The Cabinet des Fables in the Hôtel Dangé
Paris, c. 1750-1755
Redecorated c. 1853
Carved oak, painted and oil-gilt
Long-term loan from the Musée du Louvre, 1912
Inv. LOUVRE ss no. (140.01-11)
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The wood paneling was made for the former Hôtel de Villemaré at 9, Place Vendôme when its refurbishment was commissioned by the fermier general (a type of tax collector) François-Balthazar Dangé, who purchased the mansion in 1750. Madame Dangé’s boudoir on the first floor, overlooking Place Vendôme, was a cozy, low-ceilinged room decorated with scenes inspired by the Fables of La Fontaine, bordered by frames delicately carved with Rococo motifs in shades of pink highlighted with green.
The room was radically restored after 1849, when the mansion was assigned to the headquarters of the First Military Division (then in 1870 to the military governor of Paris). The wood paneling was largely repainted and the carved elements were gilded, which gave the room a more ornate and austere atmosphere. The army continued to occupy the mansion until it was decommissioned in 1898, at which time the wood paneling was removed.