August 31, 2011

Mother Knows Best: Riding

"You were quite right in thinking I should not approve your riding at fifteen; Mesdames, (Louis XVI's aunts) whom you quote, did not ride till thirty, but you tell me the King approves, and the Dauphin, and that suffices for me; it is they who have the ordering of your life, it is in their hands I have placed my charming Antoinette. Riding on horseback ruins the complexion and ultimately the figure. I consider that if you ride like a man (which I do not doubt you will) it is very dangerous... if you ride as I did as a woman there is less to be said..."

Maria Theresa, 2 December 1770

August 24, 2011

Wicked, Wicked Computer!

Prud'hon, Pierre-Paul, Le Cruel rid des pleurs qu'il fait verser. Black chalk and black crayon on white antique paper, 1793.

Currently having a bit of computer drama, but working to get things straightened out! Until then, bear with, bear with!

August 21, 2011

Modern Petit Trianon Style

 A little inspiration to start off the week!

August 14, 2011

Out of the Salon

I will be out of the salon for the next few days,  making a trip to merry New England!  While I am away, be sure to take part in my poll for this week! Also, let me know of any fun happenings I am missing out on!

Other things to check out:
From the Archives! Decided to look back at what I was thinking about this week last year...and the year before...

Check out this signature pose of Elizabeth Vigee Lebrun! Always elegant and flattering,  Strike a Pose: http://marie-antoinettequeenoffrance.blogspot.com/2010/08/strike-pose.html

One of my favorite series is Fragonard Friday! I know it is only Monday but nothing like a little Fragonard to start the week, right? This post is on his scandalous painting, The New Model: http://marie-antoinettequeenoffrance.blogspot.com/2009/08/fragonard-friday-new-model.html

Would you like to see a Twitter button on each blog post?

August 11, 2011

Pups of the past: Marie Antoinette's dogs

I have been doing a little bit of reading on some historical pups of money. I have never had a dog of my own, but I see the appeal! So lets start off with Mops.

Le Doguin.

Mops was the young archduchess' pug.  In Caroline Weber's Queen of Fashion, the pup is described as tawney in color and as one of the accessories that could not be brought to France.  Mops had to ride back to Vienna without his owner.  Weber's mention of Mops implies that dogs were too much of a liability, for a lady who needs to keep a perfect image.  "His dirty paws could simply not be trusted around a woman who, now more than ever, was going to have to look her best."

Mops was eventually sent to France and reunited with the new dauphine.

Henri-Pierre Danloux, Studies of a Spaniel. Black chalk on fine-textured blue paper, 1791.  Ashmolean Museum.

And how could we forget Thisbe?  This little spaniel belonged to the queen during her later years, and some revolutionary stories about the pup give him a Greyfriars Bobby-like tale!  The little spaniel, known as Thisbe, was with the queen and her family when they were imprisoned in the Temple.  When Louis XVI was guillotined, the pup stayed with the queen and her children, and still when the children were taken.  Only were they separated when Marie Antoinette was moved to the Conciergerie.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Banquet of Antony and Cleopatra; detail of a dog. Fresco. Palazzo Labia.

Well you can't keep a pup from his owner, and little Thisbe tracked down the door to where Marie Antoinette was held.  He sat outside all day.  People began to talk about just who the dog was waiting for, "The queen herself..." 

A certain Madame Arnaud couldn't pass the sad dog without sympathy. She discreetly kept him fed and even let him sleep at her house.  Concerned friends and family warned her of the danger showing any favor to anything related to the royal family.  Under this pressure, she sent the spaniel to her sister.

Her sister cared for the dog, but found him to be most disagreeable.  Yipping and howling all day, barely eating his food, she undoubtedly wondered why her sister cared for him so much.  Perhaps to the delight of both parties, Thisbe was able to sneak out of the house one day, when someone cracked open the door- he quickly darted through!

Anonymous French, Studies of a Spaniel. Red chalk on paper, 18th century. Ashmolean Museum.
He traveled back to his spot near the gates of the conciergerie, where he kept his post as before.  When the doors finally opened, a cart of people rolled through.  This remarkable animal, recognizing his owner, followed this cart through the streets, and wandered around as the prisoners were unloaded. 

"The Queen's head fell-there was a moment's dead silence-then the loud, agonising howl of a dog. In an instant, a soldier's bayonet pierced its heart. "So perish all that mourn an aristocrat" he cried; and mourning indeed an aristocrat died. Thisbe le chien de la Reine."

August 08, 2011

London Yesterday

Thomas Malton I, London, view of White Hall. Watercolor, mid 18th century. Victoria and Albert Museum.



Thinking about London for the past few days, particularly tonight. I hope all my friends and readers who are there now stay safe.  Such a sad, sad thing- the old city.

I love Lahndahhhhhn!

August 04, 2011

Caption this! La Serenade

Nicolas Lancret, La Sérénade. Oil on canvas, not dated. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

You often see caption contests for funny candid pictures, so I thought we should try to caption this painting by Lancret.  It is titled La Sérénade, I will go first. Leave your captions in the comments, or just your thoughts about the piece!

"Armand, please...this is embarrassing!"
"Look dear, I have hired him for an hour, just enjoy the music"

August 01, 2011

Always help a lady in need

 The royal wedding between the comte d'Artois and the comtesse was elaborate and exciting, but perhaps not exciting in a fun way!

During the night's celebration a number of guests showed up dressed in fashionable finery.  These were no ordinary guests  - they were wedding crashers!  Worse yet, they were thieves!  They spread throughout the party and stole whatever they could, purses and even clocks off the mantles. 

As you can imagine, the sudden sweep of wedding crashers caused a bit of chaos/excitement, especially when guests realized their purse was not snug in their pocket.  As the excitement began to build, Madame du Barry found herself being swept off her feet, perhaps pushed or just bumped, she was knocked off her balance, skirts swinging!  Before she could catch her balance someone caught her and steadied her. 

The courteous fellow, perhaps acting on instinct, saved the king's favorite from a bit of embarrassment.  To reward his good judgement, Louis XV offered him a very generous annual sum of money.  So remember, always help a lady in need!