Marie Antoinette's jewelry case, used for storing her diamonds, rubies and other pearls, is one of the many stunning objects on display in a new exhibition at Versailles.
The exhibition 18th century, Birth of Design, Furniture Masterpieces 1650-1789 showcases the "innovative and avant-garde nature of the shapes, techniques, decorations and materials used in 18th century furniture." The 18th century saw a revolution in design and functionality, and the desire for multifunctionality in furniture.
The quest for the ideal shape and form hit its peak in the 18th century, when the shape of furniture began to change. The same quest characterised the use of materials: furniture was covered with exotic woods, lacquers, varnishes, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, bronze, brass, lead, porcelain, straw, steel and stone marquetry.
Cloth, bulrush and copper began to be used in chairs.
Long before the garish colours afforded by plastic in the 20th and 21st centuries, the 18th century saw the birth of furniture in red, daffodil yellow, turquoise blue, apple green, partially gilded or silvered, etc.
Chateau de Versailles
The exhibition brings together over 100 beautiful pieces that were owned by Louis XIV, Louis XV, Marie Antoinette and other notable French dignitaries.
There will be works from private collections which will be on show to the public for the first time.
Showing through February 22, 2015.
The exhibition also features a Game Booklet for young art historians! Check it out here (PDF)