To mark the tricentenary of the Great Stables in Chantilly, approximately thirty works and archives from the Condé Museum, including the famous Album of the Comte du Nord (1784), will provide a window through which to look back at the history of the largest princely stables in Europe, with – for the first time ever – a comprehensive study of its sumptuous decor and its various uses down through the centuries.
1719 saw the start of a monumental project that was to define the cultural aspect of the town of Chantilly around a majestic building: the Great Stables of the Château de Chantilly. Work continued on the latter for almost twenty years. This exhibition proposes a look back at the history of the Great Stables of the Château de Chantilly. For the first time ever, a comprehensive study of its decor, its functions and its significance was conducted, the results of which were presented in the Reading Room of the Château de Chantilly in spring 2019.
The Great Stables are a precious testament to Louis XV style architecture. The classic lines of its projections are punctuated by an abundant, exuberant, sculpted decor. The main wing, which is 186 metres in length, was designed to house 240 horses, making it the largest princely stables in Europe.
This quest for opulence can be understood in light of the career led by Louis-Henri de Bourbon-Condé, a cousin of the king and a wealthy, avid hunter.
With approximately thirty objects from the Condé Museum and its archives, the exhibition opens with a masterpiece from its collections: the Album du Comte du Nord, in which the illustration devoted to the Great Stables shows exceptional precision and attention, despite the fact that it depicts the building in a state that was never achieved. The exhibition subsequently traces the genesis of this architectural programme, through its form, its uses and its decor; insisting on the significance of each of these elements and the risks involved in their achievement. After completion of the sculpture work at the end of the 1730s, the death of the commissioner and the architect left the building unfinished.
Studying the Great Stables of the Château de Chantilly also requires examining its uses down through the centuries. Constructed opposite the game-filled Chantilly Forest, it is above all a place for hunters. Which it remained throughout the 19th century, thanks to developments and work conducted by the Duke of Aumale. With the development of horse racing at the building’s south facade, the activities surrounding the building also partially changed its use.
Aurore Bayle-Loudet, Museum of the Horse Collections Manager
Venue: Museum of the Horse in the Great Stables at the Domaine de Chantilly
Exhibition included in the Domain ticket and the Flower Show ticket without any extra charge
Catalogue drawn up by Aurore Bayle-Loudet, Museum of the Horse Collections Manager, available in our shops