10.09Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: 10.09

October 31, 2009

Mdm de Pompadour Giveaway Results

Thank you to everyone who entered the Madame de Pompadour giveaway! I had thirty entries including the bonus entries some of you took advantage of with Direct Message on Twitter!


Comtesse Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne !!

Please contact me at MarieAntoinetteGossip (at) gmail . com with your contact information!

*To choose a winner I assigned every entry a number in order of which I received it! (Bonus entries added to the end of the list).   If you want this book it is currently on sale at Amazon.

I hope everyone enjoys their Halloween day, I am off to plan the next giveaway!!

October 26, 2009

What will you be wearing?

I am searching for a costume très last-minute, I know, I know... I just don't know where the time has gone.

I must encourage you to leave your costume ideas (current or old), descriptions and images if you have any, on this post.  Everyone has great ideas, and there are plenty of 18th century creations being discussed!!  Let's hear what you are /want to do!

If you have any ideas for me, do let me know! *runs to closet*

Allie @ Hist-Fic Chick has just posted a very fabulous post on some How-To make up tutorials: Cleopatra & Marie Antoinette.  Anyone intersted in being an 18th century vamp or Egyptian temptress must check it out!

Let this be a forum for 18th c. costume & hair TIPS & TRICKS. Share your tricks and leave your tips.  Do not forget to ask us any questions you have encountered!!

October 25, 2009

Making an entrance

When Louis XVI was crowned, his wife Marie Antoinette could have been crowned along side him, as it was an ancient tradition. Double coronation!

It was a tradition that would have been revived on the occasion as the past recent kings had not been married at the time of their coronation.

Due to financial frugality, Louis chose not to have a double coronation, if you will.  His coronation took place at the cathedral of Reims.  Antoinette would meet up later for the coronation so Louis arrived alone.  He did not need her help to make an entrance however.  He arrived in a carriage that was 18 feet high!

October 22, 2009

Shoe Roses

Jean Baptiste Joseph Pater, Concert Champêtre.18th century, Oil on canvas. The Metropolitan Museum of Art

If you follow me on Twitter (MarieGossip) you may have seen a recent post on Shoe Roses.  I just stumbled on a pair of these fashion must haves in a lovely work by Jean Baptiste Pater!

This is a (now) inexpensive way to adorn some shoes if you are planning to go out in your best 18th Century garb for Halloween or any other Fancy Dress Party! For more ideas along those lines check out Heather's Costume Countdown!

Ok back to the shoe roses!!

Shoe Roses- expensive little works of art to adorn one's shoes.  They were crafted out of ribbon, usually fine silk, and designed to look like an elegant rose in full bloom.  They were very expensive if you can imagine!

They could be very elaborate or simplified, and cost would reflect this.  For our purposes we can create one of these for a very affordable price, with some of your favorite ribbon, a hot glue gun and if you are adventurous, a splash of glitter!

Merely fold the ribbon into loops and use dabs of glue to keep them down. (if you want to sew here is a simple tutorial)  With just one safety pin you can attach your shoe rose to some shoes for an instant statement that screams fashion, and also says, "do not step on my toes."  Other uses of shoe roses include hiding gouty ankles. 

October 20, 2009

Jeanne-Antoinette: interior designer of sorts

Spring of 1746 found Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson pregnant, and her lover, Louis XV on his way out of town for a  campaign.  For a relaxing and restful spring, Madame du Pompadour was set up at the château de Crécy.  The property she had always liked, it was a bit in the country, and not quite to Louis' taste ...yet.   But to make sure she was both content and comfortable (the country would be nice while in her condition) he made the purchase, for the low price of 650,000 livres.

Once settled in, resting was not her first priority.  She jumped on the chance to put the ideas and designs she had schemed for the château in action.  The renovations took about two years to complete, altering entire wings of the chateau.  She even had the gardens redone!

Once it was completed she was able to entertain the entire court at the château.  Theatre productions were put on and, of course, there were many nights spent gambling.  Louis continued to visit the chateau and even in his later years would visit for the hunting grounds it provided. 

She would spend a great part of her finances on buildings and decorating but Crécy was her first big project.  She even had the gardens redone!

Surprise! Giveaway!
If you are interested in learning more about Madame de Pompadour, or you are just in need of a good biography this month, enter to win a copy of:

Madame de Pompadour: Mistress of France

The give away begins today, and will end in ten days, closing Friday October 30th.
To enter, leave a comment on this post saying anything you would like about the infamous Mistress!
*additional entry*
If you send me a direct message on Twitter I will count that entry in addition to your comment here! (+2)

I will post the winner Saturday October 31st, good luck!

October 19, 2009

The Fashionable Male: Colonel Coussmaker

George Kein Hayward Coussmaker was born in 1759 in Kent.  His family was Dutch, and his ancestor John de Coussmaker was said and most probably arrived in England along with William III, in his suite.   They became a successful merchant family in London, settling in Surrey.  His father, George Coussmaker had married Mary Hayward in 1758, and they had two children, George K. H. Coussmaker and a daughter, Catharine (Kitty).

His father passed away leaving his mother to remarry Thomas Pym Hales, and together they had several daughters.  George moved out of the house first (surely out of necessity - a house of seven girls!) and became Colonel of the 1st Gaurds. 

Fun fact! George's mother, now Lady Hale, and his sister Miss Coussmaker (Kitty) became close with Susanna Burney (especially his sister).  Through this connection she met Jane Austen!

When he was 24 he hired Reynolds to paint his portrait.  He paid about £200 for it.

At 31 he married Catharine Southwell, who was 22 at the timeHer father was Lord Clifford. Yes he married quite well!  Lord Clifford has passed away before his daughter married and they were married under a special license.  The wedding took place on 13 November 1790 at the parish of St George (Hanover Square) at her mother's house (Lady Clifford portrait on left) on Stanhope Street.  I do not know of a portrait of Catharine, but if she inherited any beauty from her mother it is easy to see George was smitten!

George and Catharine had a daughter Sophie on 4 November 1791 and a son in 1797, Geroge (of course!).  Sadly, George and Catharine would only live to see their 10th wedding anniversary.  She went with him to Martinqiue, where he caught yellow fever.  Nursing him was to no avail, and he passed away on 11 July 1801.  Catharine had also contracted the disease and 8 days later, joined her husband in death.  The children were left to Catharine's brother Edward's care, who was at the time 21st Lord de Clifford.

Their son was schooled at Westminster and Oxford while Sophie married a Whig grandee, Lord William Russell. her brother died at the young age of 24, leaving his sister the heir to the barony of Clifford through her mother!

October 15, 2009

The Perfumed Court Collection

I hope everyone has had a chance to vote on the Poll (right sidebar) as I am very curious to hear your opinions!

As far as fragrance, I have great news and bad news! Let's start with the great:
First of all, for all of you who were devastated when you realized you could not spare the $4,000 for a vile of Silliage de Reine sold at Versailles, fret no more!

Dawn M. Spencer-Hurwitz (perfumer & creator) has created "The Perfumed Court Collection" to accompany the exhibit Artisans and Kings: Selections from the Louvre (Denver Art Museum). The collection features 10 fragrances created from historical notes and research which match fragrances that floated through the court of France from the reigns of Louis XIV through Louis XVI.

Based on research from 18th texts, and the helpful notes of Jean-Louis Fargeon (A Scented Palace) she has captured these fragrances and is now offering them for sale! You can purchase them in handmade charm bottles which you can string a ribbon or chain through to wear or hang up, and also decorative perfum bottles.

Lovely! These are very appropriate because in the 18th century, little bottles became en vogue. Ladies could carry them descreetly, so, in case of an emergency they could reapply! They were usually on chains and had a screw top.

Her website also notes that "In keeping with the authenticity of thematerials, The Perfumed Court collection has been created using all botanical,preciousessences, except for the animal notes, which are synthetic."

Now the bad news: they are, unfortunately, a limited edition= limited stock!  However, she offers The Perfumed Court Collection Sampler Packs of all 10 fragrances in the collection (1ml bottles)!

I was lucky to get a quick interview with Dawn, here is what she has to say about this fabulous collection:

Lauren: What first inspired you to make this collection?

Dawn M. Spencer-Hurwitz: I was asked by the Denver Art Museum to do a lecture in conjunction with their "Artisans and Kings" exhibit of treasures on loan from the Louvre from the Versailles period of Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI and this collection of perfumes is what came out of my research on the fragrance styles and aromatics of the period. I had originally intended to create 1-3 perfumes to illustrate the period but, well, you know how it is when you get inspired? 10 perfumes came into being.

What was the most interesting fact you uncovered in your research of these historical fragrances?

DSH: You know, the most interesting things that came from my research was all about the innovations of Louis XIV, who was a true originator of fashion. So many icons that are associated with chic and especially French culture, Paris as a city of lights, a passion for diamonds, champagne and high fashion styles all stem from plan laid out by Louis XIV. He is an amazingly fascinating character!

You provide the option of buying the fragrances in 'small charm bottles.' Exactly what are these and why did you choose to offer them?

DSH: The charm bottles are wonderful little gems; they are artisan made in Paris and just seemed so perfect for this collection. Historically speaking, it was very common to have ornate, personal bottles of scent for travel. The charm bottles really reminded me of some of the bottles of the period.

Of the entire collection which fragrance is your favorite?

DSH: Choosing favorites is always the hardest part for me.... I really love the Eau de la Favourite ( it's just so unusual) and of course, I love the Aqua Admirabilis. It really feels perfect in every way (except that like all natural eau de colognes, it doesn't last long at all...). Ok, and Eau de Coquette is a wonderful , heady, seductive floral... super sexy. ( I love them all).
Follow Dawn on Twitter!

Curious now??? I have listed each perfume below with some of my thoughts and some of Dawn's descriptions & some of the composition scents:

October 13, 2009


"Everything that could be scented, was, and on occasion even the impossibly extravagant fountains of Versailles were perfumed. I imagine the fountain's mist on the breeze must have been a full body experience. (Louis XIV overdid it and ended up unable to have anything perfumed near him at the end of his life. Even the scent of blooming flowers caused him migraines. Let it be a lesson to those who over-apply!)"
Lucy Raubertas 

If you have not already done so, Please check out the new Poll on the right!! --->

October 12, 2009


Anonymous, A Couple Celebrating, mid 18th century, Panel. National Gallery of Art

Anonymous, A Couple Drinking, mid 18th century, Panel. National Gallery of Art

Here are two panels that depict a couple in the process of celebrating. I wonder though just what they are celebrating and how long it took them to go from part 1 to part 2???

October 07, 2009

The History of Eggs according to Lauzun

As much as I love food I do not post about it as much as I ought. I came across this from the, sometimes dull, Memoirs of that saucy duc de Lauzun. It marks a ground breaking moment, to him and his party, in the forever interesting history of eggs:

"Yesterday morning, a day for ever memorable in the history of eggs, during breakfast all the implements necessary for the great operation were brought in: a cooking brazier, some new china sent-I believe, by you- some gravy, some salt, some pepper and some eggs, and behold! Mme de Lauzun, at first blushing and tremulous, but then with intrepid courage, breaks the eggs, crushes them in the pan, turns them right and left, over and over, with a precision and success quite unexampled.  Never had we eaten anything so good. The experiment was on a small scale, for there were but six eggs; it is to be repeated to-day on a larger number.  If she is to succeed equally well, it is an undoubted and superior gift."

There you have it. Scrambled eggs, omelets, a superior gift you should be so lucky to hold! The memoirs continue to include that Mme de Lauzun received 6 pretty aprons from her grandmother, decorated with lace for the 'triumph'!  I do not even have 1 pretty apron, but I think I should invest.  Suggestions?

October 05, 2009

Maria Theresa was a Mother of Many

Maria Theresa, although having many children, always remained dedicated to state work, even if this resulted in a lack of 'family time.'

October 01, 2009

A Nice Surprise: Exhibition

What a pleasant surprise! The Morgan Library & Museum has opened their exhibition "Rococo and Revolution: Eighteenth-Century French Drawings" early!!  Be sure to stop by and let us know what you think!

They are open until 5pm today, and reopen at 10:30 Friday morning.