The Turkish Boudoir, a secret refuge for queens
The Turkish Boudoir at Fontainebleau is the last remaining example of the "Royal Turqueries” that were popular during the 18th century, and which drew heavily on the Orient for their inspiration. Designed in 1777 by the Rousseau brothers for Marie Antoinette, it is one of the great treasures of the Château. All of the originality and preciosity of the so-called Turqueries, together with their modernity, reach their full expression here : with exceptionally harmonious décor and furniture, an extraordinarily rich choice of materials and patterns borrowed from the original repertoire, not to mention the lighting effects created by the moving mirrors and transparent fabrics.
After the French Revolution, its furniture collections were dispersed, but Empress Josephine brought the boudoir back to life by having her "little bedchamber" installed here in 1806. She commissioned new furniture upholstered with shimmering velvet from Jacob-Desmalter, in a style that was evocative of the renowned taste for all things Turkish, and had the room decorated using precious materials such as embroidered muslin, taffeta, and gold lamé festoons with vermicular motifs.
The boudoir restoration project was launched in 2007. The decor of sculpted and painted panels adorned with ornaments inspired by the Levant, and mechanisms for the moving mirrors, have been restored to their former glory (both thanks to the support of INSEAD). In order to raise the funds needed for the restoration of the furniture and the boudoir’s various decorative fabrics, the Château de Fontainebleau launched a novel subscription campaign entitled, “Des Mécènes pour Fontainebleau” (or “Sponsors for Fontainebleau”). Thanks to the reconstruction of the boudoir at the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in Paris, with original furniture put on display, it has been possible to raise the money required to restore the textiles (a work of master goldsmiths) and re-weave the outstanding silk velvet upholstery fabrics. This highly technical task was entrusted to the Lyon-based company Tassinari et Chatel, whose velvet-maker patiently spent fifteen months weaving the 26 meters of fabric required.
Thanks to this exemplary restoration, under the supervision of Vincent Cochet, Heritage Curator at the Château de Fontainebleau, and Patrick Ponsot, Head Architect for Historic Monuments, visitors can now discover the subtle splendor of this enchanting place. The restoration program required : 1. Completing the restoration of the panels, windows, and parquets. 2. Restoring the cornicing and ceilings. 3. Restoring the fireplaces (those from the first two rooms were tracked down in the château and will be put back in place). 4. Restoring the paintwork and decorations. 5. Installing electrical and safety equipment. 6. Re-installing the mirrors, one-way mirrors, and coated glass.
INSEAD, longstanding partner of the château of Fontainebleau.
Founded at the very heart of the château in 1957, INSEAD has since been an important partner of Fontainebleau. This prestigious school of management (with a Fontainebleau campus) generously awarded a €324,000 grant to the château in order to restore the painted decor, as well as the room partitions and mirrors of the boudoir.
For more information, see the book written by Xavier Salomon and Vincent Cochet “Un parfum d’exotisme. Le boudoir turque du château de Fontainebleau” (2012) éditions Faton, 64p., €20, available in the château boutique.
The Fontainebleau Palace gives a warm thanks to the generous donors who contributed to the restoration of the Turkish Boudoir :
GRoW Annenberg-Regina and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, Los Angeles
Artefact Decoration - Brigitte Saby, Paris
Art Culture Studio SA, Genève
Art Transit International, Paris
Galerie Aveline - Jean-Marie Rossi, Paris
Decour Décoration, Paris
Monsieur et Madame Antoine Delon, Paris
Eeckman Art & Insurance, Brussels
Édition Faton, Dijon
Windi & Davis Grimes, Houston
Monsieur et Madame Hubert Guerrand-Hermès Estoril
Monsieur Xavier Guerrand-Hermès, Marrakech
Banque Jean-Philippe Hottinguer & Cie, Paris
Banque JCE Hottinger, Zürich
Moët Hennessy, Paris
Monsieur Yves Bouvier, Geneva
Juan Pablo Molyneux Studio LTD, Paris
Galerie Neuse, Achim Neuse et Volker Wurster, Breme
Messieurs Giles Ellwood et Philippe Sacerdot, London
Monsieur et Madame Daniel Thullier,Lille
Monsieur Franz Wassmer, Paris
La Société des Amis du Château de Fontainebleau
Monsieur Christian Baulez
Monsieur Stéphane Bern - Gotha Conseil, Paris
Madame Valérie Cerbourg-Renault
Fondation Napoléon, Paris
Monsieur et Madame Edouard de Lencquesaing
Galerie Charles Ratton et Guy Ladrière, Paris
Monsieur et Madame Odile-Marie et Louis-Claude Martin
Sotheby’s France, Paris
Monsieur Olivier Obst
Monsieur Julien Baubigeat - Monsieur Laurent Bazy - Madame Anne-Marie Berthoud - Monsieur Jérôme Boucomont Bourgogne Développement Industrie - Monsieur et Madame Peter Boyles - Madame Nicole Carpentier - Monsieur Serge Carreira - Monsieur Philippe Degueldre - Didier Aaron et Cie - Monsieur Frédéric Dutertre - Madame Frédérique Fauvel Monsieur Pascal-Jean Fournier - Monsieur Romain Goumy-Arcouet - Monsieur Eric Gross - Madame Françoise Guerlesquin Monsieur Stanislas Herbin - Madame Colette Hua-Delarue - Monsieur William Iselin – Mademoiselle Guénaëlle Jouan Madame Marie-des-Fleurs Lanneau - Madame Cornélie Lemasson - Monsieur Joël Le Carpentier - Monsieur Jean-Pierre Limet Monsieur et Madame Stéphane et Viviane Gruber-Magitot - Monsieur Jean-Baptiste Massignon - Madame Monique Monnet Monsieur Jean-François Moueix - Madame Chieko Murata - Monsieur et Madame Michel Paillard - Monsieur Pierre Patoux Madame Alicia Pic - Monsieur et Madame Michel Pucci - Monsieur Antonio Redondo - Monsieur et Madame Rémi Rouquette -Monsieur et Madame Laurent et Véronique de Simone - Monsieur Jean-Yves Verd’hurt - Monsieur et Madame Bruno Verlet