Louis Delanois, 1731-1792, received maître 1761.
First occupied by the comtesse de Toulouse and then by her son the duc de Penthièvre, the castle of Louveciennes was subsequently offered in to the new favourite, Madame du Barry on the 24 July 1769.
Immediately after, renovation works began on the château, and new
boiseries were carved by Guibert. Madame du Barry, with her Parisian
taste however soon wanted to have a pavillon built. At Christmas 1770, the plans proposed by the architect Ledoux were agreed, and the construction of the pavillon dedicated to feminine beauty started above the valley of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the famous machine de Marly. The Salon du roi, with its three double window doors, was situated with its terrace just in the middle of the long façade with three Salons.
THE SALON DU ROI
According to a 1793 inventory published by Christian Baulez, the "Salon en suite ayant vue sur la machine" was furnished with two fireplaces, each with a pair of ormolu chenets by Pierre Gouthière. On each mantel piece were placed an ormolu-mounted porcelain vase flanked by two girandoles. In the centre of the room was situated a tric-trac table, probably by Carlin and mounted with Sèvres porcelain plaques. This table was supplied to the comtesse for Versailles in 1771. The seat-furniture was equally supplied in 1771. There is a note from the doreur Cagny, describing two series of 21 chairs, 2 screens and 8 further chairs as:
"...21 autres grandes chaises aussi très riches de sculpture, ornées de branches d'olivier, rais de coeur en feuilles d'acanthe et piastres, feuilles d'olivier, les pieds cannelés, ornés de rosettes et graines, estimées au prix de 100 livres chacune eu égard à leur richesse (réglées à 84). Plus 8 autres chaises ovales, réparées idem et ornées de rubans tournant, perles et rosettes, au prix de chacune 45 livres (réglées à 36). (B.N. Ms fr.8158).
These two chairs belong, therefore, to the first series, the ones with the richest carving and gilding, which cost 108 livres each. These were meant to be be placed around the room against the walls. The frames were supplied by the menuisier Louis Delanois, carved by Joseph-Nicolas Guichard, painted by Jean-Baptiste Cagny and upholstered by François Labitte.
The original bill for the gilding of the whole suite is preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France with the papers of Mme. du Barry. It was on the basis of this bill that Salverte identified the suite.
The May 1772 inventory of the pavillon mentions upholstered furniture with mottled taffeta fabric framed by white and green trimmings, which was supplied by the marchand Fremont in March 1771 (Baulez).
However, in the 1793 inventory, only the 16 chairs upholstered with gros de Tours à fond bleu were mentioned, leaving us therefore wondering where were the remaining ones. It is certainly possible that the suite got divided by the comtesse du Barry.
To further support this hypothesis, a pair of chairs, both stamped Henri Jacob was sold anonymously in these Rooms, 1 December 1983, lot 23. They seem to relate to a commission by the comtesse of 1781. We know as well that after Louis XV's death, she furnished her appartment in the château of her friend the duc d'Aiguillon with her celebrated lit à coquille from Fontainebleau.
Further chairs from this suite were sold from the collection of the Hon. Lady Baillie, Leeds Castle, Kent, Sotheby's London, 13 December 1974, lot 181 (and again at Christie's New York, 21 November 1984, (lot 158.))
From this suite, only three other chairs are known: they were bought in 1891 by the Kunstgewerbe Museum in Berlin. Unfortunately these have disappeared since the Second World War. Interestingly, when they were sold in Paris, galerie Durand-Ruel, from the collection Taillepied de Bondy, 21-22 May 1891, lot 176, they seem to have had 18th Century upholstery, probably the original one.
Formerly in the collections Hoentschel and then Madame Jaques Balsan, a fire screen from this suite stamped Delanois is now in the Musée du Louvre (OA10219) and is illustrated in S. Eriksen, Louis Delanois, menuisier en sièges, Paris, 1968, pl. XXVIII a.
MADAME DU BARRY
Born Jeanne Bécu in 1746 to a poor woman living in Vaucouleurs, Madame du Barry caused a sensation in France and Europe by becoming the last mistress of Louis XV. Apprenticed in a milliner's shop, her considerable beauty attracted the attention of the Parisian beau-monde and, eventually, the adventurer and professional gambler Jean du Barry. Du Barry brought her to the attention of the ageing King, who had been without an official mistress since the death of the Marquise de Pompadour.
Louis XV became instantly besotted with the 22 year-old and was determined to install her as his maîtresse en titre at Versailles. In order to accomplish this, she was married to du Barry's older brother, comte Guillaume du Barry, who was paid off handsomely, and she was finally presented at Court on 22 April 1769. Falsely maligned for interfering in affairs of State, she rapidly became one of the most important patrons of the arts in the 1770's, making significant purchases of sumptuous porcelain-mounted furniture from the marchand-mercier Poirier, both for her appartements at Versailles and her Pavilion at Louveciennes. After Louis XV's death in 1774, his grandson, Louis XVI obliged Madame du Barry to retire to Louveciennes, where she lived relatively quietly until her arrest and eventual execution at the hands of the Revolutionary government on 7 December 1793.