‘The White Room’, Berlin City Palace, c.1935

Raumbild-Verlag

c.1935

berlin schloss white hall

The White Room, or Weißen Saal, was redesigned three times. Used as a ballroom, its final appearance wasn’t attained until the end of the 19th century. White marble was installed on the walls and the ceiling was painted. The White Room was one of the interiors that survived World War Two intact but it was demolished along with the damaged parts of the palace in 1950. In 1921 a British diplomat claimed that the Berlin Stadtschoss had “the finest interior in Europe”, only a small part of which was recorded in stereographs.

The Altes Rathaus, Dresden, c.1905

‘Rathaus’

Neue Photographische Gesellschaft

c.1905

dresden rathaus

This stereograph shows the view across the Old Market in Dresden with the Rathaus (Town Hall) in the background. It’s the large building with the cupola. This was in fact the Old Town Hall as by 1910 a new one had been built elsewhere in the city centre. The Old Town Hall dated from 1740s and was designed by the Dresden architect Johann Christoph Knöffel. It was lost during a series of air-raids that took place between 13-15 February 1945. The resulting firestorm killed around 25,000 people and destroyed 39 square kilometres of the city, including almost everything in the Baroque city centre. Like most other buildings in the Old Market, the rathaus wasn’t reconstructed in the post-war period.

‘Salle de la Paix’, Lost Interiors of the Tuileries

‘Salle de la Paix’

Florent Grau

1856

salon de la paix florent grau 1856

‘Salon de la Paix’

c.1865

salon de la paix

Although it was within the walls of Louis XIV’s Baroque palace, the Peace Hall was another First Empire creation of Percier and Fontaine for Napoleon at the start of the 19th century. It was a vast gallery decorated with pilasters supporting a richly-coffered ceiling. The room got its name from a silver statue of Peace by the sculptor Antoine-Denis Chaudet which stood at one end of the hall. The statue was cast in 1806-1807 on Napoleon’s orders to commemorate the Treaty of Amiens. The treaty of 1802 saw the end to hostilities between Britain and the French Republic. This exceptional statue was fortunately removed from the hall prior to 1871 and can be seen today in The Louvre. The Salle de la Paix was destroyed during the Paris Commune.

‘Salle des Maréchaux’, Lost Interiors of the Tuileries

‘Salle des Maréchaux’

c.1865

tuileries salle des marechaux

‘Salle des Maréchaux’

Florent Grau

1858

salle des marecheaux 1858 florent grau

The Salle des Maréchaux, or Room of the Marshalls, occupied the Pavillon de l’Horloge, the great domed structure at the centre of the Tuileries. The Pavilon de l’Horloge, perhaps the most striking feature of the palace’s colossal 260m western facade, was part of Catherine de Medici’s 16th century palace but it was largely altered by le Vau for Louis XIV at the end of the 17th century. This was the entrance hall of the Baroque palace but it was extensively rebuilt internally by Percier and Fontaine for Napoleon at the start of the 19th century. The Salle des Maréchaux was constructed at this time. An enormous chamber which stood over the entrance vestibule, the Salle des Maréchaux extended up through two floors and was crowned with a golden dome. One feature of the room was a mezzanine floor that ran around the apartment supported on corbels. Another was the four caryatids modelled on those by the Renaissance sculptor Jean Goujon at the nearby Louvre (the caryatids are visible in the second of the two stereoviews). The room was a spectacular example of the remarkably influential First Empire style which was essentially born at the Tuileries and which went on to take Europe by storm. The room was adorned with portraits and statues of famous French marshals, generals and admirals, and so it acquired its name.  It was originally used as the guardroom for Napoleon’s body of Swiss Guards but was later the scene of balls and functions.  In May 1871 one of the Commune’s leaders, Jules Burgeret, ordered barrels of gunpowder to be stacked up inside the Salle des Maréchaux. The walls of the staterooms were smeared with tar and petroleum and the building was set on fire. When the conflagration reached the gunpowder there was an enormous explosion and the Salle des Maréchaux disappeared in a mass of flames. Burgeret wrote immediately afterwards that “the last relics of Royalty have just vanished”. It is almost miraculous that the fire didn’t spread to The Louvre and destroy some of the greatest artworks of Western culture.

‘L’Escalier d’Honneur’, Lost Interiors of the Tuileries

c.1865

escalier d'honneur tuileries

The first staircase on the site was built by the architect Louis le Vau for Louis XIV in the 1660s. Le Vau’s design was replaced in the early 19th century with a neo-Classical staircase by Percier and Fontaine. It was decorated with Corinthian columns and gilt bronze candelabra. The stereograph shows the view down the staircase from the first floor to the ground floor. The main sequence of state rooms could be accessed from the first floor. This staircase was one of the parts of the palace that survived the Paris Commune in 1871.

For more on the Tuileries Palace click on ‘Tuileries’ in the tag cloud to the right.