Château de Saint-Cloud
The stereograph shows the substantial ruins of the château at Saint-Cloud after it had been gutted by fire in 1870 but before its demolition in 1891.
‘Palais des Tuileries’
The fractured remains of the Tuileries shown in a stereograph taken after the Paris Commune of 1871. It’s easy to see how the heat from the fire has fractured the fluted columns in the foreground. The palace was extensively damaged and most of the interiors were destroyed. However the shell of the building and some of the rooms remained intact and there were calls for its restoration. Among those in favour of rebuilding were Baron Hausmann, the architect Viollet-de-Duc and other members of France’s architectural community. Great was their outrage when the National Assembly voted in favour of the palace’s total demolition. Work started in February 1883 and on 30 September the last of the Tuileries was cleared away. Bits of it are now scattered around France and the recent calls for its reconstruction have come to nothing. Along with the destruction of the chateau at Saint-Cloud, the destruction of the Tuileries was probably France’s biggest cultural loss since the French Revolution.
‘Salle de la Paix’
‘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’
‘Salle des Maréchaux’
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.
‘Salle du Premier Consul’
Part of the late 17th century state apartments of Louis XIV, the Salle des Gardes du Corps was literally the room of the bodyguards who regulated access to the king. Beyond this room were the king’s anti-chamber, the state bedroom, the audience room and the Galerie de Diane, all of which survived largely intact until 1871. Later called the White Room, the Salle des Garde du Corps had a painted ceiling by the Baroque artist Nicolas Loyr depicting Fame, Abundance and other allegorical deities descending from heaven. During the Second Empire the apartment was known as the Room of the First Consul and it was here that Emperor Napoleon III held official receptions. Like most of the other state apartments, the room was hung with some spectacular rock crystal chandeliers. In the 19th century at least the room had four half-columns crowned with busts of Roman emperors, two of which can be seen either side of the painting in the stereographs. The early 19th century painting itself was by Baron Gros and showed Napoleon on horseback. Presumably the painting was destroyed along with the rest of the room during the Paris Commune in May 1871. (Many of these early pre-1871 views of the interior of the Tuileries were printed on tissue paper which helps to explain their relatively poor quality over 140 years later!)
This apartment also dated to the 17th century. It was the Louis XIV’s anti-chamber, the chamber prior to the state bedroom. It became known as the Apollo Room on account of its painted ceiling by Nicolas Loyr depicting the Sun God in his chariot. Although the furnishings dated to the 19th century, the room was rich with stucco work and cartouches executed by Francois Girardon and Louis Lerambert between 1660 and 1670. The ‘Salon d’Apollon’ was destroyed during the Paris Commune in May 1871.
‘La Galerie de Diane’
‘La Galerie de Diane’
The Gallery of Diana was one of the Tuileries’ staterooms which survived almost unchanged from the late 17th century until its destruction in 1871. The 52m-long apartment was constructed c.1670 during the reign of Louis XIV. The ceiling, walls and doors of the gallery were decorated with forty-one mythological scenes. Twenty-one of the scenes were 17th century copies of Carracci’s famous frescoes at the Farnese Palace in Rome. The subjects included Diana with Pan and Endymion, hence the gallery’s name. The stereographs do little justice to the scale and splendour of the room, the ceiling especially which was crammed with human figures in various states of undress against a backdrop of blue skies and verdant trees. The room was lit by a series of gigantic rock crystal chandeliers, and this is where Marie Antoinette played billards when the French royal family were incarcerated at the Tuileries during the Revolution. The entire room was destroyed in May 1871 when the palace was torched during the Paris Commune.