06.09Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: 06.09

June 30, 2009

Were you at the Exhibition?


Johanna at 18th Century Blog has just visited Versailles and has posted her thoughts and photographs on the Court Pomp & Royal Ceremony exhibition!

If you were not able to make it to the exhibition make sure to check out her fabulous images!

June 28, 2009

Governess to the Royal Children...

As governess to the royal children, a position she received as a favourite, the Duchess de Polignac was to oversee the young dauphin personally. This included attention to his education as well as being ontop of the servants within his household. She did not however sleep in his room. Instead there was a glass door between hers and his so she could keep an eye on what went on in the nursery!

June 23, 2009

Quick Fix of Femmes & Tarts

Lovely reader LNor19 has composed a fun & quick video of some fabulously scandalous dames from England & France! So if you are in need of a quick fix of fashion, hats, plumes, court gowns and jewellry you can get it right here!

I hope you all have a fabulous 18th century inspired Tuesday!

June 19, 2009

"I Remember My First Beer"

Let's face it, Louis XV had a thing for his women, and his leisure time. Infamous parties, suppers, were held after a hunt, and for years these gatherings were a little hush hush. They were known of, but the guest weren't advertising their invitations.

Who hosted these gatherings? For a long time Madame du Barry was the acting hostess, and she was needless to say good at it in her own way. She brought to the table a different style than what was typical of court life. Her suppers were casual in manner, relaxed, and sexy. The atmosphere matched that of a "gambling saloon and the entertainments" were of the same sort.

Eventually these parties became the thing to do, and those who made it on the guest list were now walking around fanning themselves with their invitations- completely flaunting them rather than keeping it quiet. The suppers were private parties, about 20 guests would gather for them. One observer of a supper saw both men and women seated around a large round table in promiscuous positions.... take what you will from that! Madame du Barry sat at the kings arm picking food off his plate, flirting with him and whispering to him. This is a good representation of how our observer may have viewed it.

In any case, young Louis (the dauphin) was not typically on the guest list. He was way too innocent, and always under the watch of his tutor. Eventually, (it had to happen at some point!) with the encouragement of the Duc de St Mégrin, Louis attended his 'first' supper party!

Undoubtedly it was almost an initiation for the young dauphin, and his aunts, whom he was very close to, were not happy about it. They got to work on him right away, with stories of du Barry and her past. They painted a negative image of her and it really made a lasting impression on Louis. With complete trust in them he formed his permanent opinion on the favourite, which would never change much.

The Comte Mercy wrote of Louis "This enlightenment produced so strong an impression on the Dauphin that he has since evinced a marked aversion for Madame du Barry it is certain that she will never rehabilitate herself in the eyes of the young prince."

June 13, 2009

The Art of Letter-Writing

In the 17th century writing letters was something men ought to do. The practice reinforced their rank and good breeding. The ability to express themselves eloquently through the pen was more of an achievement and testament than through speaking. Women were not encouraged to partake in this manly pastime!

Then the 18th century came along and fashionable women of good breeding and families began to write letters. There were writing guide books and manuals available so it became easier for them to learn how to compose graceful correspondence.

Mid way through the century a fabulous book was printed, The Ladies Complete Letter-Writer. This book, published in 1763 was the first sign of a new popularity for women letter-writers. What was unique about the book was that it was made for a specific audience, the ladies!

By the end of the century women had proved so skilled and eloquent in writing it was thought that they were better at it than the men! This gave the art of letter writing new meaning. Rather than separating the men from the women it separated the classes. (The higher classes set the standards and practiced refined letter writing, while the lower classes were assumed vulgar and lacking of any eloquence via correspondence!)

June 12, 2009

Carriage Ride for Two?


"How many liaisons begin briskly by insolence in a carriage, the coachman of which is particular about taking the longest road, to play deaf, and to make the horses go slowly...."

Messrs de Goucourt V Amour au XVIII Siecle

June 09, 2009

Popular 18th Century Names


Inspired by the recent Social Security baby name list, I thought it was time to do some research! So I have compiled some graphs just to give you a glimpse of popular trends. Trends of what you ask? The lovely names of some of our favorite 18th century femmes (post 18th century of course!)
My graphs are not fancy and you need to click on them to actually see them... Sorry! The popular trends are based on popularity in the U.S. spanning from 1880-2008.

June 06, 2009

Unknowns: Le Brun

Portrait of a Woman, Vigee Le Brun