Friday, August 17, 2018

A miniature of Marie Antoinette by Dumont, 1792-1795

A charming miniature of Marie Antoinette by François Dumont, after a portrait by Alexandre Kucharski. Circa 1792-1795.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The "Manchester" chemise à la reine

The chemise à la reine, popularized by Marie Antoinette, is one of the most iconic styles to emerge from the 1780s. There are not many surviving extant chemise gowns today, likely due to a combination of the relative frailty of the material and the fact that  many of them would have been reworked and repurposed by their owners as styles changed over the years. Thankfully, there is a remarkably intact chemise à la reine in the Costume Collection of the Manchester Art Gallery.

Until recently, the only photo of this beautiful gown was small and low-definition. The Manchester Art Gallery has uploaded a much clearer photograph of the gown, which can now be seen in all its simple splendor. One can easily imagine Marie Antoinette wearing this gown, finished with a blue sash, while wandering around her beloved hamlet.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Music Monday: II. Air [Colette]: J'ai perdu tout mon bonheur (1752)

Welcome to the first Music Monday! A weekly series highlighting music related to Marie Antoinette, from contemporary pieces she once sang on stage to modern songs inspired by the famous queen.

First up:

II. Air [Colette]: J'ai perdu tout mon bonheur from Le devin du village by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. 

Le devin du village, or The Village Soothsayer, is a one-act opera by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The opera follows a young couple named Colin and Colette who visit a local soothsayer after suspecting one another of being unfaithful. In the end, the two are reconciled to each other's love and get married.

Le devin du village was first performed in 1752 for the royal court, where it was an immediate hit. It quickly became one of the most popular operas during its lifetime and was frequently performed in France, both on and off royal stages. It was even chosen as one of the performances held during the 1770 festivities in honor of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette's marriage. In September of 1780, ten years after her wedding, Marie Antoinette chose to perform the opera on stage with her private theater troupe. Antoinette played the leading role of Collette, featured here in the opening piece, "J'ai perdu tout mon bonheur," or "I have lost all my happiness."

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

'The family of pigs brought back to the barn,' June 1791.

Following the failed flight to Montmédy, the popularity of the royal family--which was already fairly delicate--plummeted to extreme lows. While Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette bore the brunt of the satirical and extremely negative cartoons that flooded Paris in the days and weeks to come, the rest of the royal family was not spared ridicule, even the children. This particular illustration, titled "The family of pigs brought back to the barn," depicts the royal family as pigs being led back to Paris in a hay-filled cart.

[image: Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie]

[image: Bibliothèque nationale de France, département Estampes et photographie]

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Camille Clifford in 18th-Century Inspired Style

Camille Clifford (1885-1971) is best known for her work as a model for "Gibson Girl" illustrations, though she did plenty of stage work during her career as well. It's highly likely that her stage work was the source for these delightful cards featuring Clifford in an 18th-century inspired costume. Wikimedia dates another image in this series to 1907 and describes it as Clifford dressed as Madame de Pompadour; in 1906, Clifford was part of the musical The Belle of Mayfair, which included a harlequinade sequence that Footlight Notes describes as featuring Camille Clifford as "La Pompadour."

[source: unknown]

 [source: unknown] 

[source: cardsandclowns]

Monday, June 18, 2018

Madame Alexander Takes "Pompadour" Through the Seasons

The Alexander Doll Company, better known under the moniker Madame Alexander, is a doll company that has produced more than 6,500 distinct dolls (with millions sold) since 1923. History is a reoccurring theme with Madame Alexander dolls, and one of their most notable forays into history was their "Madame Pompadour" series.

The original 2001 - 2003 series dolls are some of the most sought after Madame Alexander releases due to their high level of details and the quality of the original dresses; the original "Winter" doll has been known to fetch over $1,000 when it does on occasion show up on auction sites. The company did produce "Shadow" versions, or re-releases with some minor changes, a few years later. The "Shadow" versions have higher LEs and are easier to purchase for slightly lower prices.

With that out of the way, let's take a seasonal trip with the Pompadour!

Madame Pompadour: "Spring"

Madame Pompadour: "Summer"

Madame Pompadour: "Fall"

Madame Pompadour: "Winter"

Saturday, June 16, 2018

A portrait of a woman with a knotting shuttle by John Singleton Copley

I was browsing through Bonhams auctions recently and I came across a lovely portrait by John Singleton Copley, which depicts a woman working at a knotting shuttle with a lovely pink and white bag for her finished strands. I love portraits with knotting shuttles and other needlework, so I couldn't resist sharing. (And if you're in the mood for more knotting shuttle portraits, check out this post!)

[source: Bonhams]