The mineralogical cabinet
Designed by Haupt, the cabinetmaker, it was King Gustav III of Sweden's gift to Prince Louis-Joseph of Condé in 1774 as a token of his gratitude for the few days he had spent at Chantilly. The Prince used it to hold the collection of minerals from his natural history cabinet, confiscated during the Revolution and now kept in the Museum of Natural History in Paris.
L'hallali du renard and L'hallali du loup, Jean-Baptiste Oudry, 1725 (on each side of the entrance door)
Oudry was the great wildlife artist during the early part of Louis XV's reign. In 1725, he painted three hunt paintings for the Guard room of the Chateau of Chantilly, featuring a wolf, a fox and a deer attacked by a pack of hounds; all fourteen paintings of the room were hunting paintings among which pieces by Desportes or Snyders. Chantilly's paintings were seized during the Revolution, and two of them were returned to the Prince of Condé in 1816 during the Bourbon Restoration (the third one, the Deer Hunt, was sent to the Museum of Fine Arts in Rouen where it can still be seen today). Oudry was part of Chantilly's close entourage and spent his time studying nature. He died in Beauvais in 1855.
The Portrait of the Duke of Enghien (1772-1804), by female artist Nanine Vallain, represents the last descendant of the Condé family. He was shot in 1804 at the order of Bonaparte in Vincennes' moat; he's wearing Chantilly's hunting costume, belly-doe and amaranth.
The Guard room
Portrait of the Count of Berghe, by Van Dyck
Henri of Berghe, a Flemish general devoted to Spain, was born in Antwerp in 1573. As General of artillery and Knight of the Golden Fleece, he brilliantly took part in the wars against Holland, and most notably in Gelderland (1624). Driven back outside of Bois-The-Duke in 1629 and dissatisfied with the Spanish government, he withdrew to Liege. Although his family was a traditional ally of the Prince of Orange, he faithfully fought for Spain. The governing Archduchess of The Netherlands invited him back to Brussels, but he refused, and took shelter with Frédéric-Henri of Nassau, whom he served as counselor, before moving to England. Accused of desertion, he was declared a traitor to his country and was condemned to the guillotine. He died in London in 1641. Another signed version of this painting is now in Madrid, at the Prado museum. Van Dyck painted this great soldier in the heat of action, bareheaded, initiating a movement; he is wearing a breast-plate, arm-pieces and steel thigh boots over a brown suede tunic, marked with the letter H. Van Dyck was an excellent portraitist who knew how to depict with realism the energy and the strength of his model.
Portrait of the Grand Condé (1621-1686) by David Teniers, 1653
Louis of Bourbon, Prince of Condé, inherited Chantilly from his mother, Charlotte-Marguerite of Montmorency. He was a great war leader and distinguished himself in 1643 during the battle of Rocroi when he saved France from the Spanish invasion. During the Fronde, after defendind the throne of his cousin, King Louis XIV, he opposed the royal authority, and joined the Spanish cause. He then lived in exile in the Spanish Netherlands, where he acquired a collection of Flemish paintings, among which the Portrait of the Count of Berghe by Van Dyck. During his stay, David Teniers painted his portrait. He returned to France in 1659 after the Pyrenees Peace which reinstated his property, and lived peacefully in Chantilly where he devoted a lot of his time to the improvement of the gardens for which he trusted André Le Nôtre.