On September 24, 2019 and for the third consecutive year, Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly (FODC) held an extraordinary gala evening at Chantilly. Under the leadership of its Chairman, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, and its Board of Directors, this prestigious event was co-chaired by Katharine Rayner and Michel David-Weill. They brought together an Honorary Committee of internationally renowned figures such as His Royal Highness Duke Franz of Bavaria, Count and Countess Edouard de Boisgelin, Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand Chardon, Mr. and Mrs. Eric Freymond, Their Highnesses Prince Hubertus and Princess Alexandra Fugger-Babenhausen, Mr. and Mrs. Achille Murat Guest, Dr. Amin Jaffer, Dr. Susan Kendall, Ambassador and Mrs. Earle Mack, Peter Marino, Mrs. Jean-François Méjanès, Ambassador and Mrs. Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut, Prince and Princess Poniatowski, Baron and Baroness Seillière, and Mr. and Mrs. Jean Solanet.
This elegant gala dinner attracted almost 300 art collectors, philanthropists, cultural notables, business leaders, dignitaries and friends from all over the world who gathered in support of a major exhibition on Chantilly and Meissen porcelain scheduled to open in September 2020. The Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly was particularly delighted to welcome this year many generous donors who have already contributed to the exhibition as well as renowned experts and dealers in the field of porcelain and decorative arts.
Upon arrival at Chantilly, guests were greeted by Prince Amyn Aga Khan, Chantilly’s curators Nicole Garnier, Mathieu Deldicque and Marie-Pierre Dion as well as Général Jérôme Millet and Fondation de Chantilly Executive Director Fériel Fodil. They were then led outside to the lovely Volière Garden bordering the castle and overlooking the English Gardens. Maître d’s from Maison Lenôtre wearing Champagne Laurent-Perrier aprons were on hand to serve the signature pink “Cuvée Rosé” – personally selected by the esteemed champagne house’s CEO Stéphanie Meneux – whose brilliant color and exquisite taste were only matched by the scenery.
During the cocktail reception, guests were serenaded by musicians from the talented orchestra Le Concert de la Loge whose founder, Julien Chauvin, devised a special program reminiscent of the courts of Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, who founded the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory in 1710 and of Louis-Henri, Prince de Condé, who created the Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory in 1730. Guests sipped champagne while musicians in 18th-century costumes arrived by gondolas provided by Thierry Léger and Les Jardins de Le Nôtre and by Richard Winckler and Voga Veneta Paris. Such festivities had never been seen at Chantilly since the time of the Princes de Condé!
As dusk fell, Prince Amyn Aga Khan addressed guests to warmly express his appreciation to all those who so generously supported the Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly. He particularly thanked the Gala Co-Chairs, the Committee and each of the sponsors as well as the organization’s Board members including Nathalie Brunel, Betty Eveillard, Alice Goldet, Maryvonne Pinault et Daniel Thierry.
Afterwards, Prince Amyn invited guests to continue the festivities inside the Château. As everyone entered the Stag Gallery, they were greeted by music while admiring sculptures from the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory and Chantilly’s collections. Many posed for pictures in front of this special display.
The Château’s most beautiful rooms were open for dinner: the Paintings Gallery where the Duke d’Aumale, son of the last King of France and final owner of Chantilly, hung his favorite French and Italian works; the Tribune which presents famous artists from the Renaissance to the 19th century; the Sanctuario where one can admire masterpieces by Raphael, Botticelli and Jean Fouquet; the Psyche Gallery with its stained glass windows dating from the 16th century; and finally, the Gem Gallery which houses small treasures including miniature portraits and precious objects.
The internationally acclaimed floral artist Eric Chauvin created the green and white centerpieces for each table. The Meissen Porcelain Manufactory provided delicate white figurines to complement the flower arrangement as well as large plates with a garland of striking green vine leaves whose installation was overseen by Michael Ray Albrecht, the Manufactory’s Director of International Development. Additional decorations were provided by Maison Options who, as always, perfectly mastered the art of the table.
The menu was designed by Guillaume Gomez, the talented chef at the Palais de l’Elysée, the residence of the President of the French Republic, and by Guy Krenzer, renowned chef of the venerable catering house Lenôtre. Guests began with an entrée of creamy artichoke soup with mushrooms accompanied by a delectable Château Canon 2005, which was followed by a main course of spicy duck and vegetables paired with a splendid Château Rauzan-Ségla 2008. To finish, guests enjoyed a dessert of vanilla and caramel infused vacherin and pear. A true feast for the senses!
Throughout dinner, guests were thoroughly entertained by Le Concert de la Loge who performed music inspired by the courts at Dresden and Chantilly, including pieces composed by Händel, Telemann, Charpentier and Bach. Afterwards, everyone enjoyed a walk through the galleries to marvel at Chantilly’s vast art collection before leaving the Château where they were saluted by musicians and fire breathers who marked the end of a fabulous evening.
Among the guests in attendance this year were: Marina Aaron, Prince Mubarak Al Sabah and André Dunstetter, Stijn Alsteens and Froujke Slofstra, Dominique Arpels, Hermine Bastide and guests of Coolmore Studs, Princesse Minnie de Beauvau Craon, Michele Beiny Harkins, Jane Aaron Bobrow and The Honorable Dennis Kloske, HRH Princess Béatrice de Bourbon des Deux-Siciles, Aude Charquet, Marquis and Marquise de Chaumont Quitry, Cyrille Cohen, Marie-Claire Daveu and guests of Kering, George Farias, Mr. and Mrs. Renaud Finaz de Villaine, Marcia Fuller French, Marquis and Marquise de Ganay, Dr. and Mrs. Joachim Hausser, Prof. Edwin Kohl and Arlette Jasper Kohl, Alfiya Kuanysheva, Nicolas Kugel, Hervé de La Verrie, Baroness Jean de Langlade, Christian Langlois-Meurinne, Ambassador and Mrs. Howard Leach, Senator and Mrs. Albéric de Montgolfier, Mr. and Mrs. George Muzinich, Duc de Noailles and Joëlle Chapelon, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher North, Carina Obadia and guests of Van Cleef & Arpels, Vicomte and Vicomtesse d’Origny, Marie-France Pochna, Count and Countess de Pradel de Lamaze, Alexandre Pradère, Mr. and Mrs. Louis-Antoine Prat, Alfredo Reyes, Michael Röbbig-Reyes, Mr. and Mrs. François Rochas, Pamela Roditi, Countess Gregorio Rossi di Montelera, Pavel Smutný and Jakub Hollmann, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Steinitz, Mr. and Mrs. Mario Tavella, John Whitehead, and Duchess Sophie de Württemberg.
This magnificent gala evening raised important funds for the first ever exhibition to be held on Meissen and Chantilly porcelain that will highlight the dialogue between these prestigious productions and their influence on decorative arts during the Age of Enlightenment. The 18th century was a time of artistic and technical exploration as well as exoticism. The Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, founded in 1710 by Augustus II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, and the Chantilly Porcelain Manufactory, founded in 1730 by Louis-Henri de Bourbon, Prince de Condé and prime minister to Louis XV, both sought to imitate and emulate Asian porcelain and in particular its kakiemon style all the while adapting to Western forms and tastes.
The presentation at Chantilly will be a rare occasion to see the Princes de Condé’s stunning reception rooms (including the exquisite Grande Singerie) which were decorated during the same period as the pieces that will be exhibited, transformed with incredible objects from Chantilly’s own permanent holding, the Porzellansammlung in Dresden, and other public and private collections. The renowned architect and collector Peter Marino will create a spectacular scenography that will showcase these extraordinary pieces of Meissen and Chantilly porcelain.
Friends of the Domaine de Chantilly would like to thank the Gala Chairs, the Honorary Committee, the sponsors and all those who made this Gala evening possible. We hope to see everyone at next year’s event (please stay tuned for announcements to come!) and at the “Meissen and Chantilly. Princely Porcelains” exhibition which will be on view from September 5, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
Photos (c) Luc Castel and Bruno Cohen