12.08Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: 12.08

January 12, 2009

Who needs a Fountain of Youth?

It is important to take care of your skin, a beauty trick Marie Antoinette paid attention to! When she first entered the lines of France everyone noticed, remarked - raved about her complexion. She was young, vibrant and full of excitement only a 14 year old queen to be could feel.

What did they say? The whiteness, almost translucent quality of her skin was equivalent only to the delicate petals of lilies. This was the base of her complexion, and it was highlighted by the red and pink hues which could only be produced by roses. Pretty? Sure! Poetic? Very!
What more could you want of an Austrian Queen of France? For beauty she had it all! Skin made of Austrian roses and French lilies of course!

Now don't think that Antoinette went around eating chocolate and ruining her complexion to a life of petty leisure. Au contraire! She did like her skin, and she was raised to lead a life of cleanliness. Let's face it. She intended to keep 20-year-old skin for as long as she could.

Antoinette used eau cosmétique de pigeon (that sounds lovely right?) and eau de charmes to clean her skin, the later was special because it contained moisturizers.

For her hands she had a Pâte Royale cream, keeping them super soft to the touch. I am sure you use the same!

Another item on her bathroom sink* was eau d'ange. This water of angels was used to "purify and whiten" her complexion. Did it work? It probably did not hurt, and was not meant to dry out her skin. A little moisture can go a long way!

Other ladies of the court were known to purchase eau de Ninon de Lenclos, but not Antoinette! She really had no need for an item that was intended to, "conserve youth."

*found the bath-bombs and carved slices of soap in the images @ Lush

January 08, 2009

Tea with Mr. Darcy

The portrait from the BBC series Pride and Prejudice will be up for auction this month! It features Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and would look darling in any ladies living room. Or bedroom. It is expected to sell for £7,000. Do you think it will bring in more money than that?? Lets consider that over 10 million people watched the original premier of the mini series!
" The painting, which will be sold in aid of charity, will go under the hammer on January 21 in Bonhams Gentlemans Library Sale."

The Queen Just Stepped Out to Recieve the Duchess of Devonshire

If you go to Petit Trianon you can wander through the interior, noticing the lovely details of walls, furniture, colors, flooring and the view. You may also stumble into private quarters, where small exclusive gatherings took place; nights of music, comedy and gossip. Another thing to notice are the small items that were owned by Marie Antoinette, on display, as Paris Atelier puts it,
"The museum wanted one to feel as though the Queen had just stepped out for a moment and you looking into a day in her life."
Well, Paris Atelier also posted this photo and I couldn't help notice this small compact. If you want your own like this, then you are in luck that I am such a fan of pretty make up. Mac has offered a holiday series and the 2007 series, Royal Assets, features a compact oh so like this one!

Unfortunately Royal Assets was a limited edition, and now can only be found on ebay for a steep rate. Worth it? The case comes in antiqued silver or gold with the special mac crown enblem. The palettes come with 2 shades of color, and 1 shade of gloss (I mean a shade of lipglass) - which smells like chocolate. Color names include Courting Rose, Reigning Pink, Lady Ship, Pure Pomp, Sceptre, Privee, Cardinal and Media. So if you have to have it, you can get it!

Still want the sweet 3 lip compact? Mac is selling sets from their 2008 line, Viva Glam on their website. The case is not as 18th century as the Royal Assets case but it is just as pretty with a large gem in the center, mirror, application brush and yes, the lip gloss smells of chocolate!

January 07, 2009

Footwear for the Modern Duchess

Its a new year and I was just looking for ways in which I could infuse my closet with some Antoinette-esque key items. I was considering color, shapes and ornaments - and then I thought, what modern interpretations would the fabulous tarts and femmes like?

What do you think? Would Marie dare adorn her feet in any of these creations? Do some scream "oh she is a Du Barry" or "innovative duchess" or "breathtaking countess" Should I add some to my collection? What would you choose?

1Nine West Women's Erland Sandal
2Bandolino Women's Dacoda Pump
3Nina Women's Paladin Pump
4Nine West Women's Gidsa Pump
5Hale Bob Women's Rosy Pump
6J. Renee Women's Elvira Slide
7Irregular Choice Women's Countess Pump
8Matisse Brandy Low Heel Pump
9Irregular Choice Women's Cluedo Pump

January 06, 2009

Meet Me In The Grotto

We all know and love the pretty Grotto at Hef's Playboy Mansion. You can swim, drink and be merry in a dark (yet well illuminated) 'cave' like area. Wonderful, no?

An earlier Grotto could be found on the grounds of Marie Antoinette's beloved Petit Trianon. The design of the Grotto was exquisite and during the 18th century nothing could be more 'in.' The English Garden style demanded a look of natural forms, nothing premeditated, so it was pure genius to place large rock forms here and there and have some 'natural' areas where water could run. It was all an illusion of the ideal Arcadian landscape, the result rather stunning. As visitors wandered through this landscape they would come across the grotto; where nature was overgrown, a curious entrance almost suffocated by vine and branches welcomed them accompanied by the calming sound of flowing water.

Inside the Grotto was cool, an ideal escape from the summer sun. Were there always boys hanging around this cavern of delight? Maybe.... It was private, and big enough to have a side entrance, allowing airflow and light to creep in. Enough light to enhance the secret waterfall within and the mossy walls. Antoinette was at this tranquil escape when warning of the mob reached her in 1789. How bittersweet!

January 04, 2009

Versailles, Biography of a Palace

Today I finished the book, Versailles: A Biography of a Palace. It is rather saucy, with interesting details and accounts from those who inhabited the glamorous palace. From the time of the Sun King to Louis XVI, this 'biography' recalls interesting bits of history that took place under the guilt roofs of the Palace. The sheer gossip and juicy stories keep the pages turning.

You will learn that Princesse Lamballe was not so 'featherbrained' as history might recall. There is a discussion on the parties the Duchesse de Polignac threw, and who would use her for gain. In society and in this case, in Versailles, a lover could not show any affection to his mistress - in public that is!

When the doors are closed anything goes. When the doors are open, you dare to touch the back of the chair she sits in! There are even bits about which rooms certain people did you-know-what in! If you are one who wishes walls could talk, this book might be the closest thing you will come by.

Here is an excerpt:

At Versailles chamber pots were common as well, if not universal, and in the eighteenth century, despite attempts to stop the practice, servants on the upper stories frequently emptied them into the interior courts below. The dauphine Marie-Antoinette was once hit as she crossed the kings inner courtyards beneath the numerous windows of the king's mistress, Madame du Barry.

Spawforth, Antony. 2008. Versailles: a biography of a palace. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312357856

Nothing to do? Watch Tess Tonight

Part I is playing at 9pm on PBS tonight. If you can't watch it tonight have no fear!
You can watch the full Part I online here!
The online episode will only be up for a limited time.
Let me know what you think!

January 03, 2009

Recommended Follow Up: Lavoisier

I have received lots of interest in Marie Anne. I have yet to come across a good biography on her, but I can recommend you pick up these interesting books for your private bookshelf!

Women in Chemistry and Physics: A Biobibliographic Sourcebook

This book not only has great lives of great women within its covers, but also contains a nice profile on Marie Anne Pierrette, our red headed wife of Lavoisier.

The Last Sorcerers

I suggest this book because it is a fun read, I am saying this from a non-scientist point of view! It is written by way of story telling, and has a nice section dedicated to Lavoisier and Marie Anne!

For a thorough biography on Lavoisier my choice is Antoine Lavoisier (Cambridge Science Biographies)

January 02, 2009

Femme of the Week: Marie Anne Pierrette

"Madame appears to be an agreeable woman. She is tolerably handsome, but from her manner it would seem that she thinks her forte is the understanding rather than her person."
Marie Anne Pierrette was born in 1768, the only daughter of the well known Jacques Paulze de Chastenolles. Her father hosted a popular salon where the bright minds of the day gathered. This included scientists and economists who never failed to stop by. As you can imagine, Marie Anne became ac costumed to the language, humor and ideas her abridged family spoke of. Second nature even!

A sponge of a child, she became very clever early on, and like her father had a desire to learn. She was accomplished for her age, who played the pianoforte, a favorite of hers was Bach. Personality wise she was fiery and sharp. Her mother died when she was very young and she had the responsibility over her head to mature fast, and become the lady of the house. She assumed responsibilities and acted in a level headed and logical manner. By the age of 13 she behaved with the maturity of a 18 year old, helpful and caring, yet easy to have conversation with.

One man who attended her father's salon was the smart, young and sexy chemist, Antoine Lavoisier. He was thrilled to be in such agreeable company as the philosophers and artists who attended Paulze's salon, he felt it an honor, although he found the colonial dress of a Mr. Benjamin Franklin a bit casual. He loved the ideas and wit that filled the evenings. To Marie Anne it was all old hat! She would sometimes have conversations with him, in which she never quite ended it, like a girl over extending her moment... she would always slip a final line in. It caught his attention, "He would glance up, innocently enough, from a conversation and find the blue eyes just turning away." And so it began! She was infatuated with the man, and he found her blue eyes, fine skin rather desirable. However, a marriage was already thought up for her! A mariage de convenance!

The Comte d'Amerval was the intended suitor, an idea acknowledged by her father, Madame Du Barry and Louis XV! The spitfire girl, had already made up her mind not to take that route - and in her fortunate case her father took her side, respected his girl's happiness and wishes.

She was married in 1771, at the age of 14. He was 28 at the time. O.k. so she was 14 at the time. You must be thinking, just a child!! But this was not fault, in this case. She was young enough to be a clean slate, to teach all about his interest and research, of which she was completely interested in. What he did she enjoyed, and she willingly learned all he had to say. In bed she brought all the charms of a woman, but when it came to work, research and for that matter business, she was both headstrong and determined. She was a fiery and ambitious beauty with red hair. No scientist could ask for more from a wife.

She noticed he was weak in English and she perfected hers so that she could translate books for him that listed all the modern experiments occurring in England. She studied under Jacques Louis David to develop her drawing skills. With these new skills she began drawing out her husbands experiments for a visual record. People talked of their domestic bliss, but there were uttering's of her not acting a proper lady, and being too male. Her husband had always hoped that with their children she would settle a little into a more domestic driven position, but they never had any children.

In 1794 she lost her father and her husband to the guillotine, and her life took a turn for unavoidable lonesomeness. She escaped prison and had many of her possessions returned to her. Her social circle thrived, and she was often with the rich and most popular groups...leading to her marriage in 1804 to Count Rumford. Who wouldn't want to marry Lavoisier's pretty and wealthy widow? They were apparently living happily together in Paris in 1806, but raging arguments shattered any chance of domestic happiness and the marriage fell apart. She lived until 1836, an advocate of her first love all the while. She lived for herself, mistress to her own life, independent and an intellectual.

January 01, 2009

Watch a Masterpiece Janurary 4th!

I hope you had a wonderful New Years Eve, and a nice New Years Day too. If your night looked something like this image, I imagine you had a rather short day today- because you woke up at 4 pm! Nothing wrong with that!

It will be a slow week/weekend, mainly coming to terms with the fact that it is 2009. If you have no plans for this Sunday evening, and you have a new set of pajamas you need to break in and maybe a gift basket of popcorn and snacks from an aunt or cousin, then I suggest you spend Sunday curled up watching the season premier of PBS Masterpiece Classic! This is my Sunday evening routine, a great chance to fall into a movie, another world. Last season I made Mr. I-only-watch-football sit through a 3 part showing of Pride and Prejudice . To my surprise and delight, by part 3 he was exclaiming, "Lizzy why don't you go back to DARCY!" Success! I have even greater hopes for the 2009 season of fabulous flicks!

This season kicks off with a 2-part film adaptation of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. The story, about the devoted and beautiful Tess Durbeyfeild, is one that stays with you always. Tess will stay with you! You can relate to her on many levels; considering the world she grew up in and the circumstances she finds herself in you will be moved by her spirit and dedication to the people she loves. It is book that is not read often enough!

Filmed in 2008 the movie stars Hans Matheson, Eddie Redmayne and for the boys, the lovely Gemma Arterton. If you read the book, by Thomas Hardy, then you will be excited to see the accuracy and excellent portrayals of the main characters - beautiful and spirited Tess Durbeyfield, the wonderful Angel Clare, and the alluring Alec d'Urberville. You will no doubt find yourself lost in Tess' world, as events spiral changes in her life and her path becomes challenging. Her compassion is captivating, Gemma does a great job with the part, making it easy for us to understand just what Tess is thinking. And you will certainly fall in love with the characters, her friends, family and men!

Fabulous Give-Away!!

Enter to win a copy of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles, (this book is amazing, Hardy writes in a a way that is lovely and poetic, yet clear enough to easily transport you to the sun soaked fields that Tess knew so well) and a copy of Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights .
Just enter your name and email address here, and you have 10 chances to win!!! You must let me know if you win a copy! Good Luck!

December 31, 2008

Birthday Jewels You Can Own!

Today I will be surrounded with fluffy pink iced cakes with fresh fruit. What else did you expect. Later on this evening there is going to be a huge party, of course. But I wanted to share my first gift!

I was fortunate enough to receive this lovely pair of fun drop earrings by Betsey Johnson! They are detailed with pink enamel bows and little heart crystals, below a large pearl. Love them! You can have them too if you so desire. I might also recommend these Drop Bow Earrings with Fringe for you or your lady's jewelry box!

December 26, 2008

Powder Me! Winners!

Thank you for participating in the December Give away! Here is the list of winners for the "Powder Me!" give away!

Princesse Lamballe- Katy
Georgiana Duchesse of Devonshire- Dani
Madame Grand- Apoidea
Duchesse de Polignac- Billy Cake
Madame Du Barry- Sara
Bess Foster- Merinitta
Marie Antoinette- Diana Distorted
Lady Hamilton- Nora Simmone

Congrats! Winners: kindly contact me at my Email address with your mailing details!
Everyone, Have a wonderful New Year!!