Monday, December 9, 2019

Music Monday: 6 Hours of French Harpsichord Music

Music Monday: a day for contemporary music, soundtracks and other tunes related to Marie Antoinette.


Harpsichord music was once the staple of the French court, where it was especially popular in private salons and music performances held by courtiers of every rank. This truly extensive collection of French harpsichord music spans 6 hours--yes, 6 hours!--and will have you feeling as if you're a courtier lounging in your private chambers at Versailles.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Upcoming Fiction and Non-Fiction Books to Look For in 2020

Due to some personal events I've fallen behind on my book reviews for this year, but as I work on catching up to review the books still waiting on my shelf, I've started a collection of some notable fiction and non-fiction books that I think readers of this blog will enjoy in the coming year. This is by no means a comprehensive list, as I mostly working on what is showing up for me on Amazon, and I will update periodically when new books are added.

If you have any books you think would work well on this list, please feel free to comment or send them to my email.

Fiction Books

In the Shadow of the Sun by EM Castellan [February 2020]

A YA historical fantasy book set in the 17th century; in 17th century France, Louis XIV enlists the help of the magic-wielding Henriette of England to help defeat a dark force threatening the king's authority and his desire to build a new palace as the seat of France's power: Versailles.

The Rose of Versailles by Ryoko Ikeda (Volumes 1-3) [Various dates, 2020]

The much-anticipated English translation of Ryoko Ikeda's 'The Rose of Versailles' is set for publication in 2020. The series will be released as 3 omnibus volumes. Volume 1 is due for publication in January 2020, Volume 2 in February 2020 and Volume 3 will be released in May 2020.


Non-Fiction

Death and the crown: Ritual and politics in France before the Revolution by Anne Byrne [March 2020]

A study of several significant ceremonial royal events in pre-revolutionary France, including the deathbed and funeral of Louis XV, the lit de justice held in November 1774, and the coronation of Louis XVI in 1775.

The Creation of the French Royal Mistress: From Agnès Sorel to Madame Du Barry by Tracy Adams and Christine Adams [May 2020]

A look at the historical development of the French mistress, a unique position which took on an entirely different political and social role than other European royal mistresses.

The Last Libertines by Benedetta Craveri [April 2020]

A book detailing the lives of a group of the "last libertines," as Craveri deems the group of aristocrats who embodied a unique way of life that walked the line between enjoying a life based on privilege while embracing Enlightenment ideals of social change and justice.

The Candle and the Guillotine: Revolution and Justice in Lyon, 1789–93 by Julie Patricia Johnson [May 2020]

A study of the revolutionary and political events that shaped the history, and ultimately the civil war, of Lyon during the revolution's formative years.

Versailles: My father's Castle by  Maïte Labat, Jean-Baptiste Veber and Alexis Vitrebert (Illustrator) [June 2020]

An illustrated historical biography based on the life of Henri de Nolhac, the son of the famous Pierre de Nolhac, who was one of the most important figures in the restoration of Versailles during the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

Life in Revolutionary France edited by Mette Harder and Jennifer Ngaire Heuer [September 2020]

A collection of essays from international academics and scholars on many different facets--social, political, environmental and more--of life in revolutionary France.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Film Friday: A set photo from Marie Antoinette (1938)

Film Friday: a day for sharing movie stills, production art, film analysis and anything film related!

 [credit: IMDB]

A production-made set photo taken on the set of MGM's Marie Antoinette (1938). This photo depicts the set used in one of the last shots of the film, where Axel Fersen can be seen overlooking the city skyline.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Film Friday: A set photo from Marie Antoinette (1938)

Introducing Film Friday: a day for sharing movie stills, production art, film analysis and anything film related!

 [credit: IMDB]

A production-made set photo taken on the set of MGM's Marie Antoinette (1938). Much of the furniture used in the film was antique and had to be stored in a heavily guarded warehouse due to the value of the items. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

What They Said Saturday: "The great ladies of the Restoration evolved a romantic heroine out of the 'Orphan of the Temple'..."

'What They Said' Saturday: a day for quotations of all kinds, including excerpts from letters written by Marie Antoinette and her contemporaries, memoirs, non-fiction, novels and everything in between.


"The great ladies of the Restoration evolved a romantic heroine out of the “Orphan of the Temple,” but when they discovered that in spite of her natural dignity she lacked grace of manner, they made few excuses for a Princess who at the most crucial time of life, when other children of her rank were receiving careful instruction to fit them for the duties awaiting them, was left to the anguish and terror of complete solitude." 
--Mary Frances Sandars, Louis XVIII, 1910

Friday, October 11, 2019

Film Friday: Michèle Morgan in Marie Antoinette (1956)

Film Friday: a day for sharing movie stills, production art, film analysis and anything film related!

[credit: ebay/darmor0]

The above still depicts Michèle Morgan in Marie Antoinette (1956) stepping off the cart which took her to the guillotine in preparation for mounting the scaffold. In the final film, we only see this moment from the perspective of the man hidden under the scaffold, slightly obscured by the staircase, so it is interesting to see it from an open perspective. The jacket around her shoulders is notable: is it meant to be part of the scene, perhaps a jacket offered by someone to keep her warm? Or are they simply preparing the blocking for the scene and Morgan herself opted to wear something to keep her warm in the meantime? The description on the back of the photo doesn't indicate either way.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

October Offerings: "Life and Death" by an unknown artist

Happy October!  Every week this month I will be posting at least one spooktacular offering appropriate for this delightfully scary season.


[credit: Life and Death by an unknown artist, 18th century. Wellcome Collection, London. CC BY 4.0, no changes.]

Confronting mortality is never easy; it's often easier to ignore the reality of our limited time on Earth in favor of focusing on work, relationships, leisure--and anything else that keeps our minds far away from a subject that is less than pleasant for most people to consider. Yet despite the unpleasantness of confronting the eventuality of death--or perhaps because of that unpleasantness--artists have long created pieces meant to remind anyone who sees them that Death is something that cannot be ignored.

This piece by an unknown artist was created sometime during the 18th century and reflects many similar pieces created around this time period, such as the popular "Life and Death Contrasted" pieces published by engraver Valentine Green.

The above work, like the similar engraved pieces, compares and contrasts life and death in a unique side-by-side depiction that shows the fragility of life contrasted against the starkness of death--whether that life is the beautiful blossom of flowers carefully corralled into a garden or the woman herself.