February 27, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Thank you everyone for entering last week's giveaway, which was offered by Vivien from Candy Violet!  It was so fun to see the amazing items you all picked out. I had no doubt that Gossip Guide readers have excellent taste in fashion =)

There were 58 entries, and using random.org our lucky winner was Hierogothic! Congrats, please send me an email with your mailing address and name so that Vivien can post the item to you. 

Thanks again everyone!!

February 24, 2011

Lancret and his Beautiful Greek Women

 Nicolas Lancret, La Belle Grecque. 1731-36, oil on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago.

Another beautiful Lancret to start off our Thursday! 
I just love the colors in this painting, and of course her unique gown! 
What do you think?
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Reader Felicia pointed out that on her recent visit to the Wallace Collection she ran into this lady...or is it! Check out the Wallace Collection's La Belle Grecque! Can you spot any differences? Which painting do you like better?

 Nicolas Lancret, La Belle Grecque. oil on canvas. The Wallace Collection.

February 21, 2011

Les adieux à la nourrice

Aubry, Etienne. Les adieux à la nourrice. 1776-1777, oil on canvas. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Aubry was born in 1745 at Versailles.  A member of the Royal Academy, he developed his talents as a genre painter.  By age 25 he was established at court painting domestic scenes and portraits.  The artist did not live to see the revolution, dying at the age of 36.

The work features a father and mother who have come to pick up their baby from the wet nurse whom he was assigned to.  Typical practice, the child was left to stay with the nurse and her family for the first few months of infancy.  This moment depicts the struggle the little one felt while being pulled from one mother and handed to an unknown mother.


Rousseau had previously published his work Emile, or On Education which was not well received in France (at first).  In the first book of this work, he strongly advocated that it was a mother's first duty to nurse her own babies, rather than hire a wet nurse.

Aubry seems to play with this idea. The reaction of the infant is apparent, distress evident in his facial expression, eyes and body language, when he his handed to his mother, that he does not even look up at her; his eyes are locked on the wet nurse's face.  So strong is the emotion of all figures in the composition, that without the title of the work, one may suspect a child is being taken from its family rather than returning to it.

February 18, 2011

Giveaway! Empire Choker

Good morning and happy Friday! I can't think of a better way to kick off a weekend, than with a giveaway! So exciting!!

This giveaway comes to us from Vivien over at Candy Violet.  You may recognize her company because I have posted favorites such as her Marie Antoinette inspired collection, and Jane Eyre-esque jackets!

I have always loved her designs and colors so I knew it would be perfect for the Gossip Guide!

A little about Vivien's collection:
Inspired by Antique Georgian jewelry, and using mid 20th century techniques the pieces in this collection are sure to make a statement whatever your quaintrelle style! The pieces are handmade and come in three different colors.

For the giveaway Vivien has selected a handmade Empire Choker in Coral.  The choker is one size fits all, and as she pointed out, the coral color is perfect for day and evening wear so you will get the most out of it!  The choker also features a removable drop pendant, so you have two styles in one. 

When you remove the drop pendant, the choker looks so Madame du Pompadour, don't you agree?


Here's how to enter: 



1.  Leave me a comment along with your favorite piece from Vivien's collection. You can view all of her jewelry designs here and clothing designs throughout the shop.

2.  Giveaway is open to U.S and International Readers.
~ All entries must be posted by Friday, February 25th, 11:59pm ET.  Winner announced Sunday Feb. 27.~

Good luck and I can't wait to see what items you pick out!!


February 16, 2011

About him: Robespierre


Maximilien Robespierre was nicknamed The Roman in college by his professor, M Herivaux, due to his diligent study and enthusiasm for the history of Greece and Rome.

February 14, 2011

When Royalty Share Closets


Something looks familiar here...
Do you Anne of Austria is wearing the same dress seen on Marie de Medici (left)?  Who pulls it off better?  I still love the color and details of this gown.  (plus I am on a pearl kick lately so it really appeals to me!) You can rate Anne's (Marie's?) dress at The Dreamstress blog


(left) Frans Pourbus the Younger, Marie de' Medici, Queen of France (1573-1642). 1610, oil on canvas.  Intended for Petite Galerie of the Palais du Louvre. Musée du Louvre.


(right)  Peter Paul Rubens, Anne d'Autriche. 1577-1640, Oil on canvas. Norton Simon Museum.

February 09, 2011

Out of the Salon: Conferencing and such


I will be out of town and more importantly away from my trusted computer for the rest of the week!  I am sure I will miss a lot of the happenings in blog land so, bear with!  I will do my best to keep up to date on ye olde Twitter, so you can always reach me there!

So a few things before I head out:
Last week we had a poll "Why do you love 18th century France?" and the results are in!


The art
  37 (39%)
The fashion
  68 (73%)
The political scene
  20 (21%)
The music
  30 (32%)
The theatre
  21 (22%)
The royal court
  43 (46%)
The architecture
  39 (41%)
The scandals!
  33 (35%)

Clearly we are a very fashionable crowd with extensive knowledge of the historical royal court and its colorful inhabitants with an appreciation for architecture and art!

The Scarlet PimpernelI started to read The Scarlet Pimpernel avec Heather, and I just love it. In fact, it has been the source of my lack of sleep lately! I stay up and say 'just one more chapter' and then of course regret my foolish choice the next morning- but when a book is that good, how can you complain! If anyone else wants to read along I suggest it! We can all discuss SP & the characters within!

Ok, off to bed! *tosses book across the room*

February 07, 2011

Cookbook: Cuisinier royal et bourgeois


It is no real secret that I am slightly obsessed with cooking, yet I do not ever cook. Not enough.  Heather and I were recently discussing the film Julie and Julia based on the true story of the Julie/Julia Project.  The idea of cooking so many recipes in such a short time is baffling to our 21st century minds, but there is some allure to it too! So that brings me to the topic of historical recipes!

I had some luck making historical gingerbread-ish cookies, which I found in an old 18th cent. cookery book.  They were really like molasses crunchy cookies that were best with whip cream.  Have any of you had luck dabbling in historical cookery? I would love to hear what recipes you have tried and loved, or had to change?


Recently From Common Hands Studio, which specializes in historic book binding, has offered for sale François Massialot's Cuisinier royal et bourgeois.  The copy offered is the 1702 edition, an English edition.  According to 18thc Cuisine:
"Massialot's book was reissued and updated often in French during the 18thC, but only once in English. The book is full of savories and sweets, liqueurs and confitures, instructions for table settings and menues for fat days and lean (fasting meals according to the church's calendar). Reenactors, living historians, museums and lovers of food and great books will find a remarkable treat in this lovely volume. Paul's work is magnificent--you won't be disappointed!"
To order a handmade copy of this 18th century cookbook, email Paul at fromcommonhands@yahoo.com (information on the website!)

I really want to get my hands on a copy of this and see what I can do! Would love to make a wonderful dessert for Heathers birthday but we will see about that... Anyway, I promise to update with any historical cookery I get myself into and I hope you share your stories too, pictures appreciated!

February 04, 2011

About Him: Le Comte de Vaudreuil

François-Hubert Drouais. Le Comte de Vaudreuil, 1758. Oil on canvas. The National Gallery, London.

"They [Letters by Vaudreuil] prove him to have been a man of sound judgment and a model courtier. He saw that any attempt to induce foreign Powers to interfere on behalf of Louis XVI, at least during the Constituent Assembly, would only do mischief to the Royal cause. He was ready enough to oppose the Revolution, but he would not, as so many of the emigres did, join the armies of the enemy in fighting against France. He did much to restrain the fiery temper of the Comte d'Artois. His prudent and respectful advice to the prince concerning his passion for Madame de Polastron was the means of avoiding much scandal."

 Wiseman, Nicholas Patrick. 1836. The Dublin review. London: Tablet Pub. Co. [etc.].

February 02, 2011

Weddings: Marie Antoinette and The Duchess

 If you have seen the modern interpretatios of Marie Antoinette and Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire's lives on teh big screen, you may have noticed the amazing difference between the weddings each of the women had. 

Which did you perfer? Georgiana's ceremony? Private, glowing, formal ...cozy?



 Or perhaps you like Marie Antoinette's ceremony better? Lavish, sparkling, formal luxe?



What do you think?

Downton Abbey Soundtrack

*Update September 21 2011*
Downton Abbey is available to view online once again! Just choose your episode below!
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I wanted to share some of the soundtrack from Downton Abbey because it is so lovely! Here are 8 excellent minutes, composed by John Lunn.  Enjoy! Via @edwardian_era

Downton Abbey [Suite] by aaronmbuckley

You can buy the Downton Abbey Soundtrack if you love it (I love it!)
Also available:
Downton Abbey: The Essential Collection

If you have not seen or want to catch up on the series, all four episodes of season 1 are available to watch online for free (until February 22, 2011).  The online videos from PBS are high quality and the series is very entertaining, especially if you are snowed in (like moi!)

Downton Abbey Series 1 Episode 1
Downton Abbey Series 1 Episode 2
Downton Abbey Series 1 Episode 3
Downton Abbey Series 1 Episode 4