Musée Condé

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The Musée Condé is an art museum located in the Chantilly Castle , about 60 km north of Paris . It was built and furnished by Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale and son of King Louis-Philippe , and bequeathed to the Institut de France in a will in 1884 along with his art collection . The museum now consists of exhibition rooms, but also of the private apartments that the Princes of Condé and the Duc d'Aumale furnished and lived in in the 18th and 19th centuries.

The collection consists mainly of works from the Italian and French schools, of which three by Fra Angelico , three by Raphael , five by Nicolas Poussin , four by Antoine Watteau and five by Ingres . The museum also has 2500 drawings and a library with 1500 manuscripts, including 200 illuminations. The most important work here is the Duke of Berry's Book of Hours . A collection of prints, miniature portraits, sculptures, antiques, photographs, furniture and porcelain is also part of the museum's treasure.

The works of art can only be viewed in Chantilly, as the Duc d'Aumale made the donation subject to the condition that the presentation of the works must be preserved and that the works must not be loaned out. The exhibition has remained largely unchanged since 1898. The museum is visited by around 250,000 visitors annually. Four special exhibitions are organized each year to show works that normally cannot be exhibited for conservation reasons.


Throughout his life, Henri d'Orléans , usually referred to by his title Duc d'Aumale , acquired works of art across Europe that belonged to his ancestors or that had come from collections scattered throughout the wars and revolutions. In particular, he used his exile in England (1848–1870) to collect paintings and books. Shortly after his return to France, he began rebuilding the castle on his estate in Chantilly to house his collection. The Grand Château , the Great Castle, was completed in 1885.

Development of the Duc d'Aumale collection

Over time, the Princes of Condé built up a collection of masterpieces, but also of portraits of their family members. From 1643, the time of the Grand Condé , Chantilly Castle served as a repository for the paintings. In addition to the portraits of the Grand Condé, the castle also has paintings of his martial exploits, which are now inside the castle in the Grande galerie des actions de Monsieur le Prince . During the French Revolution , the collections were torn apart and some of the paintings were lost. After the restoration , Ludwig VI tried . reassemble the collection and he was able to acquire about 100 new paintings, mostly portraits and hunting scenes from French, Flemish and Dutch schools. As the universal heir and legatee of the last Condé, Henri d'Orléans received the collection in full.

Orleans House in Twickenham , residence of the Duc d'Aumale during his English exile

The Duc d'Aumale bought his first works of art in 1844 in order to beautify the rooms that he had just furnished in the small Chantilly Castle for his wife Maria Karolina Augusta of Naples-Sicily . There were several portraits from the 18th century, including works by Nicolas de Largillière and Joseph Siffred Duplessis . During his stay in exile in 1848, he began to collect art systematically: in 1850, after selling his late father's collection, he bought the painting The Horse Goes from the Stable by Théodore Géricault . In 1852, Napoleon III forced him and the entire Orléans family to sell their property in bankruptcy. As a result, he suddenly had considerable financial resources at his disposal. In 1852, when he lived in his residence in Twickenham , he devoted himself almost entirely to building the collection, with the help of advisors. Two principles guided him in the choice of works: he acquired works that recalled or belonged to his famous ancestors, and works that recalled the glorious history of France.

In 1854 the Duc d'Aumale became the owner of the art collection of his father-in-law Leopold of Naples-Sicily and thus of more than half of the Italian paintings that can be seen in Chantilly Castle today. At the same time he bought the painting Bethlehemitischer Kindermord by Nicolas Poussin at an auction . He specialized in bibliophilia and acquired manuscripts and illuminations from the Middle Ages, the most important of which is the Duke of Berry's Book of Hours , which the Duc d'Aumale in Italy bought in 1856. When Frédéric Reise , then curator of the Louvre , sold his collection of drawings in 1861 , the Duc d'Aumale expanded his art collection with drawings by Dürer , Raffael , Poussin and Lorrain . In 1869 he bought the collection of the Marquis Maison , which consisted mainly of paintings from the 18th century and the orientalist direction of the 19th century. When the Delesserts collection was sold in 1869, he acquired the Madonna d'Orléans from Raphael.

After his return to France in 1871, the Duc d'Aumale, meanwhile an academician , continued his acquisitions. In 1876 he acquired the Prince of Sutherland's collection of French portraits, which had been built by Alexandre Lenoir and which had been kept in Stafford House in London until then . It contained works by François Clouet , Corneille de Lyon , Pierre Mignard and Philippe de Champaigne . Three years later he bought the painting collection from Frédéric Reise, which contained old Italian works, paintings by Gérard and Ingres and a work by Poussin. In 1881 he acquired 311 portraits, originally from the collection of Caterina de 'Medici , later belonging to Lord Carlisle and attributed to François Clouet. The purchases were then more targeted: The Three Graces of Raphael in 1885, the Rural Concert by Corot in 1890, 40 illuminations from the Book of Hours of Étienne Chevalier by Jean Fouquet in 1891 and Ahasver chosen Esther by Filippino Lippi in 1892.

Establishment of a museum for the collection

Marble bust of the Duc d'Aumale in the Grande Galerie , Paul Dubois .

In 1875 the Duc d'Aumale commissioned the architect Honoré Daumet with a project to rebuild the Great Castle on the site that had remained undeveloped since the destruction of the old castle in the wake of the Revolution. At that time, in addition to his own chambers and reception rooms, he planned to have galleries to display his collection, including a glazed gallery to be able to present the windows of the myth of the psyche from Écouen Castle . The shell was completed in 1882 and the interior work in 1885. The architect created small rooms with skylights , such as the Santuario or the Tribune . The Duc d'Aumale invited several well-known artists of his time to the interior decoration: the painter Paul Baudry , the sculptors Henri Chapu , Laurent Marqueste , Georges Gardet and the silversmith Émile Froment-Meurice . During his second exile between 1886 and 1889, he had the logis converted into museum rooms and the theater converted into a library. The Duc d'Aumale regularly invited guests to receptions in the castle to show his guests his collections on such occasions. The cost of construction between 1872 and 1897 is estimated at 5,365,758.17 gold francs . In March 1878, the Duc d'Aumale decided to open his castle to the public during the summer season, Thursdays and Sundays from June 1st to October 1st.

Donated to the Institut de France

In his will of June 3, 1884, the Duc d'Aumale, who had no direct heir, bequeathed his art collection with the rest of the Chantilly estates to the Institut de France . At this time he was already a member of academies that were subordinate to this institution: the Académie française since 1871 and the Académie des Beaux-Arts since 1880. He saw this donation as a means of avoiding his collection from being dissolved after his death. This approach was suggested to him by Justin de Selves , then prefect of the Oise department and later French minister for foreign affairs. With the banishment law of June 2, 1886, the Duc was again forced to leave his homeland, and he therefore decided to make an irrevocable donation out of the inheritance and to secure the rights of use for life. The donation took effect on October 25, 1886. The terms of the donation agreement were very strict: the Duc prohibited changes to the presentation of the works, as well as their sale and lending.

With the presidential decree of December 20, 1886, the French state accepted the donation; it came into effect with the Duc's death on May 7, 1897. Since then, the supervision of the museum has been exercised on behalf of the Institut français by a board of trustees, which usually consists of a member of the Académie française as chairman, a member of the Académie des Beaux-Arts and another academician, mostly from the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles- Lettres or the Académie des sciences morales et politiques . The curator employed by the Ministry of Culture has an official apartment in the Château d'Enghien , located directly at the entrance to the castle park . The first curator was Gustave Macon , the former private secretary of the Duc d'Aumale, his successors usually came from other museums or important libraries in France.

The museum under Gustave Macon

On April 17, 1898, a year after the Duc d'Aumale's death, the Musée Condé opened for the first time under the auspices of the Institut de France. Since then it has been open every Thursday and Sunday afternoon from mid-April to mid-October. In the first year the castle already had 100,000 visitors, most of whom came by train from Paris. The curator's assistant Gustave Macon took on the task of ensuring the operation of the castle as in the times of the Duc and preserving the memory of the Duc d'Aumale. This continuity was mainly interrupted by the events of the war.

During the First World War , the evacuation of the museum treasures began on August 10, 1914. 19 days later, the works of Jean Fouquet , Raffael and 20 other pictures, the most important manuscripts, 300 drawings by Jean Clouet and his son François Clouet, and the jewelery cabinet left the museum towards the Musée des Augustines of Toulouse. They were transported in 19 boxes together with the Louvre collection . The rest was stored in the basement. The German troops occupied the halls of the palace from September 3rd to 4th during the fighting for Senlis . In 1918, when the German troops again advanced towards the castle during the second Battle of the Marne , the rest of the collections and also the archive were evacuated to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon , with the works being transported by train and by Trucks were transported. The collections were returned to the museum on November 11, 1918.

In 1926, the only theft in the history of the museum occurred. Two Alsatian dealers, Léon Kaufer and Émile Souter, broke into the gem cabinet on the night of October 11th to 12th, 1926 and stole the most valuable piece in the collection, the Grand Condé , a pink diamond weighing 9.01 carats. They also stole a dagger and a belt buckle that belonged to Abd el-Kader and were set with precious stones, as well as other pieces of jewelry, a total of 68 objects. The thieves were caught late that year after a hotel owner became suspicious. The diamond and other pieces of jewelry were found, but the works made of silver or gold had been melted down or thrown into the Seine . On June 29, 1927, the pink diamond was returned to the exhibition.

Another story

Plaque commemorating the gift of the Viscountess de Montaigne de Poncins from 1939 in the Salle des Clouet , under a portrait of Anne de Montmorency after François Clouet

After the death of Gustave Macon, Henri Malo was appointed the new curator. He took office in 1931 and organized special exhibitions to present drawings and works from the museum's non-permanent treasure. 16 such exhibitions were organized between 1930 and 1940. In 1939 an important donation was made to the museum, which became final in 1946. It is a collection of 52 portraits of important personalities from the 15th to 17th centuries that belonged to the Marquis Armand de Biencourt (1802–1862). The latter had kept the works in his castle Azay-le-Rideau and refused to sell them to the Duc. His daughter, the Vicomtesse de Montaigne de Poncins, finally gave it to the museum. They were integrated into the museum's collection and are now in the Salle des Clouet der Logis.

During the Second World War , the collection was again evacuated. Preparations for this began on August 26, 1939. After the original idea of hiding the entire collection in the old quarries under the Chantilly Racecourse, it was stored in the museum's cellars. From May 26 to 28, 1940, the works of art were brought to safety in a hurry. Thanks to the intervention of Marshal Pétain , who was a member of the Académie de France and the Board of Trustees, the art treasures were evacuated on around 20 trucks at the same time as those of the Paris museums . During the war years you were at the Château de Lancosme in Vendœuvres , Indre department . In December 1945 the parts of the collection that had remained in Chantilly were removed from their hiding places, and in March 1946 the holdings were returned from the Château de Lancosme. The museum was officially reopened on June 8th of the same year.

In 1957 the museum received another significant donation in the form of around 100 pieces of Chantilly porcelain from Léon Lefébure and his wife. The porcelain, much of which is Imari-style , has been on display in showcases in the Logis Salon Orléans since 1958. In the 1980s the Institut de France struggled to finance the maintenance of the Chantilly Castle and the museum. With the help of American donors, the entire property of the castle and the museum were handed over to the management of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Domain of Chantilly in 2005 for a period of 20 years . This foundation is largely financed privately by the Aga Khan .

Curators and curators of
the collection of the Musée Condé
period Name of the curator
1897-1930 Gustave Macon
1931-1948 Henri Malo
1949-1953 Albert Henraux
1954-1971 Raoul de Broglie
1971-1983 Raymond Cazelles
1983-1998 Amélie Lefébure
1998 -... Nicole Garnier-Pelle
Chair of the Board of Trustees
at the Musée Condé
period Name of the chairman
1897-1915 Alfred Mezieres
1917-1922 Ernest Lavisse
1922-1935 Paul Bourget
1936-1944 Gabriel Hanotaux
1944-1963 Henry Bordeaux
1963-1967 Alphonse Juin
1967-1973 Pierre Gaxotte
1973-1983 André Chamson
1984-1998 Maurice Schumann
1998-2009 Alain Decaux
2009-2010 Pierre-Jean Rémy
2010 until today Marc Fumaroli

Exhibition space

Right from the start, Honoré Daumet's reconstruction of the castle was aimed at creating a framework for the Duc d'Aumale's collections. Many rooms were created in this way, even if the Musée Condé was initially limited to a few picture galleries. Since the castle was opened to the general public in 1898, all rooms, including the large apartments, have belonged to the museum.

Plan of the castle as drawn by Honoré Daumet in 1875, it corresponds to the floor plan of today's museum

“Vestibule d'honneur” and chapel

The altar of the Saint-Louis chapel

If you visit the museum today, you first enter a large, marble-clad vestibule , through which the Duc d'Aumale's guests also walked when he had invited them to a reception. On the walls are two faience shields that Masséot Abaquesne made between 1542 and 1544 for Anne de Montmorency for the Château de Écouen . They show two episodes from the Roman story of Titus Livius : Marcus Curtius , who throws himself into the abyss of the forum to appease the angry gods, and Gaius Mucius Scaevola , who extends his hand to the embers of the fire. On the left is the large escalier d'honneur ("staircase of honor") that leads to the small rooms. It is a copy of the staircase of the Palais Royal , the former residence of the Orléans family in Paris. The ceiling above these stairs is decorated with a painting by Diogène Maillart , which was based on a template by Elie Delaunay and is entitled L'Espérance tenant le drapeau français (“Hope carries the French flag”). In the corridor leading to the chapel, Genoese liturgical vestments ( chasuble and dalmatic ) made of gold ribbon are arranged along the walls. They date from the 15th century and were bought at an auction in Florence in 1880.

The chapel Saint-Louis was built by Honoré Daumet so that they set up in the Ecouen Castle could take: the altar is a bas-relief of Jean Goujon provided that the sacrifice of Abraham is, furthermore he has carvings and two-color screen: on the left are the sons of Connétable Anne de Montmorency , presented by St. John , on the right the daughters and wife of Connétable, Madeleine de Savoie, presented by St. Agatha . The walls of the chapel are decorated with paintings depicting Saint Christopher and Saint Jacob , and there is also a flag of an Augsburg unit that was captured on the battlefield of Rocroi . At the end of the choir is the Chapel of the Hearts of the Condé. This is an old monument that was erected in honor of Henri II in the Church of St Paul St Louis in Paris. It was created by the sculptor Jacques Sarazin and contains the prince's heart. It was in the parish church at Chantilly for a while and has since held all the hearts of the Princes of Condé. The Duc d'Aumale had it moved to its current location in 1885 and modified so that it could be built into the round chapel, which is located in one of the turrets of the castle.

"Grandes galeries"

The Grandes galeries (Eng. "Great Galleries") got their name from the Duc d'Aumale to honor the Grand Condé . The museum's picture galleries are located in these rooms. They were destined to become a museum when the palace was built.

"Gallery des Cerfs"

Grande table de reception au center avec des tapisseries aux murs et un plafond à caissons
La Galerie des Cerfs

The Galerie des Cerfs ("Gallery of the Deer") owes its name to a room that was built by Anne de Montmorency in 1528 and destroyed in 1785 on the same site . The current hall was built from 1875 to 1880 and inaugurated on November 11, 1880. It is a dining room with a balcony where musicians used to be placed. The ceiling of the room, furnished in the style of the 16th century, contains cassettes with the coats of arms of the Lords of Chantilly . All other equipment is dedicated to hunting, various trophies including a lion's skin are on display. There is also a cycle of tapestries entitled The Hunts of Maximilian . They are reproductions of Flemish carpets based on images by Bernard van Orley . The replicas were made by the tapestry manufactory for Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon at the beginning of the 18th century and depict scenes of battles in the woods around Brussels at different times of the year. Above the fireplace is a painting by Paul Baudry with La Vision de Saint Hubert ("The Vision of Saint Hubertus") is entitled and was created in 1882. The gallery des Cerfs is used for special exhibitions of drawings. When there are no special exhibitions, the large table in the center of the room houses a collection of hunting surtouts made of Sèvres porcelain , made in the 19th century based on drawings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry .

This dining room is connected to the residential buildings by a service corridor, and a dining elevator connected this corridor to the kitchens on the ground floor. The dishes that were brought in this way and kept warm with hot plates were then arranged on the serving plates before they were served in the Cerf's gallery . There are some porcelain, goldsmith or crystal services on display in large showcases and drawers that belonged to the Duc and have been shown in this way since 1897. You can also see seven different porcelain sets made from Sèvres and Paris porcelain, which belonged to the Duc (with the initials HO for Henri d'Orléans ) or his family, and a table set made from Christofle goldsmith's work. Other solid silver pieces that belonged to the Condé are also on display, not least a collection of Bohemian crystal glasses bearing the initials of Henri d'Orléans.

Picture gallery and roundabout

The picture gallery with the entrance to the Galerie des Cerfs in the background

The Gemäldegalerie (French gallery de peintures ) is the largest exhibition hall in the palace. Its roof is translucent and its walls are covered with wallpaper in Pompeian red . The paintings in Petersburg hanging above and next to each other. They are mostly large-format works that were exhibited in the Jeu-de-Paume -Halle before the renovation of the palace . As you enter the hall, you will find works by the Italian school on the left, for example by Il Guercino or works that were created in Italy, for example by Nicolas Poussin or Gaspard Poussin . On the right-hand side, pictures of the French school predominate, for example by Philippe de Champaigne , Jean-Marc Nattier or Eugène Delacroix . A number of orientalist works also hang there . Most of the pictures at the end of the room date from the 18th century.

From the end of the picture gallery you can reach the roundabout in the "Tower of Vineuil" (French Tour de Vineuil ) via a staircase . The Duc d'Aumale originally set up an exhibition of drawings here. However, these drawings were removed for better preservation, which enabled some of the most important objects in the collection to stand out. These include the portrait of Simonetta Vespucci by Piero di Cosimo or the Madonna di Loreto by Raphael , which was given its place in 1979 after Raphael's authorship had been established. On the floor there is a mosaic with a hunting scene, which was found during an excavation in Pompeii , probably in the Casa dei Fiori .

“Galerie de Psyché”, “Santuario” and the gemstone cabinet

The Galerie de Psyché is decorated with 44 colored windows that tell the myth of the psyche and that were made for Anne de Montmorency in his castle Écouen between 1541 and 1542 . The special exhibitions are held in this room, which is papered with green fabric. If the circumstances so require, the Gem Cabinet and the Cerfs Gallery are also used for the exhibitions. The Santuario ("sanctuary") is a small room with a single skylight that was originally intended to display prints from the collection. For reasons of better conservation, however, the prints have been removed. Since then, two paintings by Raphael, namely The Three Graces and the Madonna d'Orléans , a Cassone fragment painted by Filippino Lippi and named Esther and Assuerus , and 40 illuminations by Jean Fouquet , taken from the Book of Hours of Étienne Chevalier , have been in this room . displayed.

The gem cabinet shows a collection of weapons and jewelry. The pink diamond was exhibited here until it was stolen on the night of October 11-12, 1926, along with the weapons of Abd el-Kader . It was of unknown origin and was acquired by the Grand Condé, possibly as a gift from Louis XIV. A copy of the diamond is on display today. Aside from weapons and jewelry, miniature portraits and enamel work can also be seen in this room .

The "Tribune"

The tribune

This room is named after the Tribuna in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence , which was built in 1580 by Bernardo Buontalenti . It has the same octagonal shape and the same red velvet wallpaper with gold trimmings . This hall also has a glazed roof, creating a natural skylight . In the upper part it is adorned with eight pictures that were ordered from the painter and Prix ​​de Rome winner Armand Bernard . They show eight places where the Duc d'Aumale lived: the Palais Royal , where he was born, the Lycée Henri IV , where he was taught, the Villers-Cotterêts castle , where he spent part of his childhood, the castles Aumale and Guise , who belonged to his family, the residence in Twickenham , where he spent his English exile, and finally the palace in Palermo , where he visited his wife's family.

Originally, this room was entirely covered with paintings, right up to the ceiling. However, in 1886 some of the objects were moved to the apartments that had just been completed at the time, so that in 1897 there were still 62 paintings in the Tribune . Today some are in the roundabout, others in the Salle Clouet . Two walls of the room are dedicated to the Italian and Flemish Renaissance , such as the Mystical Wedding of St. Francis of Assisi by Stefano di Giovanni Sassetta or the diptych Joan of France . Another wall is reserved for paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries, for example by Philippe de Champaigne or Antoine Watteau , and another wall for neoclassical painting, for example four works by Ingres . On the last wall there is romantic painting , such as a Delacroix . At the entrance to the Tribune , we see two bas-reliefs that Jean Goujon be attributed to the titles departure and fall of Phaeton . They originally come from the Écouen Castle .

"Logis" rooms

The Logis was originally designed as an apartment for Philippe d'Orléans, Comte de Paris and nephew of the Duc d'Aumale. It consists of a bedroom, living room and dining room. In 1886 the Duc d'Aumale had the apartments converted into museum rooms by removing doors, chimneys and toilets.

The Salle Clouet is dedicated to the collection of portraits from the 15th and 16th centuries, most of which come from the environment of Clouet's father and son . The right wall shows the Duc d'Aumale collection, the left wall the Poncins-Biencourt donation, which has been in Chantilly Castle since 1939 .

The Salle Caroline bears the name of the Duchesse d'Aumale, Maria Karolina Augusta of Naples-Sicily . Portraits of the French school of the 17th and 18th centuries by Greuze and Watteau are exhibited here.

The Salon d'Orléans is the former salon of the Comte de Paris apartments. Numerous family portraits can be found here: a statue and picture of the mother of the Duc d'Aumale, a bust of his father and a painting of the Duc d'Aumale himself. Originally, it was planned to set up a drawing room in this room, for which the Duc d'Aumale the showcases that are still in the room today. However, the drawings were removed for conservation reasons. Since 1958 there have been items made of Chantilly porcelain in the showcases , some of which come from the legacy of Lefébure-Solacroup. Some examples of Chantilly lace are also on display.

The Salle Isabelle was named after the wife of the Comte de Paris and niece of the Duc d'Aumale, Maria Isabella d'Orléans-Montpensier . In addition to two Dutch ship paintings, he presents all trends in French painting of the 19th century with the exception of Impressionism : Classicism with Ingres , Romanticism with Géricault , Orientalism with a painting by Delacroix , Academic Art with Jean-Léon Gérôme and the School of Barbizon with Théodore Rousseau .

The Cabinet du Giotto is dedicated to early Italian painting, with 27 paintings hanging here, a quarter of the museum's Italian paintings. Among them is La Dormition de la Vierge ("The Death of Mary") by Maso di Banco , which was long attributed to Giotto and who gave the room its name. Also here is the Madonna of the Cadard family , who is attributed to Enguerrand Quarton . The cabinet was completely restored in 2003. At its entrance is a showcase for the museum's collection of antiquities, some of which are from Pompeii and belong to the Duc's father-in-law.

The Salle de la Minerve , also known as Rotonde de la Minerve , is in the Tour du Connétable (Eng. Tower of the Konnetabel ) and owes its name to a Gallo-Roman bronze statue of Minerva , which was acquired when the Pourtalès Collection was sold. The room displays portraits of the Orléans family from the 17th and 18th centuries, including works by Nicolas de Largillière .

The Salle de la Smalah was once dedicated to orientalizing motifs, which were removed for conservation reasons after the Duc's death. Today the room houses paintings that were acquired by the friends of the Musée Condé when the Henri d'Orléans collection was sold in 1996 and donated to the museum on the 100th anniversary of the Duc d'Aumale's death in 1997. There are two portraits of the Duc and his wife, painted in 1886 by Charles Jalabert , a small pastel painting of the Duc, painted in 1893 by Henri Cain, and a portrait of the Duc, painted by the painter Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant a year before his death was created.

Library and "Cabinet des livres"

The book cabinet of the castle

The museum library is located in a room of the Little Palace called Cabinet des livres ("Book Cabinet "), which is open to all visitors. It was designed between 1876 and 1877 by the castle's architect Honoré Daumet. It is equipped with metal shelves on two wall surfaces, which can be reached via a gallery. The books are arranged here according to size, binding and scientific classification and, not least, have a decorative function. The coffered ceiling is decorated with the coats of arms of the brothers in arms of the Grand Condé . His bust, made by Antoine Coysevox , is placed on the fireplace. On an easel is a painting by Gabriel Ferrier of the Duc d'Aumale in his library, accompanied by his advisor on acquisitions, Alfred-Auguste Cuvillier-Fleury . Special exhibitions on bibliophilia are held in this hall , where old books, documents from the archives and rare bindings are shown.

The library has a second room set up on the site of the former Théâtre des princes de Condé between 1888 and 1889 , which is why it bears the name Bibliothèque du théâtre . It is only accessible as part of a guided visit. It houses the 30,000 volumes from the 19th century and the bibliographical documents that served the work of the Duc d'Aumale. Two other rooms are not open to the public. The archives of the possessions and the Duc are kept in the Tour des Chartes (“Tower of Documents”). A reading room is available to scientists.

"Big chambers"

The "large chambers" (grands appartements) are located in the small castle and some of them still have the original furnishings of the castle from the 18th century. They were intended as the Duc's state rooms. The rooms are arranged in such a way that you have to go from one to the next to cross the castle. The "large chambers" are freely accessible to visitors.


This room (antichambre) was built in the 19th century to connect the new castle and the old Little Castle. It houses some objects that were in the Condé castle before the revolution, as well as several paintings, two of which are by Jean-Baptiste Oudry . The most precious piece is a mineral cabinet that King Gustav III. of Sweden to Prince Louis V of Bourbon-Condé in 1774, and which at that time contained a collection of minerals that are now on display in the State Museum of Natural History .


Guardroom at the entrance to the great apartments

This room (Salle des gardes) is also called the mosaic room because there is a mosaic above the fireplace that comes from the excavation of a villa in Stabiae , near Pompeii . It shows the kidnapping of Europa by the god Jupiter in the shape of a bull. Before the revolution, this room served as a second vestibule and then as a dining room. It was completely renovated by Honoré Daumet. Since the opening of the museum, the furniture from the 19th century has been brought back, including in particular two console tables made of oak and marble in the style of the Restoration, made by Pierre-Antoine Bellangé . Two portraits painted by Anthony van Dyck and three portraits of the Grand Condé , one of which goes back to David Teniers the Younger , are also exhibited here. Two showcases show military items that gave the room its name. One of them, dedicated to the Condé, contains regimental flags from the 18th century, a drum of the Swiss Guard and equipment from the Prince of Condé's emigrant army . The other showcase, dedicated to the Duke, displays items from the North African campaigns: weapons captured in Muaskar in 1835 , as well as other weapons and drums.

The prince's chamber

The prince's room

In this old room , called Chambre de Monsieur le Prince (“ Prince's Chamber”), part of the wood paneling from the 1720s, which was installed under the direction of decorator Charles Maurissan , has been preserved. In 1820 it was embellished with paintings by the painter Christophe Huet from 1734 and 1735. They represent exotic animals and oriental pagodas . At that time it served as a billiard room and was converted into a salon by the Duc d'Aumale. The room has several pieces of furniture from the 18th century, such as two dressers, including one by Johann Heinrich Riesener , and a desk. Other furniture such as a sofa, twelve armchairs and six chairs were ordered by the Duc d'Aumale in the 18th century and are covered with Beauvais covers .

"Grand cabinet"

The Cabinet des Princes maintained its function until the time of the Duc d'Aumale. It is decorated with white and gold wood paneling from 1720 with hunting motifs. Only the paintings above the doors were removed during the Revolution and replaced with paintings from the Palais Bourbon , owned by the Princes of Condé, during the Restoration . They show military scenes from the 17th and 18th centuries. The 18th century furniture comes from the sale of the Louis-Philippe I collections in 1857. It includes six armchairs and six chairs, a sofa and an umbrella, all decorated with Beauvais upholstery. There is also a small side table made of cloisonne -email, made in 1874 in the Manufacture Christofle .

"Large Monkey Cabinet"

The great monkey cabinet

The singerie , or the monkey cabinet , is one of the most important halls in the palace. It houses an ensemble of painted decorations that are attributed to Christophe Huet and were probably made in 1737. It is a representation of monkeys imitating human activity and porcelain. It thus combines the then new fashions of chinoiserie and caricature . Each picture is an allegory of the arts or sciences that represent hunting, war, painting, sculpture, geometry, geography, and chemistry. In one of the pictures, one of the monkeys is a porcelain painter ( Louis IV. Henri de Bourbon , the artist's financier, had just founded a porcelain factory in the city that produced porcelain with Far Eastern-inspired decor). There is a painting in the background, while there is a printing press underneath, possibly an allusion to the prince's fortune that he acquired through the Law system . Thus the sponsor of the project is also caricatured. The establishment also includes an allusion to the five senses and the four parts of the world . The ceiling is entirely dedicated to hunting. The same artist created furnishings on the same theme in the Champs-sur-Marne castle and the Hôtel de Rohan in Paris.

The furniture in the salon includes four chairs from Marie Antoinette's toilet room in Versailles made by Georges Jacob , a chair from Rambouillet Castle and a fireplace screen that was decorated with a painting by Christophe Huet in the 19th century: the reading hour the monkey.

"Great Gallery of the Prince's Deeds"

Great gallery of battles

This gallery (Grande galerie des actions de Monsieur le Prince) was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart and completed with the installation of the wooden paneling by Jean Aubert around 1718. The room houses a series of eleven paintings depicting the great victories of the Grand Condé in the battles of Rocroi (1643), Freiburg (1644), Nördlingen (1645), Dunkirk (1646), Lens (1648), at the blockade of Paris (1649), the conquest of Franche-Comté (1668) and the crossing of the Rhine (1672). These paintings cover three walls of the room and were ordered by the Grand Condé itself in 1686. They were painted by Sauveur Le Conte , a pupil of Van der Meulen , the battle painter of Louis XIV , and completed in 1692. Another picture was ordered by his son after the Grand Condé's death . It's called repentance . The painter Michel Corneille the Younger depicts the prince preventing a goddess of glory from making known his deeds of rebellion against the king and inviting another goddess of glory to proclaim his repentance, while the goddess of history relies on Chronos , the god of time ripping pages out of a book. They symbolize the deeds that the general wants to make forgotten.

This room houses the most important furniture of the castle, collected by the Duc d'Aumale: a vine wood table from 1540 with the coat of arms of Montmorency , another table attributed to André-Charles Boulle , a series of chairs and Armchairs by Georges Jacob , a desk and filing cabinet by Joseph Baumhauer (1757) and another by Jean-François Oeben .

Music room

The Salon de Musique or the music room was once the cabinet of curiosities for the Princes of Condé. Minerals, animals and other curiosities from nature are kept in two adjoining rooms that are not open to the public. The room overlooking the Château d'Enghien displays various objects in memory of the Duc d'Enghien , who was executed in the moat of the Vincennes castle . In addition to his portrait in hunting clothes, several of his personal belongings are on display.

Small rooms

These rooms on the ground floor of the Small Castle were the private apartments of the Duc d'Aumale. He had it furnished after he had decided to move into the one of his uncle Louis VI. Henri de Bourbon-Condé inherited the castle shortly after his wedding to his cousin Maria Karolina Augusta of Naples-Sicily . The work under decorator Eugène Lami began in 1844 and was completed in 1846; the rooms were furnished in the style of the July monarchy . Most of the furniture was made by the Grohé brothers . In September 1847, the Duc d'Aumale left the palace to take up his post as Governor General in Algeria . After his exile in England in 1848, he did not return to his home until 1876, where he lived until his death in 1897. In 1886 he had central heating and gas lighting installed. Following the Duc's will, no changes were made to the rooms after his death. Since 1993, they can be visited as part of guided tours.

"Salon de Guise"

The Salon de Guise and the entrance to the Duchess's room

This room used to be the music room of Bathilde d'Orléans , the Duchess of Bourbon, and was then called the “ladies' salon”. In 1872, after the Duke of Guise, son of the Duc d'Aumale, died at the age of 18, it was renamed the Salon de Guise . The exhibition in this room presents portraits of his two sons, the Prince of Condé and the Duke of Guise, created by Charles Jalabert , as well as the portraits of the Duc d'Aumale and his brother Antoine d'Orléans , those of Joseph Nicolas Robert -Fleury were painted. The sopra portals show Chantilly Castle at the time of the Grand Condé, the hameau and a crowd pouring out of the stables. The furniture consists of a table and a chest of drawers made of rosewood and ebony , decorated with bronze.

Duchess's room

This room is the former drawing room of the Duchess of Bourbon, with a four-poster bed, a Louis-quinze-style armchair and a toilet. The walls are decorated with two paintings of the Duc d'Aumale's wedding. The ceiling was painted by Narcisso Virgilio Díaz de la Peña and depicts two birds swinging on a garland around the letters C and A (Caroline Auguste, Duchesse d'Aumale).

Purple drawing room

The purple salon, restored in 2009

This round room is the former bedroom of the Duchess of Bourbon. Louis Antoine de Bourbon-Condé was born here in 1772 . The room was decorated with green damask under the July Monarchy . On his return in 1876 and following the death of his wife in 1869, the Duc d'Aumale replaced green with purple, the color of mourning. This salon was completely restored in 2009 and again covered with damask.

"Small monkey cabinet"

This room is the only one of the small apartments that has fully retained its 18th century decoration. A plaque gives the date of 1735, the decor is attributed to Christophe Huet. Six pictures in this former boudoir depict the distractions of the ladies of the castle in the four seasons with monkey figures. They take part in the hunt (autumn), pick cherries (spring), bathe (summer) or toboggan (winter). Two other pictures show monkeys playing cards or making their toilet. The ceiling, restored from scratch, again shows the allegories of the four seasons and the fables of La Fontaine on two bars: The Cock and the Pearl , The Fox and the Stork , The Fox and the bust and the chicken with the golden eggs on the other two bars depict the barkers from Paris , including the wafer merchant. The shutters represent outdoor games (archery, badminton and bowling). A door leaf shows archery.

Duc d'Aumale's room and bathroom

Room of the Duc d'Aumale with a bed on which his academic robes lie

The wooden paneling here dates from the 18th century, only over the doors they were replaced in the following century. This room is the old chamber of Louis VI. Henri Joseph de Bourbon before the revolution. Pictures and miniatures depicting the Duc d'Aumale's family hang on the walls, including a portrait of his mother by Baron François Gérard . In a showcase lies the death mask of the Duc d'Aumale and the tricolor that covered his coffin when he was brought from Sicily. The attached bathroom is lined with wood and offers all contemporary comforts such as running hot and cold water, wash basin, bathtub and taps in the fashion of their time.

"Salon de Condé"

The Salon de Condé was furnished by Eugène Louis Lami in an eclectic style, especially with an imposing fireplace in the neo-renaissance style. This old antechamber, which later became the Salon of the Duke of Bourbon, was initially called the Salon des Condé by the Duc d'Aumale because it housed a large number of portraits of his ancestors, both as paintings ( Grand Condé by Justus van Egmont ) or as sculptures (like Louis-Henri de Bourbon-Condé ). In memory of the eldest son of the Duc d'Aumale, who died at the age of only 21, the room was renamed the Salon de Condé .

Marble room, loggia and reception room

The marble room with its Renaissance-inspired decoration

These three rooms were completely furnished by Jean Bullant in the neo-renaissance style with lots of wood, coffered ceilings, tiles and ornaments that are reminiscent of the facade of the small castle. The marble room from 1880 was originally a study and was later converted into the Duc d'Aumale's private dining room. It contains pieces of furniture by the Grohé brothers and a bust of Ferdinand Philippe d'Orléans , the Duc's eldest brother. The loggia and the reception room (débotté) were built in 1875 on the spot where the drawbridge of the small castle was originally located. The loggia was decorated in honor of Anne de Montmorency in the style of the Écouen castle . The reception room was used to greet visitors to the Duc when they returned from the hunt.

Duban Gallery and Daumet Gallery

The Duban Gallery was built in 1846 under the direction of the architect Félix Duban (1798–1870). It represents an extension on the front of the small castle towards the courtyard and serves the small chambers. It was initially adorned with stained glass, which have the myth of the psyche as a theme and which are now in the Galerie de Psyché . They were replaced by six heraldic stained glass from the Écouen castle . They represent the coat of arms of Guillaume Gouffier de Bonnivet , the companion in arms of Anne de Montmorency, and of the Dauphin and later King Henry II in 1541. Furthermore, there is probably the coat of arms of Philippe de Montmorency , the bishop of Limoges and brother of Anne, the coat of arms of Antoinette de La Marck, wife of Henri I de Montmorency and son of Anne, the coat of arms of Anne herself and of Marie de Montmorency, younger sister of Anne and Abbess of Maubuisson . The other window glasses, which date from the 19th century, bear the coat of arms of the Condé and Orléans. Various weapons and a North Caucasian robe, which the Duc d'Aumale received from Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolajewitsch of Russia , are exhibited in the showcases of the gallery . At the end of the corridor is the old wheelchair that the Duc used during his walks in the castle park at the end of his life.

The Daumet Gallery was designed by an architect of the same name between 1885 and 1886 in order to connect the new large castle with the small apartments. It is paneled with wood and houses a cupboard from the 18th century, which is decorated with marquetry and contains Meissen porcelain. The paintings on the walls of the gallery, which belonged to the Duc d'Aumale's father-in-law, show views of Naples and its surroundings.


The museum is known for its collection of paintings. It also has extensive collections of other genres , drawings, engravings, sculptures, photographs, archaeological finds and objects of applied art .


The museum has the second largest collection in France of paintings from before 1850 after the Musée du Louvre. The museum has 500 pictures on permanent display, while it has 800 in its collection. Based on the design during the Duc d'Aumale's lifetime, the works are distributed across all the rooms of the museum and, as in the museums of the 19th century, are arranged next to and on top of each other.

Flemish school

The Flemish school is mainly represented in the museum through two genres, religious painting and portraiture . The former includes an anonymous diptych , probably Johanna of France , sister of Louis XI. and which was previously attributed to Hans Memling , but was undoubtedly created by an artist close to Rogier van der Weyden . A Saint Mary Magdalene (formerly known as the portrait of Mary of Burgundy ), attributed to the master of the Magdalene legend, is also worth mentioning. Two other religious paintings date from the 17th century: The Noli me tangere by Denys Calvaert and the Ecce homo by Frans II Francken . The oldest of the portraits, an anonymous portrait from the 15th century, depicts Anton Bastard of Burgundy . The portraits, which were created in the 17th century, mostly depict members of the Condé and Orléans families. They were created during stays in exile in Flanders and passed into the possession of the Duc d'Aumale by inheritance. These include the portrait of Jean-Baptiste Gastons de Bourbon and two other works by the Flemish portrait painter Anthonis van Dyck, as well as various portraits of the Grand Condé by David Teniers the Younger and Justus van Egmont .

Italian school

With 98 pictures, the Italian school is very strongly represented in the collection. The Duc d'Aumale had a penchant for the Italian Renaissance, which is why 22 of the images are from the 15th and 38 from the 16th century. Tuscany is particularly well represented: Siena with Sassetta ( mystical wedding of St. Francis of Assisi ) , and Florence with three pictures by Fra Angelico , Filippino Lippi and Piero di Cosimo ( portrait of Simonetta Vespucci ) . The works of the 16th century were all created in the first 30 years of this century. You can find works by northern Italian artists such as Ludovico Mazzolino or Bernardino Luini or artists from Rome such as Jacopino del Conte , Scipione Pulzone or Raphael , the Musée Condé being the only museum in France with the Louvre that has his paintings; these are the works The Three Graces , Madonna d'Orléans and Madonna di Loreto . The Musée Condé also has Italian paintings from the 17th century in its collection. Annibale Carracci and Salvator Rosa are represented with eight works each, Domenichino and Il Guercino are also noteworthy. These are also works of a predominantly religious nature, apart from about a dozen portraits.

The Italian paintings came into the Duc d'Aumale collection through two purchases of complete collections. In 1854 he acquired 72 paintings from his father-in-law, Leopold of Naples-Sicily , that is more than half of the Italian works in the current collection. He later sold 70 works to Ferdinand I , who between 1799 and 1805 tried to get back some of the works that the Roman families had sold in the face of the advancing French troops . The Duc d'Aumale only kept the important works from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1879 he acquired the collection of the Louvre's curator , Frédéric Reise . He had built up his own collection during his career as a curator and later as director of the State Museums. When he retired, he sold these 40 works, including 24 Italian ones. The remaining works were acquired selectively at auctions.

Other foreign schools

The collection includes 16 paintings by Dutch painters. Apart from one work by Anthonis Mor, these are paintings from the Golden Age of Dutch art . The portraits and marine paintings are by painters such as Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael , Willem van de Velde the Younger , the history pictures by Matthias Stomer and the still lifes by Melchior de Hondecoeter .

The German painters of the Renaissance are represented by Hans Holbein the Younger , but also by Bartholomäus Bruyn the Elder and Heinrich Aldegrever . In addition, the Duc d'Aumale has acquired a number of recent German and Austrian paintings. These are landscape paintings by Joseph Rebell , Oswald Achenbach or Jacob Philipp Hackert , which originally belonged to the Duke of Salerno's art collection. The museum also owns two works by Franz Xaver Winterhalter .

English paintings are almost completely absent from the collection, although the House of Orléans had close ties with England before the Revolution. The portrait of the Two Waldegraves by Joshua Reynolds is one of the few exceptions . The portrait of Louis-Philippe d'Orléans by the same master is only a copy of the lost original. The rest of the paintings are landscapes by Edward Lear and Samuel William Reynolds .

Of Spanish painting, three anonymous portraits, two religious paintings by Antonio de Pereda and one religious picture by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo can be seen in the museum .

French school

In addition to the Cadard family's protective coat Madonna , attributed to Enguerrand Quarton and Pierre Villate in 1904 , the Musée Condé contains 85 portraits of French painting from the 15th and 16th centuries. They represent important personalities of their time, especially the kings of France, their families and entourage. Two of them are assigned to François Clouet himself, namely a portrait by Odet de Coligny and one by Jeanne d'Albret . Two dozen more were created by the painter's students or his entourage at court. Three works are attributed to Corneille de Lyon and six others to his pupils. There are also works by Jean Decourt and Germain Le Mannier . 43 of the portraits are anonymous. The majority of the works of art come from the collection of Alexandre Lenoir ; in 1939 Armand de Biencourt donated a large number of paintings to the museum.

Of the 82 French paintings of the 17th century, 57 are portraits. Some of them come from the collection of Alexandre Lenoir, including one work by Philippe de Champaigne (La Mère Angélique Arnaud) and three by Pierre Mignard ( Portrait of Cardinal Mazarin , Madame Deshoulières , Molière ). Others come from the collections of Louis-Philippe I, the father of the Duc d'Aumale, including a Philippe de Champaigne (Le Cardinal Mazarin) . The portrait collection also includes five works by Nicolas de Largillierre , including four early acquisitions by the Duc. In addition to the portraits, paintings of battles dominate, depicting the great deeds of the Grand Condé. These pictures can be traced back to students of Adam François van der Meulen , such as Martin des Batailles . The most important pictures from the 17th century, however, are the scenes from the New Testament that Nicolas Poussin created. Five of these paintings, including the Bethlehemite Child Murder and the Landscape with Two Nymphs, are in the possession of the Musée Condé. With the painting Le Repas d'Emmaüs by Trophime Bigot , Caravaggism is represented only once in the Musée Condé.

Half of the 137 French paintings of the 18th century are again portraits. The Duc d'Aumale deliberately collected images depicting members of his family or important personalities from French history. They were created by the most important French artists of this period: Jean-Marc Nattier (two pictures), Charles-Joseph Natoire (one picture), Joseph Siffred Duplessis (three pictures) or Jean-Baptiste Greuze (four pictures). Religious or historical paintings of the 18th century, however, looking almost for free: with the disarmed love of Antoine Watteau , there are only a mythological image. Watteau is also represented with four pictures in the Musée Condé. In addition to the portraits, there are numerous hunting scenes, including two works by Jean-Baptiste Oudry ( Hallali of a fox hunt , Hallali of a wolf hunt ). Two large-format works that now hang in the Musée Condé were ordered by the French king in 1735, namely The Oyster Meal by Jean François de Troy and The Ham Breakfast by Nicolas Lancret . Both pictures were intended to show the small apartments of King Louis XV. to embellish at the Palace of Versailles . The apartments of Chantilly Castle were also decorated with paintings. Its author is Christophe Huet ; including a small and a large monkey cabinet and a cycle of paintings with landscape and animal motifs.

With the exception of Impressionism , all painting styles of the 19th century are represented in the Musée Condé. The Duc d'Aumale did not buy any works of the contemporary avant-garde, but followed fashion with a delay of several years, which is also made visible by the general time lag between the creation and acquisition of a work of art by the Duc. The classical painting is represented in the Musée Condé with its most important artists. Five works are by Ingres , including the Venus Anadyomene and a self-portrait acquired with the Reisets collection , as well as La Maladie d'Antiochus . Another four pictures are by François Gérard , such as Les trois âges de la vie and a portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte. The romantic painting in the Musée Condé includes Géricault's The Horse Goes Out of the Stable , three paintings by Eugène Delacroix such as Les deux Foscari, and five portraits by Ary Scheffer . The academic painting is some pictures of Paul Baudry , some of which are created to order for the decoration of the castle, as well as works of Ernest Meissonier , Léon Bonnat and Édouard Detaille represents.

The large number of orientalist paintings can be explained by the Duc d'Aumale's stay in North Africa and his later preference for this region. The collection in the Musée Condé includes orientalists such as Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps , Prosper Marilhat and Eugène Fromentin . The Barbizon School is represented by the works of Théodore Rousseau , Charles-François Daubigny and Jules Dupré . Realism and naturalism are actually only present through a single work, namely the painting Bergers de Pyrénées by Rosa Bonheur , which the Duc ordered in 1864. Last but not least, the Duc d'Aumale also acquired salon pictures. Thus, two works from the Salon of 1857 came to the Musée Condé: the Suites d'un bal masqué by Jean-Léon Gérôme , which the Duc d'Aumale acquired in 1858, whereby Gérôme later became friends with the Duc d'Aumale and his colleague in of the Academy of Fine Arts , and The Rural Concert by Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot , acquired in 1890.


The drawing cabinet in the middle of the Bibliothèque du Théâtre , on which is a bronze bust of the Duc d'Aumale by Paul Dubois .

The museum's collections contain over 2500 drawings. After the first acquisitions of drawings relating to his own history and that of his family, the Duc d'Aumale became a serious collector of drawings during his exile in England. He started with some bargain purchases, such as two drawings by Raphael ( The Entombment and Cecilia and Other Saints ) and two by Michelangelo ( The Last Judgment and Raising of Lazarus ) in 1860. After acquiring the entire collection from Frédéric Reise , curator of the Louvre , in 1861 for 140,000 francs, the Duc d'Aumale began to build up an extensive collection. This purchase involved a total of 381 drawings from the 15th to 18th centuries, including 158 Italian drawings, 17 drawings by Claude Lorrain (including many views of Rome and its surroundings), around 100 by Nicolas Poussin and some by Albrecht Dürer ( The Annunciation , Virgin and Child, surrounded by angels and saints ), studies by Eustache Le Sueur and other sketches by Leonardo da Vinci , Raphael, Peter Paul Rubens and Watteau. In 1862 he acquired La Mona Vanna , also known as the naked Mona Lisa , which was then attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, but is now attributed to his school. In 1866, after the death of Eugène Delacroix , the Duc d'Aumale bought one of seven albums from the trip to Morocco and Algeria. At the Wellesley auction he acquired four other drawings by Lorrain and Canaletto . With the purchase of the collection of the Marquis Maison, drawings by Watteau, Greuze, and Pierre Paul Prud'hon were added to his collection.

In 1876, after his return to France, the Duc d'Aumale continued his purchases in England to bring French works of art back to their homeland. He acquired the collection of 16th-century French portraits of the Duke of Sutherland, which Alexandre Lenoir had formed from 148 portraits in pastel and colored pencil during the Revolution. In 1877 he bought 450 portraits of Louis Carmontelle for 112,500 francs . With the acquisition of a further 34 drawings, he expanded the series of portraits of famous people from the 18th century, created by the editor of Louis Philippe d'Orléans , the great-great-grandfather of the Duc d'Aumale, to 484 pieces. In June 1880, the Duc d'Aumale acquired 600 portraits of soldiers made by Auguste Raffet , which reminded the Duc of his military career. He also bought 25 Dutch drawings by Aelbert Jacobsz. Cuyp , Lambert Doomer and Willem van de Velde the Younger from the Visser sale in 1881. In 1884 the castle was finished and the Duc d'Aumale left many of his drawings, including the d'Orléans, on the walls, albeit his curators feared their preservation and advised against it. In 1889 he completed his collection through the acquisition of 363 sketches from the 16th century, which were then attributed to Jean and François Clouet and which belonged to Caterina de 'Medici , through the intermediary of the Count of Carlisle . After the Duc's death, the drawings were quickly removed from the permanent exhibition spaces. Since then, they can only be seen at special exhibitions. They are kept in the drawing cabinet that has been in the center of the Bibliothèque du Théâtre since the 1970s .

Books, illuminations, archives

The museum library, sometimes called Bibliothèque Condé , is known worldwide for its 13,000 old books. The Duc d'Aumale had inherited the Condé collection, consisting of 800 manuscripts and two prints. In his exile in 1850, he began to buy more works, the collection was gradually expanded through purchases through booksellers and auctions. The Duc d'Aumale also acquired entire collections, for example, in 1851, 3404 volumes, including 250 incunabula, from the English collector Frank Hall Standish for 133,000 francs , or those from the bibliophile Armand Cigongne in 1859-2910 works for 375,000 francs. In 1852 he bought a number of books that had belonged to his father Louis-Philippe . The Duc d'Aumale personally created the first catalog of his collection, it was published in 1907. The Duc acquired 30,000 contemporary works for his own work library , which are now kept in the Bibliothèque du théâtre .

There are around 1,500 manuscripts among the books in the Musée Condé . 200 of these manuscripts are book illuminations ; 300 date from the Middle Ages. The oldest piece is a book illumination from the tenth century, which is taken from the Registrum Gregorii . Half of the manuscripts have religious content, such as the Ingeborg Psalter . The other texts deal with theological, literary, scientific or cultural topics such as the Codex Chantilly from the 14th century, a collection of chants. The book collection contains around 10,000 old printed works, including 700 incunabula (printed before 1501) and 2,500 books each from the 16th and 17th centuries.

The most important of these books is undoubtedly the Duke of Berry's Book of Hours , an illumination by the Limburg brothers , which was created between 1411 and 1416, the year of the death of their commissioner Johann von Valois . It was then continued and expanded by other artists, probably by Barthélemy d'Eyck in the 1440s and Jean Colombe before 1485. The Duc d'Aumale acquired this work in 1856 from Baron Félix Margherita in Italy for the sum of 18,000 francs. This manuscript has only been shown to the public once, on the occasion of a special exhibition in 2004. In 1891, the Duc acquired another 40 book illuminations from the German Brentano family. These individual pages are taken from the Etienne Chevalier's Book of Hours , which was created by Jean Fouquet in the 1450s and which has not been fully preserved. Apart from the pages in Chantilly, only seven miniatures remain in the possession of other museums or libraries. The fragments of the book of hours can be seen in the permanent exhibition in hermetically sealed showcases in the Santuario .

Since the museum opened, the book collection has grown by 15,000 works. After the Duc d'Aumale's death, several large donations were made to the museum, around 500 works in 1919 by the architect Louis Bernier , 82 works on the history of the Montmorency-Luxembourg family in 1939 by Marguerite Montaigne de Poncins , and 3,000 works on the history of the Oise by Jean Vergnet-Ruiz , the former curator of the museum in Compiègne Castle .

With the donation of Chantilly Castle, the Chantilly estate archives also passed into the possession of the Musée Condé and are still kept there today. The oldest documents date from the time when Pierre d'Orgemont bought the property in the 14th century. Gustave Macon sorted the documents into two categories: the Cabinet des titres (Cabinet of Titles) on the one hand and the cabinet des lettres (Cabinet of Letters) on the other. The former contains documents on properties throughout France, which are divided into 31 rows, 1019 boxes and 1809 registers. The cabinet of letters consists of the correspondence of the princes: 80,000 letters in 663 volumes and 16 rows. In addition to these documents, there are the acquisitions made by Gustave Macon and his successors. These include the Duc d'Aumale's private archive, which was not originally part of the donation. It consists of four series and deals with the gender of the Condé and their possessions. Furthermore, the Musée Condé today owns the archives of the Montmorency-Luxembourg family, which Montaigne de Poncins left to the museum and which consists of 47 boxes from the years 1497-1904. A separate cabinet des cartes has been set up for maps and plans, which contains 3,000 hand-drawn maps from the 14th to 19th centuries and 5,000 plans of the palace from the 19th century.

With the exception of special exhibitions, all of these documents are accessible to researchers if they make an appointment in advance and obtain the consent of the curator. Some of the works have also been digitized and can be viewed on the library's website. The catalog can be accessed using the CALAMES database, the archive and manuscript catalog of French university libraries developed by the Agence bibliographique de l'enseignement supérieur .


The museum's collections include around 2500 prints. Most of them are portraits of famous people from the 16th to 19th centuries. These include many works by great German artists like 33 engravings by Albrecht Dürer , for example, the famous Melencolia and Saint Jerome in His Study , and a series of small Passion of the Christ, further prints of Martin Schongauer , including Saint Lawrence and The Crowning with Thorns available , also works by Albrecht Altdorfer , Heinrich Aldegrever and Hans Sebald Beham . Several engravings from the 17th century depict views of Paris or various castles and monuments and are by Israël Silvestre , Jean Marot , Nicolas de Fer and Adam Pérelle .


The museum preserves around 1400 photographs, paper prints glued to cardboard, which date from the second half of the 19th century. The collection includes some works by the most important pioneers of photography. The Duc d'Aumale had an early interest in this technique and collected some daguerreotypes from the 1840s, which are lost. The interest in photography is explained not least by the fact that the Duc d'Aumale wanted to take some memories of his homeland with him when he was in exile in England. He acquired views of Paris from Édouard Baldus and the Bisson brothers . As a soldier he was also interested in the photographic documents of Roger Fenton from the Crimean War and those of Alexander Gardner from the American Civil War . As an art collector, he also acquired photographs of important works of art such as the photo of the Mona Lisa by Gustave Le Gray , the ship and sea views by the same artist and the images of the Swiss glaciers by Adolphe Braun . The collection also includes contemporary views of Chantilly Castle , family pictures and the first amateur photos of the Duc d'Aumale's nephew, Robert d'Orléans , the Duke of Chartres . These recordings are sometimes shown at special exhibitions.


The collection of sculptures (305 of which are listed in the Base Joconde database of the French Ministry of Culture ) consists essentially of busts and statues of famous people. However, there are also depictions of mythological figures and game animals in neoclassical and academic styles. Some of these statues were acquired by the Duc d'Aumale to decorate the palace gardens. These statues were already in the park in the 17th century and were acquired or re-ordered by the Duc d'Aumale to commemorate the most important people in the history of the castle. Among the 17th century sculptors represented are Guillaume Dupré (bust of Henry IV) , Gilles Guérin (Louis XIV knocking down the Fronde ) and Antoine Coysevox (bust of the Grand Condé) . Louis Pierre Deseine , James Pradier , Lorenzo Bartolini , Antoine-Louis Barye , Auguste-Nicolas Caïn (creator of the hunting dogs at the entrance to the castle), Henri Chapu and Paul Dubois represent 19th century sculpture.

Decorative arts

The museum has a collection of porcelain tableware that the former residents of the castle used themselves or that were purchased from the Duc d'Aumale. This includes one of the largest collections of Chantilly porcelain , as the factory was originally founded in 1725 to supply the Lords of Chantilly with porcelain. In addition, around 100 objects from the Lefébure-Solacroup donation from 1957, which essentially consist of porcelain in the so-called Kakiémon style, i.e. H. an imitation of the Japanese Imari porcelain . The ceramics collection also includes Sèvres porcelain from the 18th and 19th centuries, some that the Duc d'Aumale collected at a time when it was fashionable in England, some that the Duc ordered directly from the manufactory, such as for example a set of surtouts with hunting motifs after the paintings by Jean-Baptiste Oudry . Last but not least, the museum owns ensembles of Limoges and Bayeux porcelain as well as pieces from other manufacturers, especially from Paris in the 18th and 19th centuries. Foreign pieces, for example from Naples, Vienna, Meißen and English bone china can also be viewed in the Musée Condé.

The museum also has several extraordinary pieces of furniture, essentially dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. These are usually family items that had belonged to the House of Condé and were repurchased during the Restoration , or that were bought and later bequeathed to the Duc d'Aumale. The collections also include items from famous owners such as a Louis XVI bedroom chest of drawers. in Versailles or an office and filing cabinet that had belonged to the Duc de Choiseul . The furniture was created by artists such as André-Charles Boulle , Jean-Henri Riesener , Joseph Baumhauer , Georges Jacob , Pierre-Antoine Bellangé or the Grohé brothers . There are also plenty of furnishings from the July monarchy that ruled when the Duc d'Aumale furnished his castle.


The Duc d'Aumale owned 150 antiquities of various origins: Egyptian , Etruscan , Greek, and especially Roman and Gallo-Roman , which make up more than half. Some of these antique works, bronze, glass or ceramic, come from the Duc's travels to the excavation sites of Pompeii , where he received them as a gift from his host, Ferdinand II, King of the Two Sicilies . In 1854 he acquired the collections of his stepfather Leopold von Bourbon of the Two Sicilies , which contained in particular the mosaics that he used to decorate the castle ( hunting mosaic and the kidnapping of the Europa ), as well as some small marble statues. On various occasions the Duc d'Aumale acquired other pieces such as some Tanagra statues , a Greek red-figure amphora from Nola attributed to the Greek painter Aison , and a statue of Minerva . Some objects also come from local excavations from Gallo-Roman sites, such as the small bronze statue of a Faunus from Buironfosse or a statuette of a Gallic wild boar. However, around a dozen objects are counterfeits from the 19th century.

Miniature portraits

The museum has over 350 miniature portraits , which are a separate collection and combine drawings, painting and decorative arts. These are representations that symbolize an emotional relationship between the person depicted and the owner of the portrait, be it family or love relationships. The Duc d'Aumale acquired these works by purchasing historical portraits, but mostly through inheritance: he received most of the miniature portraits from his mother, Queen Maria Amalia of Naples-Sicily on her death in 1866, with about 60 portraits of the Bourbon family -Condé as well as Austrian and Neapolitan portraits of her stepmother Maria Klementine of Austria came to the collection. Other miniatures were acquired after the museum opened, whether through gifts, inheritances or purchases. These miniatures have a variety of shapes: mainly oval or round, but also boxes or pieces of jewelry. The oldest objects date from the 1520s when this art emerged. As a successor to book illumination, they were worked in gouache or watercolor on veal parchment . Sometimes they are also made of enamel , like those by Léonard Limosin (portraits by Henri d'Albret , Antoine de Bourbon , Catherine de Lorraine , Louis de Bourbon ). The miniatures of the 17th century were executed on a wide variety of materials: copper, paper and especially enamel, which artists such as Jean Petitot (18 portraits) specialized in. The works in the second half of the 18th century are mainly made on ivory, this technique coming from Italy, but by artists living in France such as Peter Adolph Hall (portraits of the future King Louis-Philippe I ) and Jean-Baptiste Isabey (Portrait of Marie-Louise of Austria ) was introduced. The miniatures can be seen in the permanent exhibition in the Gemstone Cabinet. A special exhibition dedicated exclusively to the miniatures that had been restored for the occasion took place in 2007 and 2008.

Administration and cultural policy


From a legal point of view, the Musée Condée is a private foundation , the Fondation d'Aumale , which was created through the donation of the Duc d'Aumale, but is subordinate to a public body, namely the Institut de France . It is therefore not a national museum and must not be adorned with the name Musée de France . It is managed by a state curator appointed by the Ministry of Culture . This is Nicole Garnier-Pelle since 1998. In parallel, the maintenance of the library and archives is managed by a state curator from the librarianship section of the Institut de France, since 2009 in the person of Olivier Bosc . The supervision and control of the Musée Condé on behalf of the institute is always carried out by a college of conservators made up of three academics from the Académie Française.

The reception, supervision, maintenance and upkeep staff are employed directly by the Chantilly Domain Preservation Foundation , which has managed the entire estate of Chantilly Castle since 2005. She employs around 150 people and also manages all commercial matters of the museum, communication and supervision of restoration projects on buildings or objects in the collection.

Visitor numbers

In terms of the number of visitors, the Musée Condé ranks 28th among all French museums. It is one of the 15 most visited museums of fine arts in the country and is the most important museum in Picardy . Since the estate has been managed by the Foundation for the Preservation of the Chantilly Domain, the number of visitors has increased slightly, but is a long way from achieving the 600,000 annual target that the Foundation set itself when it was set up. In the list of the best museums compiled by Le Journal des Arts , the Musée Condé ranks 37th, but third of all museums located in cities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants.

Number of visitors to the museum from 2000 to 2009
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
267 911 266 648 263 917 289 637 260 298 235 970 244 634 258 850 255 439 275 775
Annual visitor numbers since 2000

Conservation and acquisitions

The museum regularly carries out restorations of his works and the historical rooms of the castle. Independent restorers are usually commissioned with this work, and patrons often help finance the preservation of the cultural heritage. The recently restored rooms of the palace include the large monkey cabinet in 2007 with financial support from the World Monuments Fund , a private foundation in New York, or the loggia, the débotté and the purple drawing room of the small apartments in 2009 with the help of friends of the Musée Condé . In addition, works of art such as the Italian paintings in the stands and the great gallery in 2007 and some miniatures from the Gem Cabinet have been restored. The restorations are sometimes carried out at the same time as thematic exhibitions, such as those eight Dutch paintings on the occasion of an exhibition on the subject in 2010.

The greatest patron of the museum is the Friends of the Musée Condé . It was founded in 1971 and today has around 2000 members. This association helps with the financing of the restoration, but also with possible acquisitions by the museum. It publishes an annual or biannual magazine called Le Musée Condé to publish the latest research on the collections and current restorations or acquisitions.

New acquisitions for the museum are always made in relation to the existing collection or the history of the castle. If the work is purchased, the support of a private patron is generally necessary. In 2006, thanks to the broad support of the residents around Chantilly, a watercolor by Adam Frans van der Meulen that depicts the castle was purchased. In 2008 the museum acquired a portrait of the Grand Condé by Justus van Egmont with the help of the Lefort Beaumont Foundation (the museum already had two portraits by the same artist at the time). New acquisitions can also be donations, such as the donation of plans and drawings of the island of love and the fountain in the palace gardens by the architect Claude-Mathieu Delagardette , which were made in 2010 by his descendants.

Special exhibitions

The Galerie de Psyché during the exhibition on the Cassone Esther et Assuerus with paintings by Filippino Lippi , in February 2011

Special exhibitions are usually carried out with works from the museum's treasure, which is not permanently on display. The Galerie de Psyché and the Galerie des Cerfs will be rearranged on these occasions to make space for the exhibits. Should the size of the special exhibition so require, the gem cabinet will also be cleared for this purpose. The curator of the museum is usually responsible for the special exhibition. If the book cabinet organizes exhibitions on the subject of bookbinding or special works, the curator of the library is responsible for the exhibition management.

Between 2005 and 2010 special exhibitions were organized on the following topics:

  • March 18 to June 13, 2005: Treasures of the drawing cabinet in the Musée Condé zu Chantilly , a selection of representative drawings from the collection of the Duc d'Aumale
  • April 27 to July 25, 2005: From dominoes and marble papers. Papers and bookbinding , about bookbinding techniques in the book cabinet
  • June 22 to September 19, 2005: hard porcelain from Sevres, Paris, Vienna and Capodimonte in the Musée Condé at Chantilly on pieces from the collection of porcelain that are not from Chantilly come
  • September 28, 2005 to January 9, 2006: Lagneau, an unknown artist of the 17th century with drawings by a French artist from the beginning of the 17th century, on loan from the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Musée du Louvre
  • March 22, 2006 to June 26, 2006: Daniel Dumonstier , "Europe's most excellent chalk draftsman " (1574–1646) , retrospectives of drawings and paintings by this artist of the 16th and 17th centuries on loan from the Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Musée du Louvre
  • September 16, 2006 to January 8, 2007: Grand dining in Chantilly , art for the dining table, decorative art and archive documents for receptions in Chantilly Castle from the 17th to 19th centuries
  • September 19, 2007 to January 7, 2008: Small portraits, great personalities, miniatures from the 16th and 17th centuries in the Musée Condé , on the miniature portraits from the collection of Chantilly Castle
  • April 9 to July 21, 2008: Marie d'Orléans (1813–1839), princess and romantic artist , sculptures and personal effects by the sister of the Duc d'Aumale , in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre
  • March 19 to August 4, 2008: Mignonne, allons voir ... The collection of poetic works by Jean Paul Barbier-Mueller , French poetry from the 16th century from the collection of the Swiss banker
  • September 15, 2008 to February 2, 2009: Marie Stuart, the French fate of a Scottish queen , prints and works of art on the subject of Maria Stuart in collaboration with Écouen Castle
  • September 20, 2008 to February 2, 2009: Chantilly in the First World War. Unpublished photographs by Marcel Vicaire , photographs from the Musée Condé depicting Chantilly during the First World War
  • February 11 to March 30, 2009: From Michelangelo to Chapu. Drawings by sculptors in the collections of the Musée Condé , selection of drawings on the subject of sculpture
  • April 4 to October 12, 2009: The Jardins de Le Nôtre in Chantilly , archival documents, drawings and prints about the gardens of Chantilly Castle in the 17th century on the occasion of the restoration of the grand parterre
  • May 29 to August 31, 2009: The myth of the psyche , window art, drawings, prints and decorative objects on this mythological theme
  • September 16, 2009 to January 4, 2010: Van Dyck in the collections of the Musée Condé , on the paintings, copies, drawings and prints of the Flemish master
  • October 21, 2009 to January 4, 2010: 19th century photography in the Duc d'Aumale collection , selection of prints from old photographs
  • January 13 to April 5, 2010: Small stamps, big collectors. Collector's marks in the drawings from the 16th to 19th centuries in the Musée Condé in Chantilly , selection of drawings from the collection and about the collector's marks on them
  • May 12 to August 16, 2010: Henri IV, a portrait of his reign , about the iconography of the king and his reign on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his assassination.
  • September 15, 2010 to January 2, 2011: Dutch art in the Musée Condé , about Dutch painting in the collections of the Musée Condé.

Since 2012, when the Jeu-de-Paume -halle was restored, art exhibitions have been held there. A large special exhibition is organized every year. The first of these was titled Delacroix and the Beginning of Orientalism and was accessible from October 2012 to January 2013. In addition to works from the collection of paintings and drawings in the Musée Condé, items on loan from the Musée du Louvre were also on view.

Pricing policy and services for the public

Museum admission increased from € 12 in 2010 to € 13 in 2011 and € 14 in 2012. Guided tours cost 3 euros extra. The Musée Condé is one of the museums with the highest entry prices in France.

The museum offers explanatory sheets for the tour for free as well as audio tours for adults and children, which can be borrowed for a fee or downloaded free of charge from the castle's website. Thematic tours are also organized every week. An educational and cultural service, which is run jointly with the castle gardens and the stud, offers activities for schools and leisure facilities. The museum participates in the European Heritage Days every year with special events, but without granting free admission, as is usual at this event. It is prepared for visitors with visual, hearing and mental disabilities and can therefore carry the tourism and handicap award . The museum houses a restaurant (La Capitainerie) and a boutique. In 2012, 48 works from the museum's collections were scanned in high resolution and contributed to the Google Art Project .


History of the museum

  • Gustave Macon: Musée Condé: Itinéraire . Braun, Clément et Cie, successeurs (Paris), Paris 1899 (French, online [accessed January 4, 2013]).
  • Gustave Macon: Chantilly et le musée Condé . Henri Laurens, Paris 1910 (French, [PDF; accessed January 4, 2013]).
  • Raoul de Broglie: Chantilly . Histoire du château et de ses collections (=  châteaux, décors de l'histoire ). Calmann-Lévy, 1964 (French).
  • Jean-Pierre Babelon: Le Château de Chantilly . Scala-Domaine de Chantilly, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-86656-413-8 (French).


  • Nicole Garnier-Pelle: Les Tableaux de Chantilly, la collection du duc d'Aumale . SkiraFlammarion - Domaine de Chantilly, 2009, ISBN 978-2-08-122828-3 (French).
  • Albert Châtelet, François-Georges Pariset, Raoul de Broglie: Chantilly, musée Condé. Peintures de l'École française XVe - XVIIe siècle (=  Inventaire des collections publiques de France . Volume 16 ). Réunion des musées nationaux, 1970 (French).
  • Elisabeth de Boissard, Valérie Lavergne: Chantilly, musée Condé. Peintures de l'École italienne (=  Inventaire des collections publiques de France . Volume 34 ). Réunion des musées nationaux, 1988, ISBN 2-7118-2163-3 , pp. 212 (French).
  • Nicole Garnier-Pelle: Chantilly, musée Condé, Peintures du XVIIIe siècle (=  Inventaire des collections publiques françaises ). Réunion des musées nationaux, 1995, ISBN 2-7118-3285-6 (French).
  • Nicole Garnier-Pelle: Chantilly, musée Condé, Peintures des XIXe et XXe siècles (=  Inventaire des collections publiques françaises ). Réunion des musées nationaux, 1997, ISBN 2-7118-3625-8 (French).
  • Nicole Garnier-Pelle (Ed.): Les Peintures italiennes du musée Condé à Chantilly . Generali / Institut de France, Trieste 2003, ISBN 88-7412-007-9 (French).
  • Ludovic Laugier, Anne-Marie Guimier sorbets: Le cabinet d'antiques du duc d'Aumale à Chantilly . De L'Égypte à Pompéi. Éditions d'Art Somogy, 2002, ISBN 2-85056-551-2 (French).
  • Nicole Garnier-Pelle: Trésors du cabinet des dessins du Musée Condé à Chantilly . Histoire de la collection du duc d'Aumale. Somogy éditions d'Art, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-85056-866-X (French).
  • Anne Forray-Carlier: Le Mobilier du château de Chantilly . Éditions Faton, Dijon 2010, ISBN 978-2-87844-131-4 (French).
  • Nicole Garnier-Pelle: La photographie du XIXe siècle à Chantilly . chefs-d'œuvre du musée Condé. Artlys, 2001, ISBN 2-85495-178-6 (French).

Web links

Commons : Musée Condé  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Jean-Pierre Babelon: Le Château de Chantilly. Paris 1999, ISBN 2-86656-413-8 , pp. 190-218, 226-227.
  2. Raoul de Broglie: Chantilly: Histoire du château et de ses collections. Calmann-Lévy, coll.Châteaux , décors de l'histoire 1964, p. 216.
  3. ^ Raymond Cazelles: Le Duc d'Aumale. Paris 1984-1998, ISBN 2-235-01603-0 , p. 410.
  4. ^ Albert Châtelet: Chantilly, Musée Condé. Peintures de l'École française XVe - XVIIe siècle. 1970, chapter Introduction , no page number.
  5. Jean-Pierre Babelon: Le Château de Chantilly. Paris 1999, ISBN 2-86656-413-8 , pp. 228-229.
  6. ^ Imprimerie nationale: Règlement du musée Condé . 1898.
  7. Raoul de Broglie: Chantilly: Histoire du château et de ses collections. Calmann-Lévy, Coll. Châteaux, décors de l'histoire. 1964, pp. 249-258.
  8. ^ Nicole Garnier-Pelle: Chantilly en 14-18, Photographies inédites de Georges et Marcel Vicaire. Ville de Chantilly - Fondation pour le domaine de Chantilly, Chantilly 2007, ISBN 978-2-9532603-0-4 , pp. 9-19.
  9. Raoul de Broglie: Chantilly: Histoire du château et de ses collections. Calmann-Lévy, Coll. Châteaux, décors de l'histoire. 1964, p. 233 and p. 266.
  10. ^ A b Marie-Hélène Quellier-Caranjeot: Étude gemmologique de deux diamants historiques: Le Grand Condé et le Penthièvre ( Memento of October 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive ). (PDF; 13.8 MB), diploma thesis in gemology at the Université de Nantes, October 10, 2005, pp. 26–27.
  11. Raoul de Broglie: Chantilly: Histoire du château et de ses collections. Calmann-Lévy, Coll. Châteaux, décors de l'histoire. 1964, p. 259.
  12. ^ A b c Albert Châtelet: Chantilly, musée Condé. Peintures de l'École française XVe - XVIIe siècle , 1970, introduction, no page number.
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This article was added to the list of excellent articles on March 27, 2014 in this version .

Coordinates: 49 ° 11 ′ 37.9 "  N , 2 ° 29 ′ 7.2"  E