January 29, 2012

Chantilly: Selections from the Collection

The foggy history of the Château de Chantilly only clears up after the 10th century AD, where it passed through a succession of owners, including the Grand Constable of Montmorency, whom added to the estate by purchasing lands around it. Louis XIII took particular interest in the estate, spending much time there and it was only until 1643 when Queen Anne of Austria gave the estate back to the Marguerite de Montmorency and her husband the Prince of Condé.

Chambre of the duchesse, Chantilly, Domaine de Chantilly. http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/en/ (accessed October 11, 2013).

The estate underwent major improvements prompted by a race to keep up with Louis XIV's building projects at Versailles, and later during the French Revolution the historical and valuable contents of the ages old chateau were removed  (the library was confiscated) and other items were sold in a large auction in 1793.

Gallery of Paintings, Chantilly. Domaine de Chantilly. http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/en/ (accessed October 11, 2013).

While exiled, the then current Prince of Condé purchased art, books, and furniture.  Eighteen years later the Prince of Condé returned to France and attempted to have the items that were removed returned. He was somewhat successful in securing some of the original art and items that filled the house, but he had to supplement them with the collections he had been building on his own.

Princes Chambers, Chantilly. "Domaine de Chantilly." Domaine de Chantilly. http://www.chateaudechantilly.com/en/ (accessed October 11, 2013).

Because of his diligence in collecting and gifts during this period, the Museum Condé at Chantilly boasts over 1000 paintings, 2500 drawings, 2500 engravings and 1500 manuscripts, not to mention the large and important library.  The collection includes sculpture and decorative arts, and is housed in the castle's galleries and rooms.

Pol de Limbourg and finished by Jean Colombe, Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (Très Riches Heures), folio 7 v.; July: Castle Poitiers, which the Duke rebuilt; sheep-shearing and harvesting. illuminated manuscript, 1409-1479. Musée Condé.

Botticelli, Autumn. Musée Condé.

Raphael, Three Graces. Oil on panel, 1502-1503. Musée Condé.

Jean Fouquet, Hours of Étienne Chevalier; Adoration of the Magi. Manuscript illumination, 1445. Musée Condé.

Piero di Cosimo, Portrait of a Woman, perhas Simonetta Vespucci. Distemper on wood, 1480. Musée Condé.

Jean Decourt, Henri III before his accession, or his younger brother the Duke d'Alençon. Painting on wood, 16th century. Musée Condé.
For another gorgeous image of the inside of Château de Chantilly, check out Abby's photo of the week, at Nooks, Towers and Turrets!

January 28, 2012

Marie Antoinette Quilt

via Kitty Me Designs

Reader @altheapreston was kind enough to point out Pamela Kellogg's designs for a Marie Antoinette themed quilt, or as she names them 'Crazy Quilts'.  Her Marie Antoinette quilt burst with colors, sparkles and vintage themed imagery.  What is awesome, is that each individual square of the quilt is unique, with it's own embellishments, portrait and style. Together, the crazy aspect may appear, for a quilt lined in satin bursting with sparkle and charm!

The size of the piece is appropriate, this isn't a throw quilt! and I like how she has displayed it on the wall as art. You can check out Pamela's other designs on her Etsy page, or get inspired and make your own Marie Antoinette themed items at home!

January 18, 2012

For Sale: Madame du Barry's Marble Chimney Piece

On the 27th of January Madame du Barry's chimney piece is going up for auction in New York.  The white marble piece was designed by Claude Nicolas Ledoux and is detailed in gold.  Why is this so exciting? This piece and other 18th century treasures will be on view in New York City this month, but only for a week!

Claude Nicolas Ledoux, Chimneypiece. Ormolu-mounted white marble with gold detail, designed for Madame du Barry's Pavillion de Louvecinnes, c1771.

It is of Louis XVI style, and was originally housed in her Salon à Cul-au-Four, in Louvciennes.  The chimneypiece was taken from Louvciennes in 1793 by the Revolutionary Government and later went up for auction in 1997.  For this sale, the piece is expected to fetch $100,000 - $200,000.

Detail, Chimneypiece

Even if you know you wont be bidding on her chimneypiece, it is worth seeing in person. This piece along with several other fine 18th century artworks will be on view.  The exhibition includes a set of Sevres vase garniture commissioned by Louis XV.  The beautiful set is one of two the king had commissioned, the second set is currently in the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.

The large vase currently in the collection of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.  Egg shaped garnitures such as this are very rare, but if you have been to Versailles you may have seen a set similar in white with chinoiserie decoration which Marie Antoinette is thought to have commissioned!

The exhibition will also feature a set of tapestries depicting Daphnis and Chloe, based on paintings by Phillippe II, Duc d'Orleans. Other pieces include impressive clocks, and a pretty spectacular 18th century marquetry grand piano.  The full catalogue of items on view can be seen here.

Visit the exhibition:
21 Jan 2012 - 26 Jan 2012
1334 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021

Louis XV

Attributed to Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, commissioned by Louis XV, A Royal Louis XV Ormolu-mounted Sèvres fond violet porcelain three-piece vase garniture. Porcelain, c1768.


Duc d'Orléans
Jean le Febvre the Younger (woven by), Philippe II, Duc d'Orlèans (designed by), French Allegorical tapestries (set of 4)  depicting the story of Daphnis and Chloe. Made at the manufacture des Gobelins, 1718-1720.


January 11, 2012

18th century Madame as.....Goddesses and Virgins

Nattier, Jean-Marc,  Madame de Caumartin as Hebe. Painting, 1753.National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Jean-Marc Nattier, Madame Henriette de France as a Vestal Virgin. Oil on canvas, 1749. The Detroit Institute of Arts.

Noël Nicolas Coypel, Portrait of Madame de Bourbon-Conti as Venus. Oil on canvas, 1731.  The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Jean-Marc Nattier, Madame de Pompadour as Diana. Oil on canvas, 1752. The Cleveland Museum of Art.

January 09, 2012

Exhibition: Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine

If you can manage to pull yourself away from the European paintings and swing a quick left at the top of the main staircase at the Met you will be met with a punchy blue wall, the opening of the Infinite Jest exhibition.  The first work facing the front of the exhibition is a drawing by Francois-Andre Vincent of his fellow artist Pierre- Charles Jombert.  Just like a boardwalk caricature, the subject has comically large hands, a small head and is drawn so tall, the artist had to use two sheets of paper tacked together!

The exhibition is broken down into various sections such as: crowds, eating and drinking, gambling, the art world and a large section is on fashion.

The show has some earlier and later works mixed in with a nice emphasis on some from the long 18th century.  They include sassy depictions of politicians, ladies and common class figures.  The section on Crowds focuses on the issue of crowd control in 18th century England.

The theatre is where crowds become quickly out of control, particularly for the working class.  To get into the building it is crowded. There is no space, no where to move except along with the crowd, pressed between bodies and moving with the aggravated flow.

Thomas Rowlandson, Exhibition "Stare" Case. Etching, hand colored, 1811. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

But it gets worse.  Hats are knocked off, people are shouting, canes go flying, everyone is a potential victim to a pickpocket and some people even vomit from the discomfort. Is there anywhere you would rather be? All these horrors of the crowd are summed up in the satires presented in the show.

A print by Thomas Rowlandson called Theodore Lane provides a further look into the life of the crowd after they reach the theatre doors; nothing changes once inside.  As families try to reserve seats for each other, scuffles may break out and there are still people passing out or getting sick. A pleasant night indeed

Another work you may be familiar with is Rowlandson's Exhibition 'Stare' Case.  Visitors to the Royal Academy's annual exhibition tumble down the steep staircase in a crowd (of course)and skirts go flying and bodices give way! Ladies fall scandalously on men while other eyes fall scandalously on the ladies.  Many visitors stop to stare because there is just so much to see. Who needs to see the actual art work when the nudes are downstairs?

After Crowds is a section on Eating and Drinking.  My favorite piece from this section was Charlet Nicolas-Toussaint's Entry or Lord Fat Cheeks and Exit, or Lord the Gob.  The man enters the gambling hall very well put together but after a long night he leaves dishevelled and marked with misfortune.  Very much like the character Felix from the BBC adaptation of The Way We Live Now.

Anonymous, French, 18th century, Le Triomphe de la coquetterie. Etching and engraving, 18th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Each print in the fashion section is a funny statement on both ladies' and gentleman's fashion.  There are some works that poke fun at the French dandies of the 18th century, and of course ladies' hair.  There are some that focus on the exaggerated shapes (shoulders, bustles) women began wearing during the reign of Victoria as well.  My favorite work from this section is Le Triomphe de la coquetterie, which you could stand in front of for a very long time taking in all the ridiculousness portrayed... Check out the details (click to enlarge).

As I said before, men were not excused from caricatures of fashion offenders.  With his hair dressed so large, Baron de Caprice has a bit of trouble when he calls on Mlle Favors.  His hair has prevented him from entering the lady's home, and he has to wait while the door frame is expanded (by chisel and hammer!).

Anonymous, French, The Entry of the Baron of Caprice to the Home of Miss Favors (Entré du Baron du Caprice chez Melle des Faveurs). Etching, second half 18th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Infinite Jest is an intimate show, its not large, but the works are so detailed and have so many little jokes within each that you will spend a good portion of time here. You can tell the artists' had senses of humor when they created the works and you can tell someone had a good time putting the show together.  The exhibition is a much appreciated respite at the Metropolitan Museum.

The catalogue is now available: Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine

The exhibition is on until March, and if you have seen it or stop by, please let us know what you thought in the comments section!

If you know you cannot make it to the exhibition in person, check out the online version here.


Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet, Entry, or Lord Fat Cheeks. (Entrée, ou Milord-Gorju). Lithograph, 1820-22. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet, Exit, or Lord the Gob (Sortie, ou Milord-la Gob). Lithograph, 1820-22.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.