|JEAN BAPTISTE BOULARD
Wing chair belonging to the Countess of Ossun at Versailles
by Hauré, Boulard and Vallois 1786
This wing chair by Jean-Baptiste Boulard (Paris, 1725 - 1789) makes us think by the richness of the work of a royal sculpture. Boulard was fond of large chairs.
This wing chair has no mark and no label is visible.
The Crown supplier’s report indicates its characteristics: this large wing chair was part of a pair and belonged to the Countess of Ossun, who was Marie-Antoinette dresser lady and attached to her service since 1781.
Pierre Verlet in his work on the royal furniture underlined that the wood of the Louis XVI period, at least the richest and most remarkable ones, could be certainly recognised due to the sculptors detailed reports as well as the painters labels conserved at the National Archives.
Let’s have a look at the order of Jean Hauré` order, cabinet worker at the Royal warehouse.
Order N°66 says: The sculpture of the two sofas of the Countess of Ossun at Versailles should be decorated with encircling band and pilaster on the corbel with acanthi leaf.
This new piece of furniture was made by Jean-Baptiste Boulard, supplier of the Crown since 1777.
His report, first half of the year 1786, order N°51, 20th February
For The Madam D`Ossun service:
Two Ottomans canapies with tree back and moulding
Four chairs in voyeuse feet and ornamental moulding.
Six similar armchairs
(For the bedroom)
A couchette with two arched back and ornamental moulding
A great imperial in Choisy style
Two face to face wing chairs of 32 inches in width squared.
Feet with ornamental moulding
Four armchairs squared - Four chairs to be stuffed.
The sculpture was treated by Nicolas Vallois a frequent colleague of Boulard and sculptor, attached to the royal house ware.
Hauré’s report, second half of the year 1786, order N°66 4th of March Versailles for the service of the countess of Ossun Vallois concerning the sculpture of two sofas with encircling band, encircling cockade on the arch acanthi leaf.
The report of the painter Louis Chatard underlined that he had painted in white and varnished the all sculpture for the service of Madam Ossun.
His report, first half of the year 1786, order N°66 4 of March
Delivered the painting in white varnish.
One bed at two imperial back in Choisy Style
Two face to face wing chairs- Four armchairs - Four chairs
Delivered in burnt gold of two sofas florid of encircling band and pilaster on the corbel with acanthi leaf (the 2nd the same). Chatard indicates that the sculpture is identical concerning the other elements of the furniture. The rest of the furniture consisted of 18 elements written in his memoire, order N°51 20th February.
Order N°51: Jean-Baptiste Sené was to make two seats for the billiard room of Madam Ossun in Versailles.
The tapestry maker, Claude François Capin indicated in his report, order N°51:
two wing chairs face to face with squared backs. The flat form was rather like the English style, closed sides in yellow damask florid with gilded nail and with checked braid.
The received furniture register indicates the arrival of the furniture at Versailles. The two wing chairs will be put in the bedroom of the Countess of Ossun apartments, in the building called the old wing facing the royal court.
The inventory of 1788 (an estimation of the royal family’s furniture at Versailles), indicated in the bedroom two big wings chairs with square backs and covered with yellow damask. Another inventory made in 1790 indicates again the presence of two wing chairs in the bedroom of Madam Ossun. The two wing chairs were still in place at Versailles castle in 1793 bu will be dispersed during the Crown furniture sales organised by the Republic.
The wingchair shown here seems to be the one which survived from such an important order.
The research undergone on this wingchair permits us to understand its origin by the sculpture on it. The sculpture of the armrest as well as the consoles on this wing chair is similar to a footstool with tree backs executed by Jean-Baptiste Sené and sculpted by Nicolas Vallois which was delivered to the Château of St Cloud in 1788 for the King`s service, to decorate the living room named Félicité.
We can see the same ornamental details on the armrests with the acanthi leaf and console pilaster.
This wingchair is very representative of Louis XVI style leaves us a perfect document and illustrates the remarkable craft that was used by the French Court tapestry workers and sculptors to make the chairs ordered by the French Royal Court.
This wing chair received an exit authorisation to leave the territory by the management of the French Museum.
archives nat. serie 01 32.88 - ordre de Hauré
36.38 - mémoire de Hauré - Boulard - Chatard
36.40 - mémoire de Capin
35.70 - registre des meubles reçu du garde meuble de la couronne pour Madame D'Ossun à Versailles
34.80 - état des meubles prêtés du garde meuble de la couronne à Madame la Comtesse D'ossun en 1788
34.77 - inventaire des meubles de Madame la Comtesse D'ossun au château de Versailles en 1790
34.65 - états d'estimation des meubles de la famille royale au château de Versailles - Madame D'Ossun en 1788
archives dép. Yvelines II Q 70-71
Jean Baptiste Boulard menuisier en sièges
L'estampille l'objet d'art n°239 septembre 1990
Chatard peintre doreur du garde-meuble.
L'estampille "L'objet d'Art" num. 387 janvier 2004
Le mobilier royal français
Edition Picard Paris - 1990
Le mobilier francais du dix-huitième siècle
dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers
les éditions de l'amateur 2002