Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia

Riches from the Palace of Versailles including a harp belonging to Marie Antoinette will travel to Australia, the country's national gallery said Monday, as part of a display never seen outside France.

Treasures of Versailles to go on display in Australia
Photo: AFP
More than 130 paintings, tapestries, pieces of furniture, statues and other objects from Versailles, one of France's grand museums, will be on display in the Australian capital Canberra from December.
“The Palace of Versailles has never before lent a collection like this, drawn from all over the palace, to an exhibition outside France,” National Gallery of Australia director Gerard Vaughan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Items making the long journey include a marble bust of Louis XIV, a formal portrait of Marie Antoinette, and the 1.5 tonne-statue of Latona and Her Children from one of the main fountains of Versailles outside Paris.
“Versailles: Treasures from the Palace” will also showcase personal items, including Marie Antoinette's hand-crafted chair and harp.
President of the Palace of Versailles, Catherine Pegard said it was the first time the items from the museum had travelled so far from France.
Speaking from Canberra, she told AFP it was important to show that the landmark museum was not closed in on itself but “open to the world”.
The exhibition, which will run from 9 December 2016 to 17 April 2017, had been under discussion for several years, she said.
“We thought that Canberra was a wonderful place because it is so different from Versailles but, at the same time, the power is located in Canberra as it was in Versailles,” she added.

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Versailles Palace to finally receive delivery… 400 years after losing its marble

A misplaced block of red marble ordered by France's former royal residence in the 17th century has been found in a quarry on the other side of the country, more than 400 years later. And it's finally on it's way to the customer.

Versailles Palace to finally receive delivery... 400 years after losing its marble
Photos: AFP

The next time you order something online and it gets lost in the post, spare a though for the royal architect who in 17th century France ordered a block of red marble, only to never receive it during his lifetime.

A few weeks ago in the southern department of Aude, a full 782 kilometres from the Palace of Versailles, a team of diggers working at a quarry finally stumbled upon the mislaid delivery.

After a thorough cleanup, initial expert investigations were able to conclude that this was indeed the lost regal block.

“The marble was commissioned for a set of 12 columns that were to be part of a chapel,” Kharid Massoud, president of the marble-promoting association Marbres en Minervois, told Le Parisien.

“The project was eventually abandoned.”

Photo: Joe de Sousa/Flickr

Despite that fact, and a delay that clearly deserves a place in the record books, the delivery to the majestic royal palace will resume as soon as possible.

However, the logistics team behind the move have decided that transportation of the marble block should adhere to the standards and practices of the 1600s.

That means taking it by horse and chariot to the famous Canal du Midi, then by raft along the canal through the cities and towns of Carcassonne, Castelnaudary, Toulouse and Bordeaux.

From there it will be transported up to Rouen in Normandy and finally down the Seine river to Paris and then Versailles.

Fortunately, there shouldn’t be anyone at the palace eagerly waiting to get their hands on the block of marble, as the estimated time of arrival in Versailles is four to five years.

Better late than never, we suppose.