Two pieces of furniture that belonged to the French Queen Marie Antoinette are up for auction this week. A chest of drawers and a chair, two items from two distinct phases of her life, are estimated to sell for $832,000 to $1.25 million and $104,000 to $208,000, respectively.
The 250-year-old chest of drawers was made for the future queen who was born in Austria when she was just 15, shortly after arriving in France and before marrying Louis XVI. The chair was the last order the Queen placed before it was overthrown during the French Revolution. Both pieces are part of the Exceptional Sale at Christie’s in Paris on November 22nd.
The two items, although made just 20 years apart, represent not only different moments in Marie Antoinette’s life, but also two very different styles of furniture.
The chest of drawers was made around 1770 in a Chinese-inspired style. “At just 15 years old and recently uprooted from the Viennese court, the future sovereign surrounded herself as soon as she entered the French court with objects and furniture from that European fever for chinoiseries”, writes the auction house in the essay of the lot that accompanies the piece. , by Google Translate.
In contrast, the chair was commissioned just five years before the unfortunate monarch was executed. It arrived at the palace in 1788, designed in what Christie’s calls “the pseudo-classical ‘Etruscan’ manner”.
“This style was inspired by archaeological objects discovered in southern Italy during the second half of the 18th century, which were erroneously thought to have been made by the Etruscans at the time of their discovery,” writes Christie’s on its website. “Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were particularly fond of this new style.”
Popular interest in the Queen’s luxurious possessions continues. Last year, a pair of diamond bracelets that belonged to her sold for more than $8 million at auction. In 2018, her pearl and diamond necklace broke records, bringing in an estimated $36 million.
“An insatiable appetite for expensive things may have contributed to her losing her mind during the French Revolution,” he writes. city and country‘s Leena Kim, “But if one were to calculate the stratospheric prices that Marie Antoinette’s treasures command when they occasionally show up at auction, it seems there’s more to the fallen queen than getting her posthumous karmic redemption.”
According to Christie’s, the armchair – along with thousands of other items – was sold shortly after the Queen’s death in 1793.