Friday, January 29, 2010

Petit Trianon: billiard and guard's rooms.

In my second in-depth look at the Petit Trianon, we'll continue to explore the ground floor.
The billiard's room is adjacent to the grand stairhall and in the time when the trianon was first built, was intended for the male guests of Madame de Pompadour. King Louis XV himself supplied an ornate billiards table for the use of his guests: You see the room on the floorplan below in blue.

However, when Marie Antoinette was given the PT for her own private use, she had Louis XV's pool table moved up to the main level (1784). She then gave the billiards room over to the officers of the guard (who were stationed across the stairhall) with a more ordinary billiards table, probably similiar to the one found there now. A kind gesture on her part in my opinion, as it gave additional space to her guards that also occupied a prime corner room with views of the garden.
The room has a bust of Marie Antoinette on the mantel, beautiful herringbone floors and 'high' painted paneling. The jib door connects to the warming room, a sort of butler's pantry, where some of Marie Antoinette's personal china is displayed today.
This detail shot of a door shows how beautiful the gilded bronze hardware is. I especially love this shade of green paint.
Across the stairhall from the billiards room is the guards room, seen on the floor plan above in the darker green shade. It was inexpensively finished with plaster walls fauxed to look like stone and wood cabinets with fauxed-marble tops. The window and door in this room look out into the main entry court. The room would have been filled with cots, tables and chairs for the guards as they would spend most of their time here; I can only imagine how boring that would be!
On the opposite side of the guards room from the grand stairhall (seen in the light green on the floorplan) is an unfinished stone passageway. This sits under the main terrace off the dining room on the floor above. It provided passage from the service courtyard, servants lodgings and carriage house with the kitchens behind the grand stair.
Through this roughly finished space, servants could pass un-detected from the kitchens to their own dwellings without disturbing Marie Antoinette and her guests in the gardens. The guards would also use this space and could patrol who was coming in and out of the kitchens.
I love these hewn limestone walls and exposed timber beams. This unfinished roughness was the complete opposite look of the very finished spaces found elsewhere in the Petit Trianon, but one that is very popular and copied today. Join me next week when we explore the main level occupied by Marie Antoinette.


The Down East Dilettante said...

I so love the Trianon. Rational, precise, graceful....

and that doorknob....and yes, always those faded gray/green colors.

Loving the posts

Greet said...

Thank you so much for sharing these pictures! For me the pictures are a treasure! Good inspiration for paneling and mouldings!!!

Things That Inspire said...

I love to see the thickness of the walls.

Can you imagine how these places would have smelled, with all of those people and the lack of indoor plumbing? We live in such a sanitary world now that we often forget about what the conditions must have been like back then.

Blue said...

This is a beautiful post about a beautiful series of rooms. Interesting, isn't it, that nowadays we can appreciate the differences between the finished and unfinished spaces and see them as aesthetic equals. Apropos the herringbone floor - I read years ago that the simplest floor the French did was the herringbone and that was meant to be covered by a carpet, thus never forming part of the decoration of a room.

little augury said...

loving this tour.

pve design said...

I really would love to "travel in time" and see a "soiree" well as go back in time and see you as a little boy. I bet you had designs in pre-school for architecture. Your passion is so incredible and I thank you for sharing that with me.
When I visited petit Trianon, I thought of you and oh how much you would love it.

John T said...

I have visited several times, but these spaces were not open to public viewing. Thanks for the intersting post!

Renee Finberg said...

i love these posts.

you have taken great shots.
and i love the tour you give us.

thanks for this

xx said...

Thanks for sharing, was there this summer, was a wonderful fresh place. And off course fantastic.

Thanks for those memories.


James said...

I'm enjoying this tour! How long is that pool table? It looks longer than usual. I didn't know the history of billiards until I read about it on the Willowbrook Park blog the other day. Perhaps that is one of the earlier versions of a billiards table?

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I'm glad you all share the love for the PT as much as I! It really is my favorite place, as you can tell by my numerous posts over the years!
Things that inspire - I often wonder if our looking back to the past is a sort of 'rosey' cloud. You are right - sanity conditions were awful, as was the health of many of the occupants. Small pox and other diseases scarred their faces (which thankfully could be corrected in painted portraits!). Had we photographs of the inhabitants, I think we would not be as intrigued! While I love these old houses, I really love more our modern convienences!

Blue, yes, the billiards room originally had a carpet I think I have read -as you point out. Such a pity as I think herringbone floors to be the most wonderful thing! But with no central heating, I'm sure the carpets were appreciated! They must have been filthy though without vacuums and steam cleanings!
John T - the petit trianon was just recently totally renovated, paid for by Breuget, and they had restored the ground floor kitchens to be open as well. I only wish the 2nd floor would be opened to the public as I am so curious to see it!!
James, you are right -this table is so huge -much larger than the 'pool tables' you see today. I don't know anything about the game or how it has changed. I imagine it was much more difficult on a larger table though.


I am really enjoying The Petit Trianon Series.

It is so cool to see in detail each room and discover all the architectural details in the floor plans and elevations.

Regina Joi said...

I suppose that my last comment to you had gone by the here goes again.

WHAT A POSTING...on the delicious Petit Trianon, the final home of the Enlightenment and the refuge for Marie Antoinette.

Not only is this the epitome of BIJOUX architecture, for great things ONLY come in little packages...but the history it witnessed.

I do not know if you had taken in the exhibition of the entire contents of the Petit Trianon at the San Francisco Legion of Honor in 2008, the first time in the history of the Petit Trianon ( all while the restoration was undertaken)...the Lanterne for the Salon was a favorite of mine for the paste jewels and magnificence of the chase work on the Gilt Bronze.

Watched 'Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola' the night this posting went up...and the absolute honor she had as being the ONLY film maker to use Versailles, Petit Trianon with Hameau and Temple of Love...she brought it all back to life and gave us insight to the folly of youth no matter what age of enlightenment we live ~ Beauty and Money at an early age, and then realizatin that we are not at all in control is the final lesson learned. She inhabited the rooms with powerful colors, jewels and THOSE shoes...the Petit Trianon came to life for a bit again.

The glow within from the windows at night while the tent in the garden was ablaze...Soulful.

You must make this a little book for us all to your style and knowledge. You must be incarnate of the 18thC.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Regina, thank you so very much for your kind compliments! I felt there isn't enough information about the Petit Trianon and wanted to do my small part to bring it to light. Glad you appreciate it!

Laura Casey Interiors said...

I loved visiting the Petit Trianon and you are capturing it so perfectly! I am remembering my visit so well.