"A room in which to dwell evokes being enclosed in a lacquer box": unpublished manuscript by Robert de Montesquiou

Montesquiou, Robert de, French aesthete, Symbolist poet, and collector (1855-1921). "Domus Aurea". Autograph manuscript.

N. p., [after 1906].

Large 8vo. French manuscript on paper. (4) pp.


Unpublished poetic vision of a 19th century Domus aurea, written in the beautiful calligraphy of the great aesthete, beginning: "A room in which to dwell evokes being enclosed in a lacquer box. Golden walls, some smooth, some in relief, others in golden satin. Ceilings, the red of closed eyelids against the sun. Dry rose petal curtains, recalling a line from Anacreon: old, she still retains the scent of her youth [...]" (transl.).

While the description of the "Domus Aurea" is as beautiful as it is fantastic, a final section entitled "Observations générales" offers some thoughts on interior design: "Illuminate a dark corner either with mirrors during the day or with a lamp in the evening [...]". In the description of the garden, Montesquiou quotes the first stanza of his poem "Vester Vesper": "Dans le jardin, de fleurs, fleuri sur des étoffes / Où vous réunissez de rares philosophes. / Où sera mainte étagère, adorable Babel / Du bibelot. Le Saxe avec le Chine, bel / Auditoire poli, cosmopolite, tendre / Pâte, jamais ne bouge et refuse d'entendre". This poem was published in 1906 as part of the anthology "Les Hortensias Bleus", thus indicating a terminus post quem for the manuscript. The "line from Anacreon" invoked by Montesquiou is a reference to the famous "Ode on the Rose" from the apocryphical Anacreontea.

With traces of former restauration and minimal browning.


Cf. Robert de Montesquiou, Les Hortensias Bleus (Paris, 1906), p. 122.

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