Overall: 365.7 x 81.3cm (144 x 32in.)
Medium or Technique
Painted and gilded oak
Ann and William Elfers Gallery (Gallery 245)
White background, design in relief and gilded. From the Hotel de Montmorency, Paris.
These eight wall panels formed a part of the wall decoration for the salon in the Hotel de Montmorency in Paris, which the architect Ledoux designed in the years 1770-71 for Monsieur Bouvet de Vezelay. Ledoux, who was working in the forefront of architectural fashion, also designed the Pavillon de Louveciennes for Madame du Barry, which was one of the earliest and most influential statements of neoclassicism in France. These panels, designed at the same time, reflect the new and fashionable taste in their use of classical rather than rococo motifs. As an indication of the scale of the salon, these panels would have been mounted approximately three feet above the floor and extended to the level of the top of the windows, which were two feet below the top of the wall.
Ordered by Joseph-Florent Lenormand de Mézières, for the grand salon of the Hôtel de Montmorency, Paris [see note 1]; 1848, removed from Hôtel de Montorency [see note 2]. In the 1850s, acquired in Paris by Peter Parker and/or his son-in-law Edward Preble Deacon (d. 1851), for Deacon House, Boston, MA [see note 2]; February 1-3 1871, sold at the Deacon House sale [see note 3] and most probably bought by Harleston Parker, Andover, MA [see note 4]; 1879, sold by Harleston Parker to the MFA [see note 5]. (Accession date: October 6, 1879)
 See M. Gallet,"Hôtel de Montmorency," in "Claude-Nicolas Ledoux," 1980, p. 62.  William Howard Adams, ed., "The Eye of Thomas Jefferson," National Gallery of Art, 1976.  Deacon House, in the South End, was built by Peter Parker for his daughter Sarahann and his son-in-law Edward Preble Deacon. Although William Howard Adams states that the panels were acquired by Edward Preble Deacon at the time of the demolition of the Hotel de Montmorency, according to F.J.B. Watson, "The Wrightsman Collection, I: Furniture," 1966, p.xxvi, it was Peter Parker who made purchases in Paris both in 1840 and later in the 1850s, after his first consignment was lost at sea. According to Watson, Parker may have been assisted in his purchases by Deacon. The panels were installed in Deacon House in the 1850s.  See copy of sale catalogue, 1871, p.17, in MFA curatorial file. In a newspaper account of the 1871 Deacon House sale, a "Mr. Parker," presumably Harleston Parker, purchased a large part of the Deacon House estate. However, the buyer of the panels are not listed along with the other items sold from the "Montmorenci Salon". According to W.M. Whitehill, "Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, A Centennial History," p.35, the panels were lent to the MFA by Harleston Parker in 1876.  See extensive correspondence between the MFA and Harleston Parker negotiating the purchase of the panels. These letters indicate that Harleston Parker was the brother-in-law of Mr. Deacon. The sale of the 8 wall panels to both the MFA and the Boston Athenaeum was negotiated together. Each institution owned 1 of each pair of the panels. However, from the time of acquisition, the 4 panels owned by the Boston Athenaeum were on loan to the MFA until they were acquired by the MFA in 1976. See 1975.801-4