A Mystery to Behold at Chateau Versailles


Yesterday Chateau Versailles inaugurated the exhibition Versailles and Antiquity. A little obscure? Sure. The name accommodates both the real antiques from the royal collection, as well as  some XVII and XVIII century objects inspired by antiquity. The most mysterious of them all is this surtout. What is surtout? To begin we have to resort to an ostensive definition. Surtout is this. Does not help, ah? I confess that yesterday morning, while strolling at the Chateau, I found myself in a similar situation; but after an hour or so of vigorous research, I became knowledgeable enough to inform you that surtout is this thing, and it serves both to decorate and illuminate a princely dinner table. The surtout exhibited at Versailles and Antiquity first made its appearance at the wedding of the future Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. It was placed in the center of their table and held a good number of candles, a porcelain statuette of Louis XV and was surrounded by a toy park with groves and fountains. The descendant of such a miniature antique temple, which we can still encounter at our dinner tables, is a small tray carrying salt and pepper, mustard and ketchup, and even, more recently, a bottle of soy sauce.

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This entry was posted in Chateau Versailles, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Versailles Furniture. Bookmark the permalink.

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