Posts Tagged ‘18th century’

Marie Antoinette naked miniature

Marie Antoinette naked?

Would this miniature represent the young Queen of France, only dressed in a sheer veil? This is the intriguing question begged by the superb exhibition of late 18th century miniatures at Philip Mould Gallery in London. The exhibition Miniatures from the Time of Marie Antoinette offers an exceptional opportunity to view the delicate treasures of Tansey Collection, kept […]



Marie-Antoinette souvenirs at auction

These dainty pink and green silk shoes belonged to Marie-Antoinette. They sold yesterday for 62,460 euros, almost $82,000, at auction in Paris. They are a French size 36 1/2 (6.5 in the US.) According to the auctioneer’s information, they were presented to the Queen by Alexandre-Bernard Ju-Des-Rets, gentleman of her household, at Versailles in 1775. A pink […]



Chateau of Cirey

Voltaire’s Hideouts: Cirey and Ferney, a guest post by Laurel Corona

François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire was, to use a term not well translated into English, a provocateur. To Voltaire, most people did not “dare to think,” and his contempt was in equal parts for them and for powerful individuals and institutions that took advantage of people’s disinclination to use their minds. “Ecrasez l’infame!” was his motto, […]



Lisbon earthquake 1755

The 1755 Lisbon Earthquake

The news cycle has pushed the earthquake in Japan off the headlines, but the immensity of the suffering is impossible to dismiss as we are told that the death toll of the tsunami exceeds 10,000. I keep being reminded of another major natural catastrophe: the Lisbon earthquake of 1755. It happened in the morning of […]



Louis XVI farewell to his family

21st of January 1793: death of Louis XVI on the guillotine

As usual on this blog, I will strive to recount this dramatic event through the testimony of eyewitnesses. Let us simply remember that, following the storming of the royal palace of the Tuileries on the 10th of August 1792, Louis XVI and his family (Marie-Antoinette, their two children, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte and Louis-Charles, and his sister Madame […]



Marie-Antoinette-android

Marie-Antoinette’s android: the dulcimer player

I don’t quite like the term android applied to an 18th century artifact, though it was actually coined at that time. I much prefer automaton. To me, droids are more evocative of Star Wars than the Court of Versailles or the Enlightenment, but that just me… Anyway, all my thanks to my friend and fellow […]



cadenettes

1800 hair fashions: the cadenettes

Some characters in For the King, including the would-be assassin Pierre de Saint-Régent, wear cadenettes. What were they? They consisted in two side braids worn in front of the ears, while the rest of the hair was gathered in two more braids behind the ears. Those were tied on the nape to form a queue. […]



Madame-Elisabeth-of-France-daughter-of-Louis-XV

Mesdames, daughters of Louis XV

Once in a while I find lesser known pictures of these fascinating ladies, daughters of Louis XV and Queen Marie Leszczynska. I have also updated the posts. Check out the new images, in particular the beautiful portrait of Madame Louise, in her Carmelite’s scapulaire. Madame Elisabeth, the ambitious Duchess of Parma (left, by Nattier) Madame […]



Louise-Elisabeth-Vigee-Lebrun-self-portrait

Madame Vigée-Lebrun, Regency England and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

Frequent visitors to Versailles and more have become familiar with Louise-Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, one of the most successful painters of her time and Marie-Antoinette’s favorite portraitist. Madame Lebrun left France as early as October 1789, after the royal family relocated, much against their wishes, to the Tuileries. She traveled extensively in search of new patrons, in […]



queen-victoria-wedding-dress-winterhalter

Queen Victoria’s wedding, or why modern brides wear white

When Jane Austen’s parents were married in 1764, the bride, Cassandra Leigh, wore a red riding habit to the ceremony. Cassandra was not being eccentric or making a fashion statement. Such dress was perfectly appropriate for a young woman from a genteel but not particularly wealthy family marrying a country parson