attention by the Palace of Versailles for the past few years. In 2008, the renovations started at the Petit Trianon and later extended to the Grand Trianon’s presidential apartments in 2016 and finally reached the Queen’s House in 2018.

The Queen's Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles

The Queen’s Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles

An important restoration since 2015

The restoration of the Queen’s House started in 2015 and includes both the frontage and the rich interior decoration. Indeed, the dilapidated state of the building prevented the public from accessing it. Thanks to the 18th century construction techniques memoires or according to the Empress Marie-Louise design, floors, wood works and paintings ressemble the dispositions at the time. Concurently, the Réchauffoir has also been entirely renovated. It is the building next to it that hosts a kitchen and service rooms. As a result, the idea is to share with the visitor the experience of the hamlet’s life. However, the gardens and the landscapes dispositions follow the rules established in the 30s. Indeed, there are only certain parts designed by Marie-Antoinette that remain such as the vegetable gardens. The Queen’s House and the Pool’s House have been entirely refurnished with the Empire style. The renovation was financed by Dior.

The Queen's Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles

The Queen’s Hamlet at the Palace of Versailles

The French savoir-faire in the spotlight in this new museum

As soon as it was built, the Queen’s Hamlet opposed the rustic aspect of the outside and the luxury of the inside. In order to revive the contrast, the restoration and the furnishing used a wide range of French savoir-faire. Indeed, Jacques Moulin, Architect in charge of the historical monuments, used several Art craftsmen from all sectors. Jérémie Benoît, General Conservator of the Palace of Versailles, gave a special attention to this point. In fact, it has been a guiding principle of the Trianon Palaces and the Queen’s Hamlet’s renovation. The main goal is to offer a new perspective on the intimacy of the monarchs. The public is therefore invited to share the slices of life of the court and its sovereigns in an environment that has been reproduced identically.

Read our article about the conversation between Larry Gagosian and Edward Dolman about the future of the Fine Arts market here.

Sources : Télérama and Connaissance des Arts