Ambroise Baudry
Palace at Giza

Palace at Giza, extension. Longitudinal section of the dining room and large drawing room
Ambroise Baudry (1838-1906)
Palace at Giza, extension. Longitudinal section of the dining room and large drawing room
1875
Pen and ink, watercolour and gouache
H. 50.3; W. 66.3 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d'Orsay) / Hervé Lewandowski

Palais de Ghiseh (Gizâ), agrandissement. Coupe longitudinale sur la salle à manger et le grand salon [Palace at Giza, extension. Longitudinal section of the dining room and large drawing room]


In 1871, the architect Ambroise Baudry, brother of the painter Paul Baudry, decided to move to Egypt. He spent fifteen years there, during which he received many commissions, both private and royal. His work has two particular characteristics: a loyalty to Academic painting going back to his training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, and a marked taste for oriental styles in his use of wood, ceramic and colours. His archaeological precision and his fondness for the ancient quarters of Cairo are distinctive features of his work.

In 1869, the khedive Ismail (Viceroy) wanted to extend his palace at Giza by adding on a reception pavilion or "salâmlik", and women's quarters or "harâmlik". In 1873, Ambroise Baudry, was given responsibility for the decoration of the interior of the "salâmlik", of the façade and of the marble staircase. This drawing is based on a conventional style of architecture. Maybe because these rooms were destined to embellish the Khedive's palace, and because the "fashionable style" at the time was for Western building design.
This longitudinal section presents the elevations of the drawing room and dining room. Only the upper part of the drawing room wall reveals an oriental influence, with a motif of festooned, coloured rose windows and polychromatic stucco panels. Some marquetry can also be seen in the frames of the motifs. The rest draws on the classical idiom of decoration for a drawing room in the second half of the 19th century: mouldings, high windows with heavy curtains, pilasters and cornices with triglyphs inspired by the architecture of antiquity. The palace was never finished, and fell into ruins after the financial collapse of the Viceroy.




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