The two photos above have become etched in my memory. You might think that the 18th c. Chinese wallpaper has something to do with it, but that's only a minor part of this story. It's those silver-plated orange tree tubs that I'm gaga for. Are they not beautiful? The tubs and the dining room housing them are located at Givenchy's château at Le Jonchet. (The photos above as well as many other images of Le Jonchet can be found in Christiane de Nicolay-Mazery's terrific book French Interiors: The Art of Elegance. You can buy a new copy on Amazon for $62.50 or a used one for $99,999.99. Take your pick.)
According to de Nicolay-Mazery's book, Givenchy was inspired to commission the silver-plated tubs after similar ones owned by M. and Mme. Arturo Lopez-Willshaw. Unfortunately, I can find no photos of the Lopez-Willshaw tubs, although I wonder if photos of them ever appeared in any old auction catalogues. I even turned my library upside down trying to find images of other silver-plated tubs, but to no avail. I did, however, find a mention of Louis XIV's own silver orange tree tubs in Nancy Mitford's The Sun King. (Mitford's book is really quite interesting, and the dust jacket is attractive too.) Of the Sun King's collection of orange trees, Mitford wrote, "The King was passionately fond of them and had them in all his rooms, in silver tubs."
Since I'm only showing a scant two photos of silver tree tubs, I'm including photos below of the Orangery at Versailles as blog post filler. If any of you know of other examples of these beautiful tubs, please let me know.
The Orangery at Chateau de Versailles
French Interiors: The Art of Elegance. Images of The Orangery at Versailles from Orangeries by Sylvia Saudan-Skira and Michel Saudan.