Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century

June 16, 2015

How did Marie Antoinette celebrate her 21st birthday?

Château Fontainebleau is the only royal and imperial château to have been continuously inhabited for seven centuries. Photo via Musee château Fontainebleau 

When a Queen turns 21, you have to do something big! Of course a party would be planned for her birthday, but what could be done to make the event even bigger? How about starting the party before her birthday even arrived? 36 hours before Marie Antoinette turned 21 the Faro tables opened!


June 04, 2015

Diamond feathers for her hair

"Spectacular old mine cut diamond and sapphire oversized feather brooch from Fred Leighton -- the one that fashion baron, André Leon Talley, borrows from time to time." source New York Social Diary

"I beg you will limit yourself to this ornament, even of which your charms have no need. This present should please you the more that it has not increased my expenditure, since it is composed of diamonds I possessed when I was a dauphin."¹
Even Louis XVI tried to curb Marie Antoinette's taste for tall headdresses, which were inspired by Georgiana duchess of Devonshire.  In this anecdote, he offered her a beautiful diamond aigrette, made of diamonds from his personal collection, to wear instead of the frivolous feathers. Subtle(?) gesture.

¹Métra, François. "Correspondance littéraire secrète." Neuwied, Société typographique, Janurary 9, 1775. Quoted in Langlade, Émile, and A. S. Rappoport. 1913. Rose Bertin: the creator of fashion at the court of Marie-Antoinette. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. 40.


April 21, 2015

For your château? Chocolate Pot and Warmer


Perhaps each morning you would like to be served chocolate in bed, you know, just to get you a bit energized for the day or at least for your toilette.   


Chocolate Pot and warmer, The Young Moor's Head Factory, 1761-69. Tin-enameled earthenware. 
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This pot is made of clay, fired then glazed with a special glaze that would conceal any clay-colored flaws.  The result is a perfect piece, hand painted with a floral and feathery motif.  The colors are soft and would surely brighten any morning.  Would you select this piece for your château?

A little more on chocolate:
Chocolate, the bitter drink restricted to kings, priests, and warriors when the Spanish first encountered it among the Aztecs in the 16th century, remained largely unknown in Europe until the next century. Exorbitantly expensive, it was a luxury available only to the wealthy in Europe. Since chocolate had to be stirred just before pouring — to mix the cocoa powder and sugar into the milk — a stirrer was incorporated into the design of the chocolate pot. The pierced hole in the lid through which the handle of the windmill-shaped stirrer, or molinet, protruded is the feature that distinguishes chocolate pots from coffee pots. No full-size chocolate pot is known to have preserved its molinet, possibly because the stirrers were made of wood and became discolored or worn over time. 

"Chocolate, Coffee, Tea." The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2004. Accessed April 21, 2015.





April 14, 2015

Springtime Hats: Pastels, Pastels, Pastels!

Le Lever de la Reine


Check out some of the new styles of hats that hit the French runways in 1776! Which is your favorite?


April 07, 2015

Sailor Moon in the 18th Century

Ereya. 18th Century Sailor Moon. 2012. Digital painting. 590 x 675 px. DeviantArt. <http://fav.me/d5olpmg> accessed 15 Feb. 2015.

This is totally just for fun but here we have a portrait of .... Sailor Moon in the 18th century!  It came up in a search and I thought it was pretty fantastic.  

If you are interested, you can watch the new Sailor Moon Crystal episodes online on Hulu.


April 03, 2015

Happy Spring: 18th century fashion, floral fragrances and some recipes to try

 Ladurée desserts!

It is (finally) a very warm day in NYC and I can't help but think spring.  I hope everyone else is getting nicer weather and ready for flowers and sunny days.  Here are some links to kick off this very springy weekend!


March 31, 2015

18th Century Landscapes and a Modern Skirt

Jean-Honoré Fragonard, French. Blindman's Buff. Probably c. 1765, oil on canvas. The National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.) 

Local designer she&reverie continue to be inspired by the 18th century, its fashions, gardens and popular genre paintings. Designer Quinne even told me the name she&reverie "comes from one of Jean-Honore Fragonard's 1770s-era paintings at the Frick Collection." It is lovely, see below.

They have a fun Print & Pattern collection and there is one skirt in there that I just love! The Rococo Skirt (of course!)