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Thursday's Titillating Treasure: The King's Chairs

Have you ever visited a museum or historic home and happened upon an object that made your fingers itch to touch it? 

That happened to me over the summer when I visited the Wallace Collection, an amazing museum filled with French antiques in the heart of London.  I strolled into one of the rooms and saw a pair of silk-upholstered beechwood, gilded chairs and my fingers began to twitch.  I knew they had once belonged to Louis XVI, even without glancing at the placard affixed to the wall above them.  The superior craftsmanship and straight, simple lines cried, "Louis Seize." 

And the odd tingling sensation in my fingers suggested they must have once been in the presence of my beloved queen.  (First-time visitors to my blog should know that I have a strange ESP where Marie Antoinette is concerned, as discussed in my previous posts Serendipity and the Boob Tree and An Unexpected Encounter With Marie Antoinette)

After chatting with a docent, I discovered the chairs had been ordered by Louis XVI in 1786 for the King's Salon at Fontainbleau.  He confirmed what my fingers already told me:  Since Marie Antoinette visited that palace, the chairs had surely been seen/touched by her.  (My unique, often-doubted, sometimes-ridiculed extra sensory perception was validated once again)

I also learned that the king had ordered thirty-six of the chairs with the intention of using them in the Salon des Jeux du Roi, a room often used by the ladies of the court for card games and after-dinner gatherings. 

Learning that Marie Antoinette might have perched herself upon one of the chairs created an intense, nearly-excruciating frisson of pleasure inside me.  I longed to run my fingers over the smooth, blue fabric, but more than anything, I longed to sit where my idol might have once sat.

The docent must have sensed the battle raging inside me (Should I be a mature, respectful museum-goer and admire the chair from afar or do I throw all caution to the wind and hop up on it like a kid on a merry-go-round?), for he gave me a stern look before slowly strolling away.

I glanced around and discovered I was the only person left in the room. 

What do you think I did?  What would you have done?

5 comments:

  1. The silk lampas on theses chairs are amazing! As well as the gilded chairs. I felt the same way you did in the New York Historical Society they have some chairs that belong to Louis XVI I was also the only one in the room with them.

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    1. Oh, if only we could have sat upon those chairs. :)

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  2. These chairs are STUNNING!!!! (nice photos btw)The fabric and colors are so rich, and yes, it would have been so tempting to touch those chairs...I'm too much of a chicken, so I probably would have stared and drooled :)

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  3. Zut! I didn't know about the Wallace Collection. Next time in London...What else of note did you see there, if I may ask? Merci!

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    1. Anonymous ~ I am not being cagey when I say, there were too many things to describe! There was an entire collection of 18th century snuffboxes, porcelain, and furniture. There were many objects from 18th Century France, ones that once belonged to nobility. A MUST SEE collection. I hope you get there soon! ~ Leah Marie

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