Archive for the ‘Marie Antoinette’ Category

Queen s Necklace Mossiker

The Queen’s Necklace, by Frances Mossiker

Before reading this book, I thought I had a fairly good knowledge of the infamous Affair of the Necklace. Here goes the story: the Cardinal Louis de Rohan, Grand Almoner of France, Prince of the House of Rohan, was one of the most prominent courtiers in Versailles. As Grand Almoner, he was in charge of […]

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Marie Antoinette Kucharski

Marie-Antoinette and Fersen

Elena at Tea at Trianon has a post on the nature of the relationship between the Queen and Hans Axel von Fersen. Were they lovers? There has been endless speculation on that point, but I agree with Elena that there is simply no evidence of it. It would have been out of character for Marie-Antoinette, […]

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Eugenie Holding Louis Napoleon Winterhalter

Marie-Antoinette and Eugénie: the Queen and the Empress

Empress Eugénie felt a deep connection between her own destiny and that of Marie-Antoinette. Eugénie’ father was a Spanish grandee. Her maternal ancestry was less aristocratic: her maternal grandfather was a Scottish wine merchant who had settled in Malaga, in Southern Spain. Her mother, the Countess de Montijo, traveled to France and England after her […]

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Versailles Petit Trianon Belvedere

Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles

I recommend Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles by Christain Duvernois, with photographs by François Halard. I own, thanks to a gift certificate that was burning a hole in my pocket, a copy of the French version, more soberly titled Trianon: le domaine privé de Marie-Antoinette (“Trianon, the private domain of Marie-Antoinette.) I guess […]

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Marie Antoinette Drouais

Marie-Antoinette in purple

This portrait of Marie-Antoinette by François-Hubert Drouais painted in 1773, when she was eighteen and still the Dauphine. This is to my knowledge the only of her many portraits where she is represented in a purple dress, with matching neck and hair ribbons. The black lace streamer in the background leads me to surmise that […]

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Marie Antoinette Dress fragment

Marie-Antoinette’s memorabilia: the auction results

The bidding was brisk, with much international interest, and the prices went far higher than estimated by Christie. The silk purse embroidered by Marie-Antoinette at the Temple sold for more than $133,000! This dress fragment, puce-colored, fetched $76,000. Indeed it is Louis XVI, with his wry sense of humor, who coined the term puce (which […]

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purse embroidered by Marie Antoinette

At auction: a purse embroidered by Marie-Antoinette

At Christie’s in Paris tomorrow, with hundreds of other royal memorabilia from the estate of the late Comte and Comtesse de Paris. The Comte de Paris, who died in 1999 at the age of 91, was the Orléanist pretender to the throne of France. He was directly descended from King Louis-Philippe, who reigned in the […]

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Madame Sophie Perin Salbreux

“La Petite Reine” is not Marie-Antoinette

Don’t feel bad if you believed otherwise: I did too, along with many curators and art historians. Of course I thought the face was rounder than in most of Marie-Antoinette’s portraits, the nose pointy instead of aquiline. The expression was not quite right either, lacking in boldness and character. But the Queen herself complained that […]

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Versailles Petit Trianon Facade

Petit Trianon: after the restoration

Le Petit Trianon, like much of Versailles, has undergone a major  and much needed restoration over the past decades, and now the final part of the project, the servants’ quarters, is opening to the public.

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Nissim de Camondo Salon des Huets

Marie-Antoinette and the death of rococo

Marie Antoinette is sometimes credited for refining the rococo style that marked the “reign” of Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV’s most brilliant and influential mistress. The Louis XV style, a French variant of the rococo, can be illustrated by this photograph from the Musée Nissim de Camondo in Paris. The reign of Louis XVI and […]

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