Panelling in the Green Boudoir

Artist or maker:
c 1875 {painting & some panels}
Place of production:
Paris, France
Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire, England, United Kingdom
Type of object:


The Green Boudoir is decorated with numerous early 18th-century panels taken from a room known as the 'cabinet chinois' (Chinese cabinet) in the hôtel Dodun, Paris (acc. nos 3588.1-27). Although they were repainted and reassembled, Ferdinand de Rothschild's care in recreating the scale of the original room means that this is one of the most rich and complex rooms to survive from this period. The wealth of carved scenes and ornamental details is remarkable.

The original cabinet was a small comfortable room where Madame Dodun could withdraw for rest and reflection. Rooms decorated with Chinese themes (chinoiserie) were fashionable from the late 1710s to the early 1730s. Sometimes lacquer panels from China were used, but mostly the carved wooden panels were made in France. They provided architects, carvers and decorators with the space to produce elaborate schemes of exotic, daring and bizarre decoration.

The monkeys that feature in this room were often included in chinoiserie themes. There was a long tradition of using monkeys to depict the trials of human life in a light-hearted manner. The cats are more unusual and may have been influenced by contemporary literature. It has been suggested that the panels depict the different Ages of Man evoking the transient character of love and the folly it encourages.

The panels were originally made around 1725-1730 when the hôtel Dodun was re-decorated, but their inventiveness suggests they were not designed by Jean-Baptiste Bullet de Chamblin (b.1665, d.c 1726?) as with other panelling from this hôtel. The dark green colour probably dates from c. 1860. The panels were green in the eighteenth century but it was a more fashionable paler green. Four of the narrow panels in the Green Boudoir (left of chimney-piece; south wall, left; south wall, right; west wall, right of right-hand door) were made for the installation at Waddesdon.

Phillippa Plock, 2012


Commissioned by Pierre Dodun for the hôtel de Dodun, Paris, c. 1725-7; removed from the hôtel sometime after 1866; acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild (b.1839, d.1898) by 1875; inherited by his sister Alice de Rothschild (b.1847, d.1922); inherited by her great-nephew James de Rothschild (b.1878, d.1957); given to Waddesdon The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) in 1957.
Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Bequest of James de Rothschild, 1957



Alfred de Champeaux, L'Art Decoratif dans le Vieux Paris, Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 10, October 1893, 341-352; p. 313
Denys Sutton, Pleasures of Nostalgia, Apollo, 105, 1977, 2-8; pp. 2, 4, pl. 1
Bruno Pons, Geoffrey de Bellaigue; Waddesdon Manor Architecture and Panelling: The James A. de Rothschild Bequest at Waddesdon Manor; England; Philip Wilson Publishers; 1996; pp. 556-593, cat. nos 192-218, ill.
Ulrich Leben, Les Boiseries Parisiennes de Waddesdon Manor, Connaissance des Arts, 547, February 1998, 68-75; pp. 70-75, figs. 4-8.
Christie's; The Wildenstein Collection - The Compendium, 14 - 15 December 2005; 2005; London; lot 165.
Nicole Garnier, Anne Forray-Carlier, Marie-Christine Anselm; Singeries et Exotisme chez Christophe Huet; Paris; Editions d'Art Monelle Hayot; 2010; p. 148, ill.