Cabinet des Livres The Book Room
The Cabinet des Livres or in English called the Book Room, was designed to house the Duc
d'Aumale's library and to be a place for both reading and working and was installed
between the years 1876 and 1877 in the 16th-century Petit Château.
Designed by the architect Honoré Daumet, this structure has an upper gallery that is
typical of library architecture in the 19th century and in contrast to the other rooms at
this castle, the lay out was purposely designed to be very plain, yet functional, although
there is a coat of arms on the ceiling. The focus is therefore on the books which
are arranged by subject plus the type and age when the books were bound.
The collection within the Cabinet des Livres, book room contains around 30,000 volumes,
including 1,500 manuscripts and 11,500 printed books, which are mainly on the subjects of
literature and history which are extremely rare, with having been sought after by
collectors, even before the French Revolution.
Of the manuscripts, there are around 200 medieval manuscripts, many of which are
illuminated and the oldest one actually dates from the 11th century, but being so
precious, a copy of this is on display for visitors.
The collection of printed books includes around 700 books that were printed before 1501
and approximately another 2,500 books that were printed in the 16th century. The
collection of books that was donated by the Duc d'Aumale is the most important collection
in France and one of the most famous and valuable illuminated manuscripts in the world
called 'Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry' is the prize possession.
Galerie de Peintures
The Galerie de Peintures or in English called The Gallery of Paintings is a gallery full
of beautiful and rare paintings that has a layout very typical of the 19th century museums
and the Duc d'Aumale stated in his will that he wanted the layout to stay the same.
It is a large room that is well lit through an overhead glass roof and the works of art
are exhibited frame by frame on red picture rails without any chronological order. You
will see art from Italy and Italian painters on the left wall and on the right wall are
paintings from French painters.
The Gallery also contains numerous historical French portraits from the 17th and 18th
centuries, including military paintings that the Duc d'Aumale had acquired over time,
along with art that was originally commissioned to go into the Chateau de Versailles.
The Conde Museum of the Chateau de Chantilly
is also the home of more than three hundred and sixty portraits, which date from the 16th
century and include a large number of preparatory drawings for the paintings that are
displayed in the Salle Clouet.
The Salle Clouet, or in English known as the Clouet Room, displays French Renaissance
portraits including those from the Royalty in the 16th century and includes King Francois
I, King Henri II, King Charles IX and Queen Catherine de Médicis, just to name a few.
And the collection of historical paintings that were produced before 1850 which are at the
Conde Museum is the second largest collection in France, only being beaten by the Louvre.
There are other rooms within the museum housing a wonderful collection of antiques, not
just paintings, such as the Salon d'Orléans, which holds a fantastic and rare collection
of Chantilly porcelain. Another such room is Le cabinet des Gemmes. This room
holds the pink diamond that is a precious stone of exceptional size and colour, which is
known as Le Grand Condé, because he had the gem set on the pommel of his walking stick.
You will also find fantastic architecture like the wood panelling in the Cabinet d'Angle,
furniture such as the incredible chest of drawers in the Princes Chambers and tapestries
like the hunting tapestry hung in The Galerie des Cerfs where the Duc d'Aumale used to
entertain guests in this large dining room known as The Stag Gallery.
The Cabinet des Dessins houses one of the richest collections of drawings and engravings
in France and the Conde Museum also has an important collection of photographs, with
around 1,400 that date from the 19th century and reflects the different steps in the
history of photography.
The Conde Museum, which is situated in the Chateau de Chantilly is a fascinating place to
visit and is less than an hour from Paris. So
with the immense History of Chantilly that
you can discover within the museum, along with the beautiful gardens, the Chantilly Castle
itself and the Grand Stables, you will have a very pleasant day in a place that is not
very well known in comparison to Chateau Versailles or The Louvre.
Unfortunately no animals are allowed in the chateau or the grounds.
There are audio guides available for hire at a cost of 2 that provide a commentary
on the galleries of paintings, the chapel and the Cabinet des Livres and there are also
audio guides available specifically designed for children also at a cost of 2.
Address & Contact Details:
Chateau de Chantilly & Musée Condé
Telephone: 3 44 27 31 80
Group information and reservations
Telephone: 3 44 27 31 80