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Archive for the ‘Marie Antoinette’ Category

Marie Antoinette Wertmuller

Marie-Antoinette’s best likeness

This portrait shows Marie-Antoinette in 1788, when she was 33. It was painted by Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller, a Swede who was a member of the Royal Academy in Paris. Indeed, according to Madame Campan‘s Memoirs, this is, along with the more famous portrait of the Queen with her children by Madame Vigee-Lebrun, the best likeness […]

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Marie Antoinette PBS

“Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution” on PBS: history lite

I have not seen the PBS film, and can’t comment on it, but the site is worth a visit. It is lavishly illustrated, and I found the parts on Versailles particularly interesting. The site also includes interviews of British historians Simon Schama and Lady Antonia Fraser. No French scholars? Not even Simone Bertiere, who is, […]

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Versailles Queen s Bedchamber

Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Bedchamber at Versailles

The prior post in this series had the heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, Gabrielle de Montserrat, presented to Marie-Antoinette. Gabrielle is now part of the Court, though she has not been offered any official position there (yet.) As a presented lady, Gabrielle is admitted to the Queen’s Bedchamber. This room, like the Salon of […]

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Versailles Salon of the Nobles

The presentation to Queen Marie-Antoinette at Versailles

The heroine of Mistress of the Revolution, Gabrielle de Montserrat, has arrived in Paris as a teenage widow. The next step is her “presentation” at Court. What were the requirements to be presented at Court? You had to (1) prove that your family had been noble since at least the year 1400, and (2) find […]

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Marie Antoinette court dress Vigee Lebrun

Marie-Antoinette: the destiny of a Queen

The Marie-Antoinette exhibition at the Grand Palais was so vast and complex that I wanted to let my impressions settle a bit before consigning them to cyberspace. The part of Marie-Antoinette’s life that was least familiar to me was her childhood in Vienna. In this regard the exhibition does a very good job of evoking […]

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Marie Therese 1780 Troy

Let them eat cake?

That is one of the questions I am often asked: did Marie-Antoinette really say Let them eat cake? Actually the full sentence is French is Qu’ils mangent de la brioche! or, literally, Let them eat brioche! I guess cake was more familiar to English speakers than brioche, a form of French bread enriched with eggs […]

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Marie-Antoinette: why “The Austrian Woman?”

That was what Marie-Antoinette was called even before she set foot on French soil, a few months short of her fifteenth birthday: l’Autrichienne, “The Austrian Woman.” One must keep in mind that Austria was a hereditary enemy of France, a rival in the struggle for European and world dominance. The name was always meant as […]

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