‘Rue de Royale, Saint-Cloud’
Both stereographs show the damage wrought upon the town of Saint-Cloud following the Franco-Prussian War between 1870 and 1871. The town lies just six miles from the centre of Paris and was occupied by Prussian forces during the Siege of Paris. The Prussians shelled the city from Saint-Cloud and the grounds of the nearby château of the same name. The town was badly damaged and the Royal château, residence of Marie Antoinette in the 1780s, was gutted by fire and later demolished.
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.
‘Salon de Mercure’
The Mercury Salon was one of the rooms at the former royal château of Saint-Cloud. The château was started in 1572, expanded at the end of the 17th century and enlarged again by Marie Antoinette in the 1780s. The Mercury Salon was redecorated in the early 19th century. Its ceiling, by the history painter Jean Alaux, depicted Mercury and Pandora. The walls were hung with Gobelins tapestries copied from Reubens’ History of Marie de’ Medici cycle. The tapestry shown in the stereograph is from The Birth of the Dauphin at Fontainebleau. The château was gutted by fire in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War and the roofless shell demolished in 1891. The tapestries were presumably destroyed in the fire as I can find no evidence that they still exist. Click on ‘Saint-Cloud’ in the tag cloud to the right for more on the lost château.
The huge main facade of the French royal chateau at Saint-Cloud prior to its destruction in 1870.
One of the most important 17th century interiors in France, the Galerie d’Apollon was located in the royal château of Saint-Cloud, six miles from the centre of Paris. Saint-Cloud was begun in the 16th century but the estate was purchased by Philippe, the Duke of Orleans and brother of Louis XIV, in 1658. Philippe commissioned the French architect Antoine Lepautre to rebuild the house and the Galerie d’Apollon was part of this construction programme. Completed in 1680 the gallery stretched for 42m. Its ceiling was painted by Pierre Mignard with mythological scenes depicting the sun god, Apollo, and probably influenced Charles Le Brun when he painted the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles shortly after.
In 1870 the château was occupied by Prussian forces during the Franco-Prussian War. On 13 October French counter-fire set the château ablaze and the entire complex, including the Galerie d’Apollon, was destroyed. The building’s empty shell remained standing until it was demolished in 1891. The surviving Galerie d’Apollon at The Louvre gives some idea of what the Saint-Cloud gallery looked like.