Louis XV Hunting lodge

This pair of paintings is most likely part of the series of paintings of Royal Chateaux commissioned by Louis XV for the dining room at the Chateau de Choisy in 1722, the year of the coronation. Choisy originally belonged to the King’s cousin Marie-Anne de Bourbon, Princesse de Conti. After her death in 1739, Louis XV purchased the chateau and all its contents from the princesse’s heir, the duc de La Vallière. The series of Royal Chateaux comprised views of Chambord, Meudon, Fontaineblau, The Trianon, Marly, Versailles, some of which are today at Versailles. Louis XIV and Louis XV had numerous hunting lodges, most of which no longer survive. The hunting lodge depicted here was probably located nearby the Forest of Senart, which, because of its excellent hunting was the main reason why the royal family had acquired the Chateau de Choisy. Louis XV considered Choisy to be his principal home, preferring it to Versailles and was continiously doing embellishments and considerably enlarged the Chateau in 1740. The furnishings of Choisy were intentionally kept simple as it was not a Chateau for entertaining  the court but for the King to indulge his pleasure in hunting.

We can be certain that it is a royal hunting lodge for three reasons. Firstly, the chateau has extremely grand gardens and only reception rooms without principal bedrooms. Secondly, the hunting carriage, seen entering the front gates, is designed with two wheels for negotiating rough forest tracks and thirdly, the royal intertwined double L over the gates is confirmation that this is a royal chateau belonging to the King. As there are no known engravings of any royal hunting lodges, it is not possible to prove that this hunting lodge is near Choisy but it is highly likely, for the following reasons. The similarity of size and location of the river Seine, its proximity to the forest and its very similar topography of rolling hills to that of the Chateau de Choisy. Louis XV spent most of his time at Choisy when he was not at Court at Versailles as hunting was his passion, so it would be logical to assume that this grand hunting lodge was near to where the King did most of his hunting. The hunting lodge made it possible to hunt over a much larger area, as it allowed the King to travel by carriage to a distant part of the forest so he could start hunting with fresh horses and allowed him to eat and drink in comfort either immediately before or after the hunt.

Le Notre

Le Notre designed the gardens at the Chateau de Choisy and it is possible that he also designed the gardens at this royal hunting lodge, as they are very similar to other gardens he designed at the Chateau de Juvisy. At the time of the Revolution, the Chateau of Choisy was confiscated, emptied of its contents and sold at auctions; its gardens were divided into individual lots and sold. The buildings fell into disrepair and were demolished bit by bit during the 19th century. Today all that remains is a dry ditch and a ha-ha together with two pavilions and part of the former service wing.

 

Pierre-Denis Martin

Pierre-Denis Martin was named “peintre du Roi” in 1699 and was first commissioned to produce a series of paintings of garden and landscape views for the Trianon. He continued to be favoured by the French court after Louis XIV's death in 1714. At the same time the young Louis XV commissioned him to do other paintings of chateaux and gardens for Versailles, which included Marly, La Muette and Fontainebleau, and also to paint historical events, such as the 1722 coronation of Louis XV at Reims Cathedral and the 1715 “Lit de Justice” at Sainte-Chapelle establishing the Regency of the Duc d’Orléans.

Item Particulars

DimensionsCMInches
Width with frames: 153.6 60
Height with frames: 153.6 60