Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly

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Episode 3 – Orléans Room / Chantilly Porcelain Gallery

This room was named in honor of the Duke d’Aumale’s family whose portraits are prominently displayed on the walls:

  • his father, Duke d’Orleans (future Louis-Philippe) Asking for Hospitality from the Monks of Petit Saint-Bernard by Horace Vernet,
  • his mother, Queen Marie-Amélie by Charles-François Jalabert,
  • his aunt, Adélaïde d’Orléans by Marie-Amélie Cogniet,
  • his sister-in-law, Duchess of Nemours (wife of Louis d’Orléans) as Diana, Goddess of the Hunt, whose portrait was specifically commissioned from Henri Decaisne for this room,
  • his other sister-in-law, Princess of Joinville (wife of François d’Orléans) by Amédée Faure,
  • and of course, Henri d’Orléans, Duke d’Aumale by Léon Bonnat.

Busts of the Orléans family members were added during the 20th century and include several works by the talented Princess Marie d’Orléans.

Mixed in with 19th-century family portraits are paintings from the Duke d’Aumale’s collection, many of which he acquired from his father-in-law, the Prince of Salerno. Among them are three important pieces of 17th-century Italian painting: An Angel Showing St. Francis of Assisi the Body of Christ Removed from the Cross and The Virgin and Child with Saint Elizabeth by Alessandro Allori, and The Holy Family with a Cat by Federico Barocci and his workshop.

Antonio Moro’s The Risen Christ between Saints Peter and Paul was originally acquired by the Prince Louis de Bourbon-Condé (1621-1686), who developed a great admiration for Flemish and Dutch schools during the years he spent in the Netherlands under the Habsburgs. Though he owned or commissioned works by Rubens, Van Dyck and Teniers, the painting by Moro was considered one of the greatest masterpieces in the Prince’s collection and in fact, it was the most expensive painting he ever purchased! Fortunately for the Duke d’Aumale, he inherited it along with the Château de Chantilly from his Godfather, the last Prince de Condé.

When the Duke d’Aumale decided to convert the Count of Paris’ apartments into art galleries, he chose the Orléans Room, the largest space in the Logis wing, as his Drawings Gallery. He installed custom-made cabinets along the walls to store his drawings in beautiful red albums and to facilitate their viewing. The Duke enjoyed showing off his impressive collection and often organized legendary lunch parties on Sundays when guests would dine in the Stag Gallery, then walk the short distance to the Orléans Room to admire the Duke’s drawings.

In the 1970s, the drawings were transferred to the Theater Library, the Duke’s former personal study located in a restricted area of the Château, for conservation and security reasons. However, the Duke’s tradition of sharing his collection has not been lost! A dedicated Gallery of Prints and Drawings was created in the Petit Château in 2017 and has since hosted an annual program of exhibitions on graphics arts.

As can be expected, the Château de Chantilly houses the largest collection of Chantilly porcelain in the world which continues to grow thanks to new acquisitions and donations. The Duke d’Aumale presented his porcelains in the Gem Gallery with small, precious artworks like miniature portraits. Once his drawing collection was moved to the Theater Library, the Orléans Room became the new Porcelain Gallery as we know it today.

The Chantilly Manufactory was founded in 1730 by Prince Louis-Henri de Bourbon-Condé (1692-1740). The ambitious Prince obtained the position of Prime Minister to Louis XV but fell out of the young King’s favor only 3 years later and was exiled to Chantilly. There, he channeled his energy into redecorating the Château in the flamboyant rococo style, building the Great Stables often referred to as a palace for horses, and creating the porcelain manufactory which was one of the earliest productions in France (it later inspired the Vincennes and Sèvres manufactories). Though the Chantilly manufactory ceased operating at the end of the century, it was highly appreciated by European aristocrats and merchants, and remains to this day one of the most beautiful examples of European porcelain productions.

The Orléans Room presents hundreds of historic pieces dating from the 18th century. Some bear the coat of arms of the Princes de Condé, others of the Orléans family. Most have the Chantilly manufactory’s characteristic mark of a hunting horn in blue or red on the bottom. While the majority of this collection is composed of tableware like cups, saucers, teapots, plates, coolers, bowls and platters – after all, the Princes of Condé entertained often and lavishly at Chantilly – it also includes decorative animal figurines as well as utilitarian objects like snuff boxes. Their décors also represent different periods of the production and vary from the early Kakiemon style imitating Asian porcelain to colorful floral designs or a simple but elegant blue and white which were popular during the second half of the century.

Chantilly’s current exhibition La Fabrique de l’extravagance. Les porcelaines de Meissen et de Chantilly, on view until August 28, tells the fascinating story of the Chantilly and Meissen productions and how they dominated decorative arts during the 18th century. It is a must-see show!

Learn more about Chantilly’s porcelain collection
(in French with English subtitles)
Visit the exhibition with Mathieu Deldicque
(in French only)

The renovation program in the Orléans Room includes the restoration of the paintings, replacement of the wall hangings and the restoration of the chandelier. The Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly is delighted to sponsor this project and would like to thank all those who wish to participate in its efforts.

Don’t miss our tour of the Isabelle Room next week!

Orléans Room: Marie-Amélie Cogniet, Adélaïde d’Orléans, 19th century and Antonio Moro, The Risen Christ between Saints Peter and Paul, ca. 1556 © RMN-Grand Palais (domaine de Chantilly) / René-Gabriel Ojeda; Orléans Room © Marc Walter, Chantilly le domaine des princes / Swan Editeur; view of the Orléans Room at the end of the 19th century © musée Condé; current view of the Theater Library © Sophie Lloyd; view of the Gem Gallery at the beginning of the 20th century © Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais (domaine de Chantilly); Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory, Teapot, ca. 1730-35 © RMN-Grand Palais (domaine de Chantilly) / René-Gabriel Ojeda; Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory, Plate, 18th century, and Sugar bowl, 1786 © RMN-Grand Palais (domaine de Chantilly) / Michel Urtado; En tête à tête avec un chef-d’oeuvre – Salon d’Orléans © Château de Chantilly; virtual visit of La Fabrique de l’extravagance. Porcelaines de Meissen et de Chantilly © Scribe Accroupi.