Masked ladies (gentlemen too…)

Cognacq-Jay snuff box mask

Cognacq-Jay snuff box masked lady

Susan Holloway Scott has a great post on masks in the 17th century. They protected ladies’ complexions from the attacks of the sun and cold, but they were also most convenient for discreet assignations…

In 18th century France, their use became limited to the balls and celebrations that marked the revelry of Carnival. This is an 18th century snuff box from the collections of the Musée Cognacq-Jay in Paris.

And, speaking of Susan, I have a treat in store for you: an interview about her last novel, The French Mistress. Stay tuned!

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9 Comments to “Masked ladies (gentlemen too…)”

  1. Liza Perrat says:

    Yes she is, Catherine, accused of a heinous crime… we don’t find out if she’s guilty or innocent until the end! But she does meet up, and become friends with, a famous prisoner whilst in the asylum – Jeanne de Valois! How thrilling (and horrifying) it was, to delve into the horrors of that place!

  2. Catherine Delors says:

    La Salpetriere! What a great idea for a setting. Then women’s prisons always make for compelling stories. Is your heroine jailed there?

  3. Liza Perrat says:

    I love their use of masks! I have just written a chapter in my (as yet unfinished) 18th century novel about a masked ball at the Salpêtrière Asylum … Le Bal des Folles. It was the most thrilling chapter to write!

  4. felio vasa says:

    Yes, I went to Cognacq-Jay once and was so impressed by all their snuff boxes.

  5. Catherine Delors says:

    Penny – I am delighted you find this blog a safe online environment. I keep a close eye on malicious comments here…

    Felio – I feel the same way about this delightful snuffbox. Do you know the Cognacq-Jay?

    Richard – You are quite right. Another great Holmes story, and one in which he is bested by a woman! True, men who run around in masks can hardly be trusted.About the appearance of Grand Duke Wilhelm, maybe it was otherwise exotic enough to make the mask not that surprising…

  6. Richard says:

    In the Holmes mystery “A scandal in Bohemia” Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein, wore a mask to attempt to conceal his identity from Holmes. It did not work. However, I did notice that neither Holmes, nor Dr Watson seemed to feel suprised.

    Good post by the way!

    Cordialment, Richard

  7. felio vasa says:

    BTW, Susan Holloway Scott’s article was really informative/good too.

  8. felio vasa says:

    I love that mask snuff box.

  9. Penny Klein says:

    Interesting. In an historical novel about Venice in the 18th century they also wore masks for assignations.
    I look forward to the sequel post.
    and I prefer this blog to facebook. I am being stalked.

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