Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé

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File:Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé - floor plan and elevation - Parker1967.jpg
Elevation and floor plan. In the elevation, the sculptures to be added by Clodion were "fancifully interpreted".[1] In the plan north, is down; the rue Monsieur, to the left; and the Boulevard des Invalides, to the right.

The Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé, 12 rue Monsieur (7th arrondissement of Paris), was built for Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon. The architect was Alexandre-Théodore Brongniart.[2]


In 1780 the twenty-three-year-old unmarried daughter of the Prince of Condé, Louise Adélaïde, also known as Mademoiselle de Condé, requested permission to leave the convent of Panthémont, where she had been educated, to live in the world. To suit her station in life a generous site was purchased in the rue Monsieur on the Left Bank, where Brogniart erected a splendid house. Previously, while working for the marquis de Montesquiou in 1778, Brongniart had received permission to open the rue Monsieur, where he also built stables for the Count of Provence, and a hôtel for the Archives de l'ordre Saint-Lazare.[3][4] The house was situated behind an enclosed court, entered through a central carriage passage, and faced a garden into which the central oval salon projected.[5]

By 1782 the menuisier (chair-maker) Georges Jacob had delivered seat furnishings to the amount of 13,958 livres and Jean-François Leleu, a prominent ébéniste (cabinetmaker), had rendered a bill for veneered case-pieces,[6] but no detailed contemporary description of the interiors survives: Horace Walpole mentioned this "Hôtel de Condé" in passing as an exemplar of the latest French neoclassical taste, after he had his first view of the Prince of Wales's Carlton House, London, in September 1785.[7]

The garden was landscaped in the genre pittoresque, the informal "picturesque genre" that was one aspect of French Anglomania in the 1780s. From the Boulevard des Invalides, passing along the garden, an open iron fence gave passers-by a view of the principal facade, the garden front in its landscaped setting.[8][9]

In the forecourt, long stucco panels in low-relief of children engaged in Bacchanalian procession were supplied by Clodion (Claude Michel). The art historian Michael Levey has written that "the superb stucco decorations for the courtyard of the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé ... [are] wonderfully zestful and redolent of the Renaissance in [their] unforced, enchanted pagan air, bringing hints of the countryside of antiquity into late eighteenth-century urban Paris."[10][11] The reliefs were eventually removed from the walls of the courtyard and have been conserved at the Metropolitan Museum of Art since 1959.[8]

Considerations of rank prevented the princesse de Condé from marriage, and in 1789 she escaped the first stages of the French Revolution; in 1802, in Poland she took the veil, and returned to Paris in 1816, to consecrate the rest of her life to religious work. She died in 1824, but she never again resided in Brogniart's Hôtel de Condé.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Parker (1967), p. 231.
  2. Braham (1980), pp. 215, 216; Parker (1967), p 230; Levey (1995), p. 243; Web page with the floor plan of the building at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. It has sometimes been referred to simply as the Hôtel de Condé, see Parker 1967; Horace Walpole's letter in Cunningham (1906), vol. 9, p. 14, but this name can result in confusion, as it was also used for the main Paris seat of the princes of Condé.
  3. Bauchal (1887), p. 615. This source calls the building the Hôtel de Mademoiselle de Condé and incorrectly states that it was demolished sometime before 1887.
  4. Braham (1980), pp. 215, 216.
  5. Brongniart's drawings of the ground-level and superior floor plans and elevations at Gallica bibliothèque numérique (Bibliothèque nationale de France).
  6. Parker (1967), p 232.
  7. Cunningham (1906), vol. 9, p. 14.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Parker (1967), p. 233.
  9. Garden side of the Hôtel de Bourbon-Condé: street view at Google Maps.
  10. Levey (1995), p. 243.
  11. Clodion is known to have supplied stucco reliefs for several of Brogniart's schemes (Parker 1967), p. 237.


  • Bauchal, Charles (1887). Nouveau dictionnaire biographique et critique des architectes français (French). Paris: André, Daly Fils. View at Google Books
  • Braham, Allan (1980). The architecture of the French enlightenment, pp. 210–219. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-04117-2. Limited view at Google Books.
  • Cunningham, Peter, ed. (1906). The letters of Horace Walpole: fourth earl of Orford, vol. 9, p. 14. Edinburgh: John Grant. View at Google Books.
  • Levey, Michael (1995). Painting and Sculpture in France 1700-1789. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0-300-06494-0. Limited view at Google Books.
  • Parker, James (1967). "Clodion's Bas-Reliefs from the Hôtel de Condé" in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin New Series, 25.6 (February 1967): 230–241. Archived April 5, 2012 at the Wayback Machine, originally available at metmuseum.org.

External links

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