A pair of views of the Château de Choisy by Thomas Compigné
A pair of early Louis XVI views of the Chateâu de Choisy
by Thomas Compigné – circa 1775
Gouache, gilt and silvered embossed pewter foil on a cardboard support
Inscribed on the reverses of the views:
Vu de Choisy le Roy du côté de l’embarcadère. Fait sur le tour, dans la fabrique du Sr Compigné rue Greneta, au Roy David. N°21 (in an 18th Century hand)
Château de Choisy le Roy après le dédoublement des façades entourant la cour d’honneur qui fut exécutée en 1752 par Louis XV (in a later hand)
Height of each: 13 cm. (5 in.) Width of each: 17 cm. (6 ¾ in.)
Sold Christie’s Monaco, 21 June 1998, lot 584
Edmond and Lily Safra Collection
Compigné, peintre et tabletier du Roy, exh. cat. Grasse, Villa Musée Fragonard, June-July 1991.
A.Semail, ‘Les « Compignés » et leurs créateurs’, Plaisir de France, no. 427 (March 1975), pp. 25-31.
A pair of almost identical views of Choisy of smaller dimensions by Compigné was sold Sotheby’s Monaco, 18 June 1994, lot 137
A tabletier selling games boards and other small works in ivory and tortoiseshell privileged by the court of Louis XV, Thomas Compigné also made precious paintings, notably views of landscapes, ports, and princely and royal residences. In 1766 his tableaux were described thus:
“Here painting is united with sculpture, on a ground of tortoiseshell or an amalgam composed of coloured gold. From close-up, from afar, in daylight or when lit, these tableaux achieve their great effect through the mixture, the assortment and the transparency of the colours that the artist knows how to employ.”
In 1777 l’Almanach Dauphin listed the principal merchants and craftsmen of France, presenting Compigné, tabletier du roi, as one of the most famous, and continued:
“This skilful artist has recently made snuffboxes en camaieu worked on the lathe, on which are carved in relief views of landscapes and châteaux, these according to designs which are supplied to him as models.”
These views are the only evidence of certain châteaux, many of which have been destroyed, including that of Choisy Le Roy.
The original chateau was built by the duchesse de Montpensier, known as “La Grande Mademoiselle”, in the years prior to 1680 with gardens laid out by Le Notre. The domaine went through several owners before its purchase by Louis XV in 1739 who gradually reconstructed and enlarged the château under the direction of Ange-Jacques Gabriel. The King used Choisy primarily for hunting but also as a retreat away from the court where he could spend time with Mme de Pompadour. After her death in 1762, he gradually lost interest and later in the 18th Century Marie-Antoinette came from time to time. After the Revolution, the park and gardens were sold off and the chateau gradually fell into disrepair during the 19th Century.