December 01, 2010

Chateau de Marly and the Ribbon Rule

Hubert Robert, Spring of the Bosquet des Muses at Marly. c. 1775 - 1780, oil on canvas. Château de Versailles

...what is that fellow on the far right doing?? Making a wish? tossing a coin? Perhaps he indulged himself a bit too much the evening before? 

The Château de Marly was one of the homes often visited by the court of Louis XV.  The country home was splendid to say the least, a favorite destination and escape for Louis XIV. He had trees planted and water fountains installed in the gardens to his taste.  When in residence, all visitors wore formal court dress and later, Louis XV had created a style slightly different from that worn at Versailles known as the habit de cour de Marly

The home was infamous for the large parties thrown there, and very late nights of games.  The Queen's card room was a magnificent octagonal room, perfect for gaming tables.  Marie Antoinette was known to hold a game or two here, and with such high stakes being played it was not uncommon for players to try and cheat. 

In an attempt to thwart cheating at her tables, Marie Antoinette placed a ribbon rule on her table.  Cheating players would often claim money they had in front of them had been placed for bet, if the cards happened in their favor.  To stop these cheating players from making such claims during the game, she had a ribbon tied around the table.  The only money that would count as a bet was that which was placed far inside this ribbon.  If the money sat outside the ribbon in front of a player it was not considered in game!

4 comments :

  1. Marie Antoinette was a smart woman!

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  2. Clever Antoinette,
    They said she was an expert on gambling matters,
    mastering this game at a very young age, while still in Austria

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  3. It is so sad when one has to add rules due to excessive cheating! Perhaps the questionable man in painting just got socked in the stomach for his cheating ways (that's how I would have dealt with the problem!)

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  4. Nothing can cheat experience!:)

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