Silver Furniture on show at Versailles

Visitors to the Palace of Versailles often wonder why there is so little furniture. There are really three explanations for this:

  • Firstly and principally, after the revolution, a large portion of the furniture was sold off to raise funds for the new government. But it was not just the furniture that was removed, visitors will notice fewer carpets, chandeliers and curtains than in Louis XVI's day.
  • Secondly, the state apartments were used as entertainment rooms and did not contain huge amounts of furniture.
  • Thirdly, in December 1689 Louis XIV melted down his silver furniture that originally decorated these magnificent state apartments. His aggressive foreign policy had lead to another expensive war and in order to pay for it the furniture had to go. After the war, new furniture was created but was gilded rather than being made of solid silver.

A new exhibition, When Versailles Was Furnished in Silver, which runs until 9 March, gives a visitor a idea of the opulence of Versailles in the reign of Louis XIV. Made up of silver furniture from the great palaces of Europe including Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, the state apartments are arranged in a way that would have been familiar to Louis XIV. The Hall of Mirrors is even decorated with a replica throne and dais.

For more details see:

You can see some of the magnificent silver furniture at Windsor Castle by purchasing the Windsor Castle Virtual Tour.

Posted on Thursday 7 February, 2008
Filed under: Versailles
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