Overdoor panel

Artist or maker:
Place of production:
Paris, France
oak, paint, varnish and gold
Type of object:
panels (surface components)
Accession number:
One of a set, see others


This panel, one of a series in the Green Boudoir, came from the hôtel Dodun in Paris. Ferdinand de Rothschild planned to install these panels following 18th-century proportions from as early as 1875. Most of the panels in the room come from a sumptuous, intimate room used by Madame Dodun known as the 'cabinet chinois' (Chinese cabinet). This panel came from the east or west wall of the cabinet, along with the other three over-door panels, all different in design.

This panel shows a woman accompanied by two monkeys. Monkeys were popular subjects for exotic decoration; many had been brought from the Far East by the Dutch East India Company from the mid-17th century onwards. The French artist Christophe Huet (1700-59) published engravings of monkeys acting out different aspects of human life. Monkeys had long been represented aping human behaviour, often in a carnivalesque, or world-turned-upside-down manner.

Together, the four over-door panels may have been intended to provide a witty commentary on the ancient subject of the 'Four Ages of Man'. This panel may have represented Birth or the beginnings of life, echoed in the spring flowers and the monkey cradling a swaddled kitten. The surrounding decoration combines rococo shells, festoons and scrolls with exotic dragons.

The panels were originally made around 1725-1730 when the hôtel Dodun was re-decorated. The dark green colour probably dates from c. 1860 and was re-painted when it was installed at Waddesdon in the 1870s. The panels were green in the eighteenth century but it was a more fashionable paler green.

Phillippa Plock, 2012

Physical description

Dimensions (mm):
1230 x 1480


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



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. no. 196, ill.

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