The only complete princely apartments of the Monarchie de Juillet remaining in France
On 23 February 2019, the Duc and Duchesse d’Aumale’s private apartments will open after almost two years of restoration. Created between 1845 and 1847 and decorated by Eugène Lami, these eight rooms’ decoration and furniture have been completely restored. An unprecedented opportunity for visitors to experience the magnificence of the Monarchie de Juillet in the only complete princely apartments remaining in France.
Located at the heart of the oldest part of Château de Chantilly, in the Renaissance Petit Château built from 1557-1558 by the architect Jean Bullant for the Connétable Anne de Montmorency, the Duc and Duchesse d’Aumale’s Private Apartments, are among the rooms of Château de Chantilly with the most historical connections and the most emotional
In the 18th century already, magnificent rooms had been created for the Duc and Duchesse de Bourbon. The Duchesse’s room, later turned into a “violet salon”, are where the Duc d’Enghien, last descendant of the Bourbon-Condé dynasty, was born. Bonaparte ordered his execution in the moats of Château de Vincennes in 1804. The only remaining room is the adjacent boudoir or “Petite Singerie” (small monkey room) (by contrast to the Grande Singerie located in the Grands Appartements), painted by Christophe Huet in 1735 and restored in 2010-2013.
Henri d’Orléans, duc d’Aumale, the last Prince de Condé’s heir, asked the architect Victor Dubois and the decorator Eugène Lami to create his private apartments on the ground floor of the Petit Château, between courtyard and lake, after his marriage to his cousin Marie-Caroline-Augusta de Bourbon-Siciles, on 25 November 1844.
A unique and practically untouched ensemble
Opened for guided visits in 1993 – they were still practically in the same condition as at the death of the Duc d’Aumale.
Some restoration works were undertaken since to maintain them in a satisfying presentation condition: the hangings in the Duchesse’s bedroom were replaced by identical, ones thanks to the Amis du musée Condé in 1971. More recently, several
pieces of furniture were restored in 2009-2010, the silk satin hanging of the Salon Violet was rewoven in 2008-2009 and the Petite Singerie restored in 2010-2013. A large-scale project was required to restore the beauties of this unique ensemble in France.
Disorderly greyish wall panelling, sagging floors, sundamaged and discoloured wall hangings and fabrics, worn-out gilt, yellowed paintings…The damage of time was pervading and did not do justice to the place. Thanks to the Institut de France, the Fondation pour la Sauvegarde et le Développement du Domaine de Chantilly and the Direction régionale des affaires culturelles des Hauts-de-France, a restoration of structures and decors was undertaken under the lead of Pierre-Antoine Gatier, Chief architect of historical monuments.
The restoration decision
The restoration decision, in line with the general restoration approach for the Domaine, was to restore and conserve the site and works in accordance to the 1897 dispositions, dating from the Duc d’Aumale’s death, notably known through estate inventories and photographs of the time. Special attention was given to the preventive conservation of the site and collection.
Indoor climate conditions were improved with increased supply air grille surface; similarly, lighting was improved with the installation of panels to filter outside light and of adapted glass products. The durability of the works in time was also a strong focus: a screed was placed under the historical parquet floor to reinforce it in view of visitor circulation.
Beyond the restoration and conservation of the paintings, gilt bronzes, joinery and cabinetmaker furniture, the conservation of fabrics was one of the major stakes of this project. Solutions were selected on a case-by-case basis, depending on the state of conservation of the existing fabrics. When possible, the choice was to keep the original fabrics, to restore and strengthen or revive them with dyed crepeline. When textiles could not be saved, they were carefully kept, in sub-layer or in storage. Carefully selected facsimiles replaced the original works on paper now placed in storage.
The project also made it possible to rethink the museography and presentation with the help of new lighting systems.
The Chantilly Private Apartments’ greatest charm and attractiveness come from the furniture and works that decorate it, bearing witness to a remarkable period in decorative arts and showing the personal memories of the Duc d’Aumale and his family. It is only thanks to the generosity of the Amis du musée Condé in first place, the Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly, our corporate donors (Yves Delorme and the Compagnie des montres Longines Francillon SA) and individual donors, that such a major project for the collection, including the impressive restorations, could be carried out.
Location: The Château de Chantilly
Times (booking on site): Tour in english everyday at 11:30 am
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets and rates: 5€ / person (adults and children), supplement to entrance ticket