A monumental bedroom
The furnishings are empire-style, and come from the Palace of Portici, a favorite residence of Joachim Murat and Caroline Bonaparte, disused in the twentieth century, whose furnishings was divided between the royal palaces of Caserta and Naples.
It consists of many mahogany furniture with golden bronze friezes (including a commode with a top made up of a pompeian mosaic), and various chairs whose backs are decorated with two crossed lances, and the seats are covered in silk embroidered in the center with a garland with the letter “J” or “G” of Joachim (Gioacchino) Murat.
The mahogany bed, for example, was designed by the architect Leconte. It has a rich golden bronze decoration depicting shields, while four spades support the crowned canopy, with an ivory satin and blue fringed curtain.
The monumental bed was transferred along with two chest of drawers and two nightstands in the Caserta Palace around the middle of the nineteenth century, but although its extraordinariness, it was not the only one in the Bourbon’s palaces: Caserta has two other beds that, although not cited in the inventories of the Murat period, they were made during these years, or shortly after the return of Ferdinand I, considering that the style is the same.
The furnishing (Ferdinand I of Bourbon surely liked it because he was portrayed close to it, as seen in a painting today exposed in the Certosa of San Martino in Naples) took again the elaborate style from the coeval Parisian models.
If you look at neapolitan furniture from the last quarter of the XVIII century, you will notice how they have mostly surfaces with few decorative bronzes: handles, sleeves on the legs etc are simple and often undecorated. So the furnitures distinctly in empire style and, so, covered with golden bronzes, belong mostly to the period of Murat’s kingdom.
The desk was probably made for Gioacchino Murat between 1808 and 1817 (before there is no record into the real inventory). The golden bronzes that adorn this desk come from Paris, and are identical to those placed on a bureau mécanique made in 1808 by Jacob-Desmalter for the Emperor’s library in Compiègne. Since there is no evidence of the French origin of the desk and its commodes and sideboard, it is assumed that these furnishings were built in Naples on a French design.
The influences of the French Empire style, are also found in these Neapolitan furniture that had been designed to furnish the rooms for the daily life of the sovereigns and their court.