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Versailles – Bangkok, via Brest

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  • Versailles – Bangkok, via Brest

France and Thailand have different cultures but similarities can be found, for instance on the architectural level. In this painting, on the left, the Royal Palace of Bangkok is merged with the part built under Louis XIII of the castle of Versailles that is in the right hand side of the picture, forming a whole that seems to constitute a single building. Admittedly, the two palaces don’t exactly follow the same aesthetics but they have similar proportions.

Next to Paris, the Palace of Versailles was intended to be the king’s hunting pavilion. Louis XIII had the U-shaped pavilion built in brick and cut stones, which today surrounds The Cour de Marbre.

Over the years, the ancient royal palace of Bangkok, built from 1782, and for the Grand Palace represented here from 1877, has faced a lot of transformations. The walls of the throne room are decorated with important scenes of Thailand’s foreign relations. On the East wall, a painting is hung entitled « King Louis XIV receiving the Ambassadeur of King Narai of Ayutthaya in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles ».

The medallions that surround this fresco, illustrate precisely this historical episode.

The Siamese ambassadors that came by sea, arrived at the port of Brest on 18th June 1686. They impressed the Brestois so much that the people of this city changed the name of their main road to “Rue de Siam” a street where a bronze bust of Kosa Pan stands today, made by the sculptor Watchara Prayoonkham, and offered in 2020 to the city of Brest by the Thai Association of French Teachers under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

You who are looking at these medallions, bear in mind that the entrance of the consular section of the French embassy is located on Soi 36 of Charoen Krung, which was renamed to “Rue de Brest” the 15th February 2013.

Jintrakarn KOSHPASHARIN, Tle B