Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Petit Trianon: Boudoir

Arguably, the most important room to the mistress of a 18th century house is her boudoir. The derivation of the word is from the French word Bouder or 'to pout' . Here she can unwind in her own personal space, far from the worries of her household (simliar to a 'mancave' today I think)! Technically, the boudoir is a private sitting or dressing area off of a bedroom. In the case of the Petit Trianon, this little room has some big impact, impressive features!The room lies in the northeast corner of the first floor, in between the Salon (to which there is a jib or secret door) and Marie Antoinette's bedroom, marked in blue above.
Here in her private sanctuary, Marie Antoinette would entertain her closest friends (the bedroom was still a semi-public space at the time) and nap. Rather than draperies which posed a security risk, the room was lined with very simple boiseries with inset mirrors that at the turn of a crank in the room below, recede into the wall exposing the window on the east wall and the french doors to the terrace on the north wall.
Many of the details match that of the adjacent bedroom, including the pale blue color scheme. However, as this is a less public space, the boiseries are even simpler than in the bedroom. They saved the most showy spaces for the public, much as we do today in our own homes. The level of ornateness often would correspond to the level of privacy held by the space.
Above you can see the mirror half covering the window. While in the full height position, the mirrors act as part of the paneling and you can't even tell they are covering anything. A daybed (for naps or lounging) as well as a tea table with comfortable chairs furnish the room.
I wish I had a better photograph of the fireplace than the one above, but the drawing below shows it in detail. Beautiful white marble, delicate carvings and the diminutive scale emphasize the femininity of the small space.
The room in the service quarters below houses the 2 mirrors when they are lowered, which then in turn cover their windows. Here you can see the mirror from above which is half covering the above window and starting to be visable in the servants quarters.
Amazing 18th century technology that is still marvelous (and functioning)!

17 comments:

Karena said...

I have never seen anything like this! You are absolutely right, why aren't these still made....I can see them working in many fabulous homes.

home before dark said...

Sound like something Thomas Jefferson would have designed!

Michael said...

Very cool. Just what I need in my own little boudoir!

Paris Atelier said...

Love this post! Isn't that little room gorgeous!?! From teh color to the mirrors it perfect. She had it made!
xoxo
Judith~

Laura Casey Interiors said...

I agree! Great pictures.

sophie dahy designs said...

That is absolutely fascinating. I've never seen anything like it-wonder why they don't make them anymore.

maison21 said...

i want! fascinating post- thank you!

Cote de Texas said...

Beautiful rooM. Beautiful pictures.

Janet said...

Such a beautiful...and carefully designed room!

Ashfield Hansen Design Inc. said...

This seems like the perfect solution for many a bedroom conundrum!
Another great post-Thank you!

David @ Ashfield Hansen Design

Steel Windows said...

Looking good with those designs. It was a work of art, many will love to have that kind of designs, it is something good to the eyes of some buyer.

Lesley said...

Great post-all very intriguing.

Best wishes

robert

Kwana said...

Great post. Love the technology and the beauty.

roajewels said...

Love this- Want some of those mirrors, but unfortunately, I have no servant's quarters into which they can descend- Oh, and boudoir literally translated means "a place to pout"- want one of those too!

Square With Flair™ said...

These rooms show that classic details can be used in very small, low ceilinged spaces. What must be observed is restraint, balance and scale. The room looks like cake icing or classic Wedgwood blue jasper ware!

Jessica said...

I was thrilled to discover all of your wonderful posts on Marie, her beloved Petit Trianon and Versailles as I have just finished reading Antonia Fraser's biography of her (it left me very sad for her and her family).
What a joy it has been to see where she and the royal family lived, and to read your detailed accounts of what you saw & experienced. Thank you~

Muriellisa said...

Je suis en train de faire une maquette du Petit Trianon et je suis très intéressée par ce genre de photo. MERCI.