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The Farnese Table: 
A Rediscovered Work by Vignola 


by OLGA RAGGIO 


The Farnese Palace in Rome Is a monument ol 
such unique fascination and importance that 
anv discovery that adds to our knowledge of its 
history and of its collections is bound to acquire 
The 


who walks under the heavy barrel vault of the 


unusual interest and significance Visitor 


vestibule and climbs the wide stairway leading 
to the state apartment on the plano nobile is so 
impressed by the majesty of the architecture of 
Antonio da Sangallo and of Michelangelo that 
that 


housed one of the greatest renaissance collections 


he may forget these spacious halls once 
ol paintings and ancient statuary Here was once 


the famous series of Titian’s portraits of the 
Farnese, now in the Capodimonte Museum in 
Naples: the group portrait of the old Pope Paul 
l1l—-the founder of the Palace 


grandsons, Ottavio and Cardinal 


with his two 

Alessandro: 
that of their father, the Pope’s somber son Piet 
Luigi, Duke of Castro and of Parma and Pia- 
cenza; the handsome grave likeness of young 
Cardinal Alessandro—-the gentle humanist and 
the great collector to whom the Palace really 
owed its life; and the boyish portrait of his young- 
est brother Ranuccio who was made Cardinal at 
fourteen and died when he was only thirty-five 
Here also was that impressive series of master- 


pieces of ancient statuary that for generations 


represented the very epitome of Roman imperial 


Detail of the inlaid marble top of the Farnese tal 


ON THE COVER: Detail of one of the fauns on the 


entral pier of the Farne é table 


tor of Renaissance Art 


Vestal, 
Bull, 


Flora, the 


Hercules, th 


and the famous group of the 


grandeur the 
Farnese 
irnese 


mention only a few of the | sculptures 


now in the National Museum in Naples 


‘The Farnese Hercules has gone,” wrote 
German visitor to Rome in the spring of 1787 
the poet Wolfgang von Goethe. “The King 


Ferdinand I\ Museum i 


Naples where all the works of art he possesses 


wants to build a 


the Herculaneum Museum, the Pompei paint- 
ings and all he has inherited from the Farnese 
house-——-will be shown together Even the 
Farnese Bull must go to Naple s and be shown 


on the Promenade. If they could take also th 


Carracci Gallery, they would do it.”” So drasti 


was the removal of the Farnese collections to 


Naples that nearly all that remains today in the 
Palace are the frescoes of Carracci. Salviati. and 
Daniele da 


Volterra and the splendid carved 


ceilings of the state apartment. Only the vivid 
descriptions of the old Roman guidebooks and 
ol travelers to Rome help us tO Imagine its aspect 
when ancient statues, marble tables, and paint- 


ings made it the most imposing and sumptuous 


of the Roman renaissance palaces 


Contents 


The Farnese Tabl \ Rediscovered 


Work by Vignola 


Light on the De Tessé Room 


By ja A R McGregor 2292 





[wo years ago the Museum had the good 
fortune to acquire a monumental sixteenth-cen- 
tury marble table which is now installed in the 
main gallery of Italian renaissance paintings. 
Its top is a sumptuous inlay of many colored 
marbles and semiprecious stones forming a bor- 
der of cartouches of various shapes around two 


large slabs of Oriental alabaster. This heavy 
table top is supported by three richly sculptured 
marble piers upon which fantastic creatures are 
carved in pairs: vigorous sirens with lions’ feet 
and leafy bodies and satyrs with curious batlike 
membrane wings. A large beribboned shield dis- 
playing six lilies surmounted by the cross and the 
cardinal’s hat—the emblems of Cardinal Ales- 


sandro Farnese —appears twice on each pier 


lhe Farnese tabi 


Dick Fund. 1958 


tgned by Jacopo Barozz da Vig 


The extraordinary size of this table—almost 


thirteen feet by six——the unusual motif of the two 
alabaster ‘“‘windows”’ that form the main feature 
of its top, and the presence of the arms of Cardi- 
nal Alessandro are sufficient to identify it with a 
famous marble piece that was once part of the 
sixteenth-century furnishings of the state apart- 
ment in the Farnese Palace 

All the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century 
Roman guidebooks that describe the treasures ol 
the Palace 


with 


mention a very large table of inlaid 
Michelan- 
* Filosofi’’—the 


‘Philosophers’ Hall,’ as the great room next to 


marbles, sculptured feet 


gelo,”’ standing in the “Sala di 


the Carracci Gallery on the west side of the 


Palace was called (see plan, page 223). Starting 


> , 
Roman), about 


1) 
i 
| 














with Titi, whose Descrizione delle pitture . . . esposte 
al pubblico in Roma was first published in 1686, 
and continuing with the books of Rossini (1693), 
Barbault (1763), and Manazzale (1794), we find 
the table admiringly described as one of the 
main features of this room, and of the Palace 
itself, where, for many years, artists and travelers 
congregated to study the great antiques and the 
famous galleria. These descriptions are supported 
by even more detailed and specific ones in the 
old inventories of the Farnese collections. The 
first detailed description occurs in an inventory 
This speaks of 


“a large table of hard and soft stones, the center 


of the Palace compiled in 1653. 
being of Oriental alabaster, supported by three 
marble feet in the shape of harpies with the arms 
of the Lord Cardinal.’ Some amusing details 
show how highly its precious inlaid top was re- 
garded: **A wooden box to protect this table and 
a chain with loops to close it and in the middle a 
small mattress full of wool, covered with a quilted 
checkered cloth; and a cover for this table, made 
of tooled and gilded leather with four fringes, 
decorated borders and fleur-de-lys.”’ 

[he eighteenth-century inventories of the Pal- 
ace, taken after the collections had been inherited 
by the Bourbon house of Naples, and dated 1707, 
1775, and 1796, are also specific in their descrip- 
tions: two of them mention “a large table with 
two windows of Oriental alabaster in the middle, 


all inlaid with semiprecious stones, with a frame 


of ‘verde antico’ and marble feet fastened to the 


floor,” and the listing of 1775 gives the precise 
measurements of the table 
[he inventory of 1796 is the last to mention 


the table in the Farnese Palace The vears that 


followed were a period of great political turmoil 


as Rome and Naples became involved in the 
Napoleonic disturbances. From 1805 when Ferdi- 


nand I was deposed until 1814 the Farnese Pal- 
ace served as the Roman headquarters of Joachim 
Murat, the new King of Naples. Several umes 
his court resided at the Palace, where many 
splendid parties were given for all Roman Bona- 
partist society. It is possible that during these 
years many objects disappeared from the Palace 
and that the great inlaid table in the Philoso- 
4 


the reinstated Bourbon King of Naples ordered a 


phers’ Room was among them. For when in 18 





Cardinal Alessandro Farnese, by Titian, about 1549 
Capodimonte Museum, Naples 


new inventory Ol what remained al 
the table was no longer there 


The first nineteenth-century document tha 


i 


reters to the tanbie 1s an inventory tor hire IMsur- 
, ; 

ance of the contents of Hamilton Palace in Lan- 

arkshire, Scotland. This inventory was taken 


soon alter 1844 But it is likely that the table had 
come to Hamilton many vears earlier. It had 


been secured b' the tenth Duke ol 


en, still Marquis of Douglas and 


perhaps 


Hamilton, w 


The Metropolitan Museum of Art BULLETIN 


VOLUME XVIII NUMBI 


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an ardent Bonapartist, he lived in Rome and in 
Naples between 1816 and 1819. 

The magnificence and the grandiose propor- 
tions of the table must have especially appealed 
to Alexander Douglas. Convinced that he was 
the true heir to the throne of Scotland, he im- 
pressed all the magnificence of his taste upon 
Hamilton Palace, which in the 1820s he enlarged 
according to a Palladian plan of ambitious pro- 
portions. As “he combined in equal measure a 
love of art with love of splendour,” writes 
Waagen, 


was an especial lover of beautiful and rare mar- 


who visited Hamilton in 1852, 


) 


‘and 


bles, the whole ameublement was on a scale of 
costliness, with a more numerous display of 


tables and cabinets of the richest 


Florentine 
mosaic than in any other palace.” 
Both the Hamilton inventory for fire insurance 


and Waagen’s recollections describe the Farnese 


One of the piers of the tabl 


table as a prominent feature in the dining saloon 


of the Palace. There it remained until 1910, 
when it was sold at auction not long before the 
building itself was pulled down. It passed then 
into the collection of Viscount Leverhulme in 
London where it remained, entirely unidentified, 
until a few years ago. 

[wo years ago it was discovered in London 
with all the thrill and suspense of a mystery story, 
and salvaged from a stoneyard by a visiting 
Roman dealer whose keen eye happened to 
notice the Farnese arms awkwardly emerging 
from beneath a heap of rubbish. 

\fter the discovery, the table, whose top for- 
tunately had suffered but little damage but whose 
piers needed a vigorous cleaning from the out- 
rages of London’s soot and grime, was promptls 
There it was expertly 


cleaned and polished by the experienced crafts- 


transported to Rome. 











Detail from one of the fountains designed by Am- 


manatt for the Villa Giulia 


men who still carry on the centuries-old tradition 
of working hard stones and marble. 

This table is an extraordinary piece. Its vast 
size reminds us of the astonishment with which 
some authors described it as “the largest table in 
Rome”; or of Lalande, the author of a lively 
Voyage d'un Francois en Italie fait dans les années 1765 
& 1766, who simply rebaptized the Philosophers’ 
Room “‘la salle de la grande Table.’ The aristo- 
cratic beauty of its design, the richness of its 
marbles, the exuberance of its sculptured piers 
find no ready comparison among the sixteenth- 
century marble tables that still exist in the Roman 
collections. Its forms rather evoke the heroic, 
ornate vases, candelabra, or pedestals that ap- 
pear in the great historical cycles painted for 
Cardinal Alessandro Farnese by the masters of 
Florentine-Roman mannerism—Salviati, Vasari, 
or Zuccari. And the solemn harmony of greens, 
vellows, and blacks of its marbles is the same 
that reigns in those frescoes 

The richly inlaid top of the table (page 226) 
commands our immediate attention. Its design 
is so subtly arranged and the color impact of its 
many marbles and semiprecious stones is so great 
that we are at first hardly aware of the structure 
of the inlay. Only the thin white line that out- 
lines each geometrical shape in the wide border 
of cartouches and medallions and the two sym- 
metrical rectangles that enclose the large black 
and white ovals reveals the presence of the white 
marble ground that supports the inlay. Yet this 
line is by no means unimportant: as firm and 
uncompromising as a draftsman’s statement it 
brings out the pattern, emphasizes the decorative 
value of each form, and confers immense energy 
and distinction upon the whole design. 

The vigorous character of the border con- 
trasts happily with the delicate jewel-like quality 
of the black slate band inlaid with chalcedony 
lilies and rosettes in the technique usually called 
Florentine mosaic. This band forms the inner 
frame of the composition and divides the two 
large plates of Oriental alabaster that make up 


the center of the table 


Detail of one of the sirens on the piers 





“CRETE BS SS HOMNaR IRS MS i on Tre peor er coer 


Head of one of the silens 


These two alabaster leaves are the climax of 
the whole composition. Large, pure, and quiet, 
they fulfill the promise of their sumptuous frame 
Their hard onyxlike translucent surface, marked 
by wavy, irregular amber veins and elusive whit- 
ish formations, has the mysterious attraction ol 
light clouds traveling through a misty sky, or of 
the frozen ripples of bottomless waters. 

Much of the effectiveness of this top is due to 
the combination of two different techniques: the 
old Roman technique of marble inlay used for 
the border and the renaissance method of in- 
laying semiprecious stones employed for the 
black band with its pattern of fleurs-de-lis and 
rosettes. 

[he ancient craft of marble inlay was culti- 
vated for centuries by the Roman marmorar. In 
the sixteenth century it experienced a revival 
noticeable, among other things, in the fashion 
for richly inlaid tables in the Roman palaces and 
villas. Not many of them have survived the tide 
of fashion and time: but the accounts of two 
famous sixteenth-century villas—the Villa Giulia 
and the Villa Mattei—show us how important 
and highly esteemed they were. In a letter of 
1553, Ammanati describes one of these tables, 
inlaid with various colored marbles, supported 
by three gilt wooden piers, as “‘a very rare and 
beautiful thing’: another one in the same villa 
had been thought valuable enough to be offered 
to the Pope by the governor of Rome. And in the 
Villa Mattei—the pleasure house built shortly 
after 1570 by the patrician Ciriaco Mattei—one 
of the chief ornaments were the tavole interzia 
which he commissioned along with sculptures 
and paintings ‘“‘to transform his orchard into a 
villa.” These tables were of various sizes and 
shapes, but always their tops were remarkabl 
for inlavs of beautiful ancient marbles, among 
which Oriental alabaster was often mentioned 
as the most precious 

As to 
technique of inlaying semiprecious stones ( pretre 


dure) into a plate of black slate is rather im- 


lorentine mosai as the renaissance 


properly called—its application to furniture is 


Head of or 








not met with before the middle of the sixteenth 
century. Vasari (Lives, vu, p. 616) is the first to 
mention such ftavolini di gioie as a remarkable 
novelty: two of them were executed in 1562 after 
his own designs by a Florentine craftsman, Ber- 
nardino Porfirio da Leccio—-one for the Grand 
Duke of Tuscany and the other for Messer Bindo 
Altoviti. Unfortunately, neither these nor any 
others that may have been made during the fol- 
lowing decades seem to have survived. Even the 
earliest pietre dure tables which can be admired 
today in the museums in Florence, Vienna, or 
Paris were made in the seventeenth century, at a 
time when this technique had become the exclu- 
sive production of the grand-ducal Opificio delle 
Pietre Dure in Florence. 

The marbles used for our table are all of an- 
cient Classical origin. The alabaster may have 
been imported in antiquity from Egypt. The 
dark green marble of the frame is a variety of 
serpentine quarried in the region of Thessaly in 
Greece and commonly known as verde antico. Its 
somewhat solemn color is happily relieved by the 
golden hues of the Spanish brocatel—the vellow 
marble speckled with purplish spots used for the 
almond-shaped cartouches and for the back- 


These 
, 


are made of dramatic nero antico—a black and 


ground of the two large oval escutcheons 


white marble of great rarity and beauty, the 
origin ,of which is uncertain. Finally, adding a 
warmer accent to this cool scheme, comes the 
velvety red of the rosso antico used for the indented 
rectangles carrying the Farnese lilies, and the 
gray-rose of the portasanta marble in the car- 
touches of the border, while a variety in texture 
is introduced by the gemlike surface of the me- 
dallions of jasper and agate and the precious 
translucency of the chalcedony 

There is an old legend that the Farnese Palace 
was built with the stones of the Colosseum. If 
this has proved to be a malicious accusation, 
there is little doubt, however, that some othe 


monuments of ancient Rome were used quite 


] 


liberally as a source of materials for the embel- 


lishment of the Palace of Paul III]. The twelve 


columns of granite that support the vault of the 
vestibule were secured at San Lorenzo fuori le 
Mura: those of verde anti Michel- 


angelo LO flank the central bay on the second 


plac ed by 


floor were brought from the Aquae Albulae; and 





in 1547 we learn that the architects had gone to 
Ostia “to get colored marbles for the Palace.” 

Rich as this booty may appear, none was more 
spectacular than that offered by the systematic 
excavations of the Baths of Antonino Caracalla. 
These were started in the 1540s under the super- 


vision of Cardinal Alessandro and yielded the 


greatest part of the treasures of the Farnese col- 





lection. In the 1520s the ruins of these Baths, 
romantically bedecked with thick groves of vege- 
tation, had already kindled the imagination of 


draftsmen like Peruzzi and Heemskerck who 


filled their sketchbooks with copies of all the 


marble fragments their eves could detect. But 


now what emerged under the spades of the 


diggers was marvel upon marvel: colossal statues 


219 


and groups, porphyry vases, busts of philoso- 
phers and emperors, sculptured reliefs, poly- 
chrome marble floors and wall decorations, and 
a wealth of cameos, gems, bronze statuettes, and 
coins. It seemed as if all the magnificence of im- 
perial Rome had been suddenly uncovered, 
ready to be reborn into the new Rome of the 
Farnese Pope 

[t is almost impossible for us to imagine the 
splendid assurance with which the men of 1540 
were ready promptly to re-use these cherished 
remains of a long-dreamt-of antiquity to create 
thei own version of grandeur. As soon as the 
ground of the Baths yielded its statues and mar- 
bles, the latter were brought to the Farnese 
Palac e and turned over to ¢ suclielmo della Porta 
and the other restorers and scarpellin’ (marble 
workers) whose workshop was on the ground 
Hoor: ancient statues and other anticaglie (anti- 
quities) were there restored before finding their 
place in the apartments, and marble fragments 
were transformed into mantelpieces, door en- 
framements, and inlaid tables. Thus the furnish- 


Detail of one of the term Wved Yj Jai po de Du d 
jor Mr helangelo s lomb of J ilius Il Detail of ti} 


. 
f Vf f fg aa ing of the Palace proceeded at the same time the 


construction advanced and the excavation 
vielded their materials 
Che sculptured marble piers that support our 
» are no less remarkable than its inlaid top 
Ihe slightly understated gravish cast of the mar- 
ble is in perfect harmony with the subdued yet 
rich color scheme of the top. On each of the piers 
sirens and satyrs form a strictly composed unity 
linked to each other in an uninterrupted flow of 
curves, all the decorative elements adhere to the 
architectural function of the marble block, vet 
emerge with striking sculptural vitality. The 
female figures, powerfully modeled, stand with 
all the serene and noble beauty of their classical 
prototypes, while the satyrs range from the amus- 
ing to the grotesque. They appear (see page 218 
as young fauns on the central pier, as satyrs in 
the fullness of their maturity on one of the side 
piers, and as drowsy old silens on the other one 
Phis type of architectural sculpture is quit 
characteristic of Roman work around the middle 


of the century. Terms in the shape of solemn 








Detail of the ribbons on the central prer 


bearded figures were carved, for example, by 
Jacopo del Duca in 1545 for Michelangelo's 
Tomb of Julius IL. (Since these terms vaguely re- 
semble the figures on the piers of the table, Titi’s 
seventeenth-century description of the table as 
the work of Michelangelo, mistaken though it 
was, is at least forgivable.) Other such terms 
support the architrave of the portico leading into 
the Nympheum in the Villa Giulia; and sirens 
in many ways similar to those supporting our 
table were carved, for example, at the sides of 
the basins of two fountains in the same villa. 
Close as these comparisons may appear, it is 
in vain, however, that we look for the name of 
any particular sculptor to whom this work should 
be credited. Just as at the Villa Giulia a great 
number of scarpellin: carried out the designs of 
the architects—Vignola, Ammanati, and Vasari 
so at the Farnese Palace much of what was 
intended for the decoration of the Cardinal’s 
apartment was first designed by one of the artists 
in charge and then carried out in the workshop 


on the ground floor. 


In this workshop the architect and sculptor 
Guglielmo della Porta played the leading role 
But the names of many other sculptors and mar- 
ble workers employed by Cardinal Farnese are 
to be found in contemporary accounts: Dome- 
nico da ‘Tivoli whom the Cardinal mentions in a 
letter as attached to his service for many years: 
or a M® Giovanni Angelo, a M° Niccolo, a M” 
Manco 
della Porta in the execution of the 
Paul 


be identified. 


all craftsmen who assisted Guglielmo 
Tomb of 


III, but whose individual work cannot 


The existence of this large shop within th 
Palace precincts offers a reasonable explanation 
for what would otherwise remain a_ puzzling 
aspect of the table. For on close examination it 
is evident that the execution of these piers is the 
work of more than one hand. The vigorous carv- 
ing of the central pilaster with its bold ribbons 
and its lively fauns can hardly be credited to 
the same artisan who cut the flat, uninteresting 
ribbons that we see on the other two piers; not 
like the 


| 


thought the work of the 


can the sensitive execution of a satv1 


one shown below be 


Head of One of the salyrs 





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same craftsman who carved the masklike fea- 
tures of one shown on page 218. 

The name of Guglielmo della Porta may raise 
the question whether so important a piece as 
this table could be in some way credited, if not 
to his hand, at least to his design. Surprisingly 
enough, it cannot. Nothing is further from the 
energetic style he displays in his drawings 
(of which one of his 


contains sev- 


wiry, 
for tables and fireplaces 
sketchbooks, now in Doiisseldorf, 
eral) than the static, two-dimensional feeling of 
these piers. In spite of their supporting function, 
these figures have no actual feeling of mass and 
weight: each pier is conceived as a purely archi- 
tectural element, its sculptured decoration mere- 
ly applied in strictly symmetrical fashion and 
each face treated as an independent flat unity. 
This feeling of flatness is carried through by the 
whole design: it can be observed, for instance, in 
and the 
onto the 


the curious device by which the satyrs’ 


sirens’ wings are actually “‘stapled” 


background in an entirely abstract, unrealistic 
fashion that destroys any three-dimensional il- 
decorative, 


lusion and emphasizes the strictly 


222 











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serwans «= architelinne  precope. Mae om A frum aamen 


ener ereme 


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1549 Dick Fund, 1941 


almost graphic nature of the whole composition; 
in the horizontal line of the conspicuous double- 
gadrooned border that reminds us of a page of 
Vignola’s Regola; and in the pattern of the 
batlike wings of the satyrs so widely 
spread out over the entire surface. 

If from the sculptured piers we now turn to 


strange 


the inlaid pattern of the top, we discover a deep 
stylistic consistency between them. It was not 
the mind of a sculptor that created this piece, 
but that of an architect. And he, we will see, 
could be none other than the same who designed 
so many cornices, door enframements, and fire- 
places for Cardinal Farnese: Jacopo Barozzi 
da Vignola. 

Vignola’s achievement as an architect is too 
well known to need more than a short mention. 
Born in 1507, he was educated in Bologna, where 
he was first trained as a painter and a designer. 
His interest in perspective, which lasted through- 
out his life, made him the author of some in- 
teresting compositions translated into wooden 
intarsia panels by Fra Damiano da Bergamo, an 


early example of which, dated 1534, is in the 








Museum’s collections. In 1535 he went to Rome 
where he was first employed by one of the Pope’s 
architects, Jacopo Meleghino. His many skills 
must have come to the fore in the early 1540s, 
for when Francesco Primaticcio, who had suc- 
cessfully made his way up at the court of Francis 
I, appeared in Rome with royal orders to collect 
plaster casts of many ancient statues, he invited 
Vignola to France to work as an architect as well 
as to help him with bronze casting. The trip to 
France, whence Vignola returned after eighteen 
months, had a profound influence on the develop- 
ment of his style as both designer and architect. 
Soon afterwards he received his first important 
commissions in Rome: the church of Sant’ An- 
drea on Via Flaminia, and the Villa Giulia for 
which he designed the elevation of the Casino 
and much of the inner decoration of the rooms. 

These years marked also the beginning of his 
work for Cardinal Farnese—a long and fruitful 
association that was to last until Vignola’s death 
in 1573. During the nearly twenty-five years 
when Vignola was the official Farnese architect 
he created the two major works to which his 
fame is forever attached: the Farnese Palace of 
Caprarola which Vasari called “‘the most beauti- 
ful palace of Italy,” and the Church of the Gest 
whose design, completed in 1568, was the proto- 
type for Jesuit religious architecture 

It is the role of Vignola as architect in connec- 
tion with the building and the inner decoration 
of the Farnese Palace in Rome that is of special 
interest to us. Vignola’s first duties there proba- 
bly started shortly before 1549; they continued, 
slowly and perhaps with interruptions, as long as 
he lived. When Vignola’s presence at the Palace 
is first recorded, the entire front of the building 
had already been erected after the plans of 
Sangallo, and in 1546 Michelangelo had suc- 
ceeded him as the main architect. A print en- 
graved in 1549 by Beatrizet shows its aspect 
approximately as we see it today. At the same 
time we know from a report to the Duke of Cas- 
tro that in 1547 the rooms of the second floor 
were already vaulted and almost ready for oc- 
cupancy. Under Michelangelo’s supervision 
Vignola’s role in the Palace was that of second 
in command. Undoubtedly he was responsible 
for the progress of construction of the side wings 


of the Palace which were erected soon after 1550, 


and for that of the west front which Michel- 
angelo designed as three superimposed loggias 
opening a vista toward the I iber, as we see in an 
engraving of 1560 (page 224). But his role was 
not limited merely to carrying out Michelangelo’s 
plans: his principal original contribution was 
designing the inner fittings of the rooms of the 
state apartment as, one after another, they were 
erected. So it was that in 1568 the southern wing 
of the Palace was called in an inventory ‘* Vigno- 
la’s side”’ (la banda del Vignola). 

Some of Vignola’s work at the Palace is pre- 
cisely documented: the great mantelpiece flanked 
by caryatids in the Great Hall, and the fireplace 
that was once in the bedroom of Cardinal Ra- 
nuccio and was sold in the nineteenth century 
by the Bourbons. These were designs of which 
Vignola was proud enough to reproduce them in 


ror 


the Regola delli Cinque Ordini, published in 1562 


under the auspices of Cardinal Farnese. 


The Farnese Palace: ground plan of the state apart- 
ment. 1. Great Hall. 2 Salotl Cardinal Ra- 


nuccio’s bedroom. 4. The Emperors Room. 5. The 


Philosophers Room. 6. The Carracci Galler) 


lo della Morte 


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Other works bear so clearly the stamp of 
Vienola’s distinctive ornamental taste that they 
can be promptly recognized as his. For instance, 
the pattern of the tiles on the floor of the main 
hall; the marble mantelpieces in the Salotto with 
Salviati’s frescoes and in the Emperors’ Room, 
as the largest room in the north wing of the 
Cardinal’s apartment was called; and the stucco 
frieze that runs beneath Daniele da Volterra’s 
Bacchanalians in Ranuccio’s bedroom (see page 
228). Their designs are remarkably close to those 
of the mantelpieces and stucco borders of the 
Farnese Palace at Caprarola There 
we know that Vignola was responsible for even 
the smallest details, for not only does Vasari tell 


page 229). 


us that Cardinal Farnese wanted Caprarola to 
“be entirely born out of the caprice, invention 


and design of Vignola,” but Vignola himself 


1 ee of the west side of the courtyard of the Farnese 


fit 


sonth hia 
M 1enificentiae 


Antonio Lafreri’s Speculun 





wrote to the Cardinal, “In my designs I no 
longer trust anybody but myself.” 

As we return to the design of the marble inlay 
of our table, we recognize some of Vignola’s 
favorite ornamental motifs. The most striking 
are the confronted crescents and the indented 


These 


identical form in the stucco 


rectangles carrying the Farnese lilies. 
occur in nearly 
frieze in Cardinal Ranuccio’s bedroom and in 
several places at Caprarola, where Vignola’s 
predilection for a few basic forms—mostly oval 


broken 


shapes and outlines——-can be traced 


every where. 

But what is even more characteristic of Vign- 
ola is the way these elements are organized so 
as to convey the impression that the whole com- 
position gravitates around the two alabastet 


plates. The oval forms that he uses for the bor- 


>,/ lon FF) ee j - moe 
Pala @, looking toward the garden, [500 I graving f? 


Dick Fund, 1Q41 


- 
~~ oe *- 

















Mantelpiece by Vignola in the Great Hall of the 


state apartment 


ders are not merely alternated: they are sym- 


metrically grouped according to the unity of the 


whole surface. Thus the four agate medallions 


set off the limits of the alabaster plates, and the 
double pairs of confronted crescents mark the 


perpendicular axes of the 


composition with the 
center of the table as their crossing point. 

Such a strictly geometrical plan and the type 
of dry imagination that plays with a few basic 
shapes to create a perfect, self-contained surface 
pattern are entirely typical ol \ ignola. We see 
it, for instance, in a drawing of 1569 for tne 
pattern of a tiled floor planned for the chapel at 
Caprarola (page 229), or in the very personal 
way he subdivided the Caprarola ceilings into 
several fields. It may, perhaps, also be recognized 
in the design of some of the carved ceilings in the 
Roman Palace 


feeling for the decorative potentialities of a flat 


It is the same inborn 


page Q 30 


surface that reigns throughout all Vignola’s 


works, whether he designs a pala os facade or the 
outline of a window or fireplace, or supplies the 
pattern of an inlaid table 

In the design of the marble piers the name of 
Vignola explains some elements that cannot be 
well understood otherwise. One such is the 
curious and completely unorthodox invention of 


Without 


parallels in the sculpture of the time, these seem 


the strange batlike wings of the satvrs. 


to be the fruit of a queer, literary imagination 


the imagination of a northerner at heart as 


Vignola always remained—the same imagina- 


tion that was responsible for the superimposed 
creatures that flank Ranuccio’s fireplace, the un- 
usual caryatids of the fireplace in the Great Hall, 
and perhaps the winged fauns of one of the 
fountains at Caprarola 


Vignola’s connection with the Farnese Palace 


from about 1549 to his death in 1573, as well as 


the stvle of our table, would be sufficient evi- 


dence for dating its design and probably its 


execution to those years. There are, however, 


several other factors that permit us to narrow 


down this long span of time. The first decisive 
clue to the dating of the piece is the presence of 
the arms of Cardinal Alessandro. For in spite of 
the important role he played in the construction 
of the great Roman family palace, his arms do 
not appear there before 1565, the vear of the 
death of his youngest brother, Ranuccio, Cardi- 


nal Sant’ Angelo. During the sixteen years be- 


Envra no fron | gr 7 R 7 ( 
Ordir 156% vine untels = 
r Cardi Ranucc roon 
































The tnlaid marble top of the Farnese table 


tween the death of Paul III and that of Ranuc- carried the arms of Cardinal Alessandro during 
cio, the Palace was gradually prepared to be- Ranuccio’s lifetime. 

come Ranuccio’s residence. His coat of arms More evidence can be gathered from the 
six fleurs-de-lis and a cross in chief—and his records that refer to Cardinal Alessandro’s pur- 
name were placed upon mantelpieces, doorways, chases. In 1562 the Cardinal bought a group of 
ind ceilings, and we can hardly think that so marble sculptures as well as “‘an alabaster table”’ 
conspicuous a piece as this marble table, planned from a Roman nobleman, Paolo del Bufalo. 
for one of the main reception rooms, would hav There would be nothing in so casual a mention 








pai ET eee Ry ta 








to stir our attention, if we did not notice that the 
price of this alabaster table (probably a simple 
alabaster slab) was extraordinarily large: 300 
scudi, a sum higher than that paid for any of the 
important sculptures listed in the same deal. 
In 1568 the first inventory was taken of the 
contents of the Farnese Palace. It is a short but 


extremely interesting list, for it shows that at 


that date the furnishing of the 


was still far from being finished 


rooms that had belonged to Ran 


statues, modern sculptures, new 


ture, and manv unworked sl: 


marbles were stored away next to ea 


ins ¢ 


| 


one point we note the mention of 
= 


di 


alabastro.”’ 


This is evid 


ent 


1\ 
1\ 


state 


r 


In 


if 


C1O 





ipartment 


most ol 


mncien 


the 


ft 





ies esis Rs 2 6 SN aa kaaaeD 











MWD. eras 


Biase ave 








Detail of the stucco frieze, probably designed by Vignola, 


Detail of the Salotto with frescoes by Salviati and a 


mantelpiece de signed by Vignola 








for Cardinal Ranuccio’s bedroom 


Cardinal acquired in 1562. Was the slab still 
unworked, or was this a finished table with a 
prominent alabaster center on top? It would 
hard to decide this question. But the coincidence 
of all elements is so great that we may strongly 
suspect that we have here the first reference to 
the great table later to be placed in the Philoso- 
phers’ Hall 

[he importance of the evidence that allows 
us to date this work definitely in the 1560s can- 
not be sufficiently stressed. For this piece, with 
its unique combination of marble and pretre dure 
technique, is, indeed, the earliest example of this 
type of work. In the Palace itself, a few small 
marble tables—for example, that illustrated on 
page 230—repeat some of its motifs of cartouches 
and medallions. But the difference in quality is 
impressive. They are real workshop pieces: the 
crowded and pedestrian pattern of their tops 
makes us better appreciate the subtle spacing of 
Vignola’s design 

As a piece of furniture and of glyptic d 


tion, Vignola’s table stands with the unique 


CCOoTra- 


authority and originality of all that was created 
for the Great Cardinal. Like the Farnese casket 
made by the goldsmith Manno and the crvstal 
engraver Giovanni de’ Bernardi da _ Castel- 
bolognese, and now at Capodimonte, or like 
the famous Farnese Book of Hours illuminated 


by Giulio ( lovio and now In the Morgan Li- 











Vignola 


proclaims far and wide the majesty of the Roman 


brary, the Farnese table designed by 
High Renaissance. 


I should like to express my best thanks to His Excellency 
Ambassador Palewski for his courtesy in allowing me to 
inspect the Farnese apartment now occupied by the 
French Embassy to the Italian Government, and to take 
measurements and photographs in many rooms normally 
not accessible. 

I am deeply indebted to Professor Wolfgang Lotz for 
bringing to my knowledge some of the unpublished 
documents concerning Vignola’s work at the Farnese 
Palace, and to Jac k R 


our table was at Hamilton Palace 


McGregor for discovering that 


As no recent complete study exists on the architectural 
history of the Farnese Palace or on Vignola’s work there, 
the documents upon which this article is based are scat- 
tered in numerous publications 
Cadier, *‘Le tombeau du Pape Paul III 
d Archéologie et d’ His- 


Ihe most important of 
these are: L 
Farnése; Documents,” in \élanges 
torre, IX, 1889, pp. 77-92; P. Giordani, **Ricerche intorno 
alla Villa di Papa Giulio,” in L’ Arte, 1903, pp. 133-138; 
di Roma, Il, 


Rome, 1903, pp. 149-179 and III, Rome, 1907, pp. 17, 


and especially R. Lanciani, Storia degli § 


21-24, 93. 








ad perme Le cache acerh 
wid owbn 1s 49 $F pan nate dite Lah A Labor 


Vignola’s drawing for the floor of the chapel at 
Caprarola, 1569. From Lotz, Vigenola-cerchnungen, 
in Jahrbuch der Preuszischen Kunstsammlungen, 


IQ 26 


LEFT: Detail from a stucco decoration at Caprar 


lesigned by Vienola 


REFERENCES TO OUR TABLE 
INVENTORIES 


“Inventarium rerum mobilium insignium quae sunt in 
Palatio ill Documenti in- 
edit per ervire alla Storia det Musei d'Ita Florence 
Rome, 1878-1880, I, p. 73. 

Vobilt-Inventar li Roma 37 Dicembre 1653, MSS. Parma 
Archivio di Stato, Busta 86, p. 276 


Cardinalis Farnesij, 1568,” 


‘“Inventario generale delle statue . a. 1764,” D 
inediti, etc., III, p. 190 

‘“‘Inventario delle statue . . alli 1 Novembre 177 4 
Documenti inediti . 25s, p. 199 

‘‘Nuovo Museo e Fabbr. della Porcellana di Napoli 
a. 1796. Inventario generale,’ Documenti inediti, etc., I, 
p. 209. 

An excerpt of the report of 1834 is quoted by R. Lanciani, 


Storia degli Scavi di Roma, U1, Rome, 1907, p. 176 








AT TOP: Marble id top 0 f small te s still in the Farnese Palace. 


BELOW: Cevling of one of the rooms at the northwest corner of the state apartment, 


arms and emblems of Cardinal Alessandro Farnese 

































































fo G8 OR & S| 


en 20 Ok Shee Ue Oe a 


-* 










































































DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FARNESE PALACE 


I Liti, Descrizione delle Pitture. 


ture ed architetture es \. Manazzale, Ron t ses environs, Florence, 94, PP 
al pubblico in Roma, Rome, 1762, p. 112 (ist ed. 1686 2Qb-9G 


P. Rossini, // Mercurio Errante, Rome, 
ed. 1693) 
F. de’ Rossi, Descrizione di Roma Moderna, Rome, 1708 


p. 275 


2/5: 


ENGLISH SOURCI 


]. Barbault, Le plu heaux Ecdifices de Rome Moderne, Rome. G. E. Waagen, Jreasur {rt in Great Britain, IIT, I 





1763, p. 51. don, 1854, p. 298 
J. J. de Lalande, Voyage d’un Frangois en Italie fait dans li H. A. Tipping, ‘“‘Hamilton Palace, Lanarkshire,” ¢ 
années 1765 & 1766, IV, Venice, 1760, p. 160 Life, XLV, 1919, p. 7 
D. Magnan, La Ville de Rome ou description de cette superbe Hlamilton Palace, Sale Catal e, CI ndo 
ille, III, Rome, 1778, p. 31 (1st ed. 1763). November 12, 1919, No 
. 
+ rr * ™ 
Saar dag 
oF 
della Cancelleria, 1 940 
231 











Aa ets RE ERE 


New Light on the De Tessé Room 


by JACK 


(he Grand Salon from the Hétel de Tessé at 1 
Quai Voltaire, Paris, was given to the Museum 
in 1942 by Mrs. Herbert N. Straus. Since its in- 
stallation in 1954 it has become a favorite of 
Museum visitors—and justly, for the room is a 
splendid example of the Louis Seize style. It 
combines extreme delicacy of carving with a re- 
straint in the use of ornament that gives it a rare 
quality of composure and grace. Several months 
ago the room was relighted and repainted, then 
furnished anew. 

rhe Hotel, which still stands at the corner of 
the Rue des Saints-Péres and Quai Voltaire, 
was completed in 1768 for Marie Charlotte de 
Béthune-Charost, Comtesse de Tessé, widow of 
René de Froullai, Comte de Tessé, who had been 
First Equerry to the King. Upon the death of the 
Comtesse in 1783 (we know the date because M. 
Bachaumont in his memoirs speaks of her on 
September 22 of that year as having died shortly 
before) it passed into the hands of Abbé Bory, a 
member of parliament. The Abbé received a life 
a short one, as it proved, 


3, 1785. The Hotel then 


interest in the property 
for he died on May 1f€ 
reverted to the Comte de Tessé, son of the old 
Comtesse; he sold it on March 31, 1786 to Fran- 
¢gois Gaspard Philippe Petit de Petival for the 
sum of 265,000 livres—230,000 for the building 
and 35,000 for the fittings, which included 
the boiseries. 

The original design of the house is generally 
attributed to the architect Pierre Noél Rousset 
It was built between 1765 and 1768, at a cost of 
219,000 livres, by the Letelliers, Entrepreneurs 
des Batiments du Roi. The Letelliers were com- 
parable to the contractors often employed today 
in the construction of large buildings, who are 
responsible for financing, building, and renting 
or selling. The firm is credited with the construc- 


tion of a number of distinguished buildings in 


bo 
Ww 
bho 


sfrative Assistant 


Paris: the Hétel d’Aumont (now Crillon) and 
the buildings adjacent to the Place de la Con- 
corde along the Rue Royale are due to them 
These were given uniform facades behind which 
there could be any distribution of space the 
entrepreneurs desired. (The same practice was 
common in England, especially in the develop- 
ment of spas, and may readily be seen in Wood’s 
development of the city of Bath.) 

To ensure that the reinstallation of the De 
lessé room would be in keeping with its original 
appearance it was necessary to make every effort 
to date it. There was a four-year lapse between 
1768 when the building was completed and 1772 
when the bill was paid, and this may be ac- 
counted for by the time necessary to finish the 
interior. The possibility is borne out by Louis 
Sebastian Mercier, who wrote: “When a house 
is built, less than a quarter of the expense has 
been met; the carpenters, the tapestry weavers, 
the painters, the gilders, the sculptors, and so 
forth, arrive, and the work of this crew goes on 
1 Pinfnn.”’ The most logical conclusion, then, 
would be that the room now in the Museum 
was originally installed about 1772. 

Stylistically, however, certain elements tend 
to indicate a later date. The putti supporting the 
central medallions in two of the overdoors of the 
Grand Salon are derived directly from putti on 
the overdoors of the Salon du Reception in the 
Garde Meuble (now Ministére de la Marine) on 
the Place de la Concorde. This building, though 
begun in 1755, was not finished till 1775. Pierre 
Verlet has published accounts paid to the various 
firms employed there, and these show that those 
legions of carpenters and gilders to which Mercier 
refers were much in evidence during the last two 
years of construction. Since the overdoors in the 
royal building would almost certainly be the 


model for ours, the De Tessé reliefs cannot date 





Architecture Honor in San Francisco by Richard S. Rheem 


1775 


): Hautec oeur, in 


much. betore 


classique en France, points out that such a cor- It is smaller than the De Tessé room and depends 
upon a high concentration ol ornament to create 


an impression of splendor, with Corinthian pilas- 


respondence in overdoors is fairly common; he 


cites for example the identical overdoors in the 
12 Rue Royale, both dated ters giving it an effect of great height, suggesting 


The the grandeur of the era of Louis XIV. The carv- 


houses al I! and 
1787 and both built by the Letellier firm. 
room from No. 13 is now in the Philadelphia ing of its mirror frames and doors is similar 
Museum of Art.) that of the De Tessé room, and the ove 

Adjacent to the Grand Salon in the De Tessé identical with ours. We do not know the exact 
house was a small room called the Seconde Anti- date of the d’Humiére room, but the Hétel was 


chambre. Here the plaster reliefs over the doors built originally in 1726 by the erchitect Claude 


represent the four seasons, with numerous pudgy Mollet and was destroyed in the 1860s when the 


putti frolicking among their attributes. The re- — city planner Haussmann redesigned Paris fot 
a set in the Hétel Mas- Napoleon II] Ihe salon that so strikingly re- 
serano, which was not started until 1787 sembles ours was obviously built later 
The room that most resembles ours was for- and must hav 

is modernization of the house. There are apparently 


e Kno 


liefs are identical with 
than 1726 


into existence during a 
merly in the Hétel d’ Humiére in Paris and wi 


recently given to the Museum of the Legion of no records of such a remodeling, but w 


the Hotel de Tesse Gift of Mrs. Herbert 





























that the Montmorency family acquired the house 
in 1788, and that would have been a logical time 
to undertake a renovation. 

We may suppose, then, that the De Tessé room 
was built sometime between 1772 and 1788. 

The present lighting of the salon was achieved 
by installing outside its windows large curved 
plaster reflectors that extend from floor to ceil- 
ing. These replace a flat wall which was a good 
general reflector but failed to concentrate enough 
of the concealed artificial light through the win- 


dows Alternate davlight and int andescent bulbs 


provide a color-balanced light, and spotlights 


‘ 


are directed from a high angle through the win- 


Nee 


dows to simulate sunlight streaming in. 


A central problem in the reinstallation of the 


~ . 


De Lessé room Was to select a color similar LO 


have been used originally. Colors ar 


what must 





alter thev have been in 


- 
s 
f 


existence for nearly two hundred years, espe- 


~ 


cially since water paints not unlike whitewash 
Detail of t) were used in the eighteenth century. It is also 


DoUserles 


4 Ne 


possible that the original colors were fugitive, or 


that the room may have been scraped or washed 


framing a 


\ 


mirror down to a clean surface after many repaintings, 
this happened at Versailles during the ume of 
Louis Philippe, when many rooms were “scraped 


to the quit k” and re painted a gray stone color 


wi 


~ 


\. 


(The case is considerably easier with eighteenth- 


aM i A Me a ee 


LA 


century English rooms, for a vast number of 


colored drawings by the brothers Adam and 


> 
eS 


others still exist and can always give the key to 





the general color thinking of the period if not 


indeed the answer to the specific problem at 


hand 

Our physical examination revealed a clear 
mat white as the earliest coat now on the De 
Tessé woodwork. It may be argued that this 
white was merely the ground coat for a later 
color, but its use is in direct agreement with re- 
cent discoveries about the King’s private chaim- 
bers at Versailles. Henry Racinais in l/n Ter 
Inconnu, published in 1952, which describes the 


restoration done since the First World War, re- 


“~*~ ee @ @ 
PNAS 


ports that many of the rooms were painted a flat 


white called blanc du Roi over the layer of gesso 


ve 


that covered the carved wood paneling When 


color was used it was in the form of vernis Marti 


~/_ 


a varnish with color that resembled a present- 


ASRCASA 


’ 


dav enameled surface. 

















Racinais has also published documents, pre- ments du Roy. La Chambre a parqueter. The ceiling 
served in the Archives Nationales, concerning of this particular room to be repaired |leaking 
various specific projects undertaken at Versaille roofs seem to have plagued the King’s private 
in 1780. One example of many reads: “* Apparte- quarters} and the whole room t e repainted 








white, the edges of the paneling to be pulled into 
line and the kitchen and offices of the Petits Ap- 
partements to be More 


detailed descriptions which read like daily en- 


repainted. 5,450 livres. 


tries and are marked ‘‘done’’ contain such 


phrases as “‘la dite galerie peint en blanc,” “le 
tout peint en blanc,” “la piéce peint en blanc.” 
A painter’s recipe book published in Paris in 


1772 (Watin, L’Art de faire et @employer le verni 
au Lart du vernisseur) discusses the use of white in 
rooms: ‘*The Blanc du roi is so named because it 
has often been chosen for the King’s apartments 
and it is the most usual where varnish is not 
wanted. It is very beautiful in its freshness 

This Blanc du? 
which are rarely used, but it is 


zis very lovely, and fine for rooms 
quite subject to 
damage. It is chiefly employed in rooms that 
have gilding, where the gilded carving and boi- 
series are emphasized by a background of this 
beautiful white. This white is the friend of the 
gold, as the workmen say; that is, it makes the 
gold brilliant and brings it forward.” 

Though the matter of taste enters so much 
into choosing color and endless discussions may 
take place on the basis of personal prelerence, 
it seemed best to follow evidence like that above 


in repainting the De Tessé room. Consequently, 


Detail of the bowseries above one of the mirrors 





a water-soluble white casein paint was finally 
chosen. The work was painstakingly done so 
that none of the gilding would be damaged, and 
the color is an almost perfect match to that used 
in the recent restoration at Versailles. The beauti- 
fully preserved warm gold of the carving pro- 
vides, as Watin said it would, perfect highlights 
for the white. 

Eighteenth-century views and inventories in- 
dicate that the most fashionable rooms of the 
time looked rather crowded. A description of a 
room created for Mme du Barry in 177! in 
Louveciennes shows that it contained a clock on 
the mantel, a table set with porcelains in the 
middle. a black lacquer commode with a white 
top, a commode set with Sévres plaques (both 
of these with bronze groups on their tops), and 
an English piano—all this without counting such 
basic pieces as chairs and sofas. Inventories like 
this, along with paintings and prints of the 
period, serve as a starting point in furnishing 
period rooms 

The size of the De Tessé room calls for a set 
of furniture large both in scale and number of 
pieces. Recently the Museum acquired an ideal! 


one: one sofa, two bergéres, and four fauteuils 


Ihe chairs are by Louis Delanois, whose stamp 

















Detail from a door of the De Tessé roo 


appears on the underside of the seat rails. De- 


lanois was born in 1730, became a master in his 
He and Jacob, 


a fellow employee at the Lerouge establishment, 


guild in 1761, and died in 1792 


along with Sené, were leaders in establishing the 


Louis Seize stvle with its characteristic right 


angles and the classical motifs and details that 
developed in reaction to the flowering curves 
and natural detail of the rococo. Delanois was 


and a fashionable 


both a notable innovator 


manufacturer of furniture in the new style; his 
davbooks in the Archives de la Seine show that 
he may have made as many as a thousand pieces 
i year. Although he seldom worked for Louis 
XVI, his clients included the King of Poland, 
the Duke of Chartres, Cardinal Rochechouart, 
and above all Mme du Barry. It was her com- 
mission for Louveciennes that established him 
as one of the masters of the new stvle. A Moreau 


drawing of a fete she gave at Louveciennes for 


749.09 


PRA ot 





the King on December 27, 1771 shows chairs 


seen trom the bac K) whic h are quite close to a 


set now in the Berlin Museum and dated 1771 
The Berlin chairs, like our own in the De 


room, have large oval backs, upright and straight, 


LT esse 


and unbending legs. Delanois’s trademark, so to 
speak, appears 1n the large-s¢ ale ornament that 


decorates our chairs. It is ornament of great 


power yet, despite its scale, never crude nor 
underdeveloped. The two bergéres are slightly 


different in their ornamentation but are of the 
same general design in the legs and arms 

Ihe sofa of our set is stamped *‘S. Brizard,’ 
. 


the mark of Sulpice Brizard, who was born it 


1735, became a master in his guild in 1762, and 


39s 
died after 1798. He was probably the father of 


Pierre Brizard, who is represented in our collec- 
tions by a chair that shows the influence of Jacob 

The sofa has the same ornamentation as the 
from them in 


fauteuils and is indistinguishabl 


~ 
} 





ona 4 















































+P GS 4s ew ED ae 


ok ta | 














The chandelier in the De Tessé room 


Purchase, Morris Loeb B “quest, 1954 


detail; its likeness to one stamped **Jacob,”’ il- 
lustrated in Seymour de Ricci’s Le Style Lows 
ATT, is further proof of the similarity in the de- 
signs of different contemporary masters 

It is not unusual for eighteenth-century sets 
of furniture to include pieces by different makers, 
and although we have no positive proof that this 
set was conceived as a whole, its scale and espe- 
cially the matching and distinctive arms would 
indicate that it was 

All the upholstered parts of our furniture are 
easily removable (au chassis). Inventories for cer- 
tain royal establishments show that the fabrics 
were often changed for each season of the year: 
these removable pieces were obviously made to 
facilitate such changes. The set is now covered 
with a cream-colored silk of modern French 
manufacture embroidered with floral motifs from 
French eighteenth-century designs. As was cus- 
tomary at the time, each design is worked out 
for a specific piece of furniture and is complete 
for that piece. We are much indebted to M1 
and Mrs. Charles B. Wrightsman for their help 
in obtaining such appropriate material and for 
their generosity in donating it to the Museum 
‘They have also provided new curtains for the 
De ‘Tessé room, with magnificent borders woven 
after a design by the Lyon designer Philippe de 
Lasalle, for the Trianon. Mr. and Mrs. Wrights- 
man have loaned two important pieces of furni- 
ture to enhance the room. The first is a large 
writing desk by the cabinetmaker J]. F. Leleu, 
whose use of large plain surfaces and uncluttered 
ornament harmonizes with the decoration of the 
room. A delicately carved fire screen completes 
the Wrightsman loan. The screen was made for 
the roval chateau of Saint Cloud and bears the 
Saint Cloud stamp as well as that of its maker, 
G. Jacob. The fabric on the sliding panel in the 


screen Is an eighteenth-century silk also after 


One of the fauteuils in the De T¢ é roon 


Fletcher Fund, 19 








designs by Philippe de Lasalle. A large chest of 
drawers, transitional between the Louis Quinze 
and the Louis Seize styles, made by L. Moreau 
and a gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 
is also displayed in the room; it will be discussed 
in a future Bulletin article. 

The final item of our new furnishings is a set 
of six wall brackets in the manner of Delafosse, 
ornamented chiefly with garlands. While the 
maker is unknown, there can be no doubt of his 
skill as a worker in bronze nor of his imagination 


in combining elements in the classical calm of 


room Fletcher Fund, 1957 


the Louis Seize style. In the Musée Nissim de 
Camondo in Paris there is a set of four wall 
brackets very like ours, which bear the stamp of 
the Garde Meuble as evidence of their roval 


lineage. The new brackets in the De Tessé room 


are in perfect harmony with the two fine console 


tables that were part of Mrs. Straus’s original 


eift of the room 


Additional information about the Grand Salon of the 
Hotel de Tessé may be found in an article by the late 


Preston Remington, in the Bulletin for February 1943 








THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM 


Board of Trustees 


IN verti 


EX OFFICIO 
I 


ELECTIVI 


HONORARY 
\ He 


Sta f} 
Ir ir) J.K 


GENERAL ADMINISTRATION 


CURATORIAL DEPARTMENTS 


American Paintings and Sculpture: Kk | H Greek and Roman: ID 


Curator. Albert Ten I G \f ( 1M 


. Medieval Art and Ihe Cloister 
American Wing { 


ri 


Arms and Armor 
B 1 


H { ’ Musical Instruments 


Phe Costume Institute: | 
Near bkastern 


Egyptian CH 


Curator. H (5. | 
Prints 


kLuropean Paintings 


MI. S 


Renaissance and Post-Renaissance 
1 


Far Eastern D 


| 
oe 


Auditorium Events Public Relations and Membership 
| M \ 


Conservation 
‘ Publications 


Education 


Library: 


. ‘ P Te c Registrar and Catalogue 
1 wr 


INFORMATION 


; The Cloisters: © 
The Main Building 
sund in ’ - I Raf ry ) VA 
Re 


| : 1 , { #30 Membership: | 


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