Posts Tagged ‘19th century’

Martine Carol as Lola Montes

Lola Montes, by Max Ophüls (restored 1955 version)

I saw this film the other night on French television. Oh, I had watched it before, but now I was discovering the recently (2008) restored version, which conforms closely to the vision of director Max Ophüls. This film has a tortured history. It was an complete commercial flop upon its release, and was then mangled, […]



Swimmers-1810-Paris

Swimsuits in 1810 Paris…

Parisians used to love to bathe in the Seine. Horrendous pollution notwithstanding, in the 18th century every summer saw people swimming in the river, generally in the nude. Only at the onset of the French Revolution was skinny-dipping outlawed, for men and women. Hence these early 19th century bathing suits, shown in a print posted […]



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



lilac

Marie-Antoinette and lilac

One of the joys of the month of May is the sight and fragrance of lilac blossoms. Lilacs adorned the gardens of Versailles and Trianon. They had been great favorites with Louis XIV, and Marie-Antoinette enjoyed them no less in her private domain of Trianon. She liked them so much that, when it came to […]



Wench Dolen Perkins Valdez

An interview of Dolen Perkins-Valdez, author of Wench

A few years before the Civil War, in the “free” state of Ohio,Tawawa House offers respite from the summer heat. A beautiful, inviting house surrounded by a dozen private cottages, the resort is favored by wealthy Southern White men who vacation there, accompanied by their enslaved mistresses. Regular visitors Lizzie, Reenie, andSweet have forged an […]



maharajas

Maharaja, the splendor of India’s royal courts

I won’t have time to do justice to this remarkable exhibition at the V&A, but wanted to mention it before it closes a few days hence. The visual splendor of the objects, paintings, jewels and textiles presented matches the historical interest of the show. It follows the course of India, from the decline of the […]



Boudin Beach

Corot to Monet, at the National Gallery

I saw this exhibition yesterday. It is a superb retrospective of 19th century French landscape. Don’t expect much in terms of Impressionism, but what a delight to browse rooms full of the works of Corot, Diaz de la Peña, Boudin, the “master of the sky” (below, Beach at Trouville) and many lesser known artists. Hurry, […]



Children of the Revolution: the French, 1799-1914, by Robert Gildea

I hasten to say that I haven’t read this book yet. But I received one of those unsolicited Amazon emails informing me of its publication (crafty Amazon seems to have figured out that I have an interest in the French Revolution!) I also came across this review on the Christian Science Monitor book blog, which […]



The new Royal Gates at Versailles: replicas or frauds?

The new Royal Gates of Versailles have just been inaugurated in the midst of much media fanfare. The Daily Telegraph, quoting Frédéric Didier, Chief Architect of of France’s Historical Monuments, assures us that the new gates are exact copies of the originals built in the 1680s, under the reign of Louis XIV. “It was very […]