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Re: Excerpt (re 1775): Intimacy of Queen and dressmaker

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  • janetcfauble
    Hello Axel and Tim, I first want to say that I found this post in my spam folder along with two other posts that probably should have been sent to the inbox.
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 1, 2009
      Hello Axel and Tim,

      I first want to say that I found this post in my spam folder along
      with two other posts that probably should have been sent to the
      inbox. That has happened quite often so I might suggest that other
      members may find the same kind of problem.

      AT any rate, I recognized the post and so read it and really enjoyed
      the original article about which Axel is making his comments. I had
      read that same information somewhere but have forgotten now where so
      it refreshed my memory about the many problems that the young
      princess had created for herself in her early years at the Chateau.

      I personally believe that while Antoinette may have had a good heart
      and not intentionally meant to hurt anyone, she nonetheless seems to
      have offended many in her outrageous fashion sense and poor display
      of what was for that court a case of bad manners.

      It is too bad that she did not truly listen to the wisdom of her
      mother's insights, but then again she was a young woman, probably
      frustrated sexually as has been suggested, and needed some outlet for
      her own natural libido as well.

      And I do not believe that she would ever have confided any of that in
      her letters to her mother so perhaps her own real confidantes were
      her closest friends. And a real confidante will not betray her trust
      by telling on her unwisely, so it is all just conjecture as to how
      she really felt about not only her mother's advice but also her
      husband's seeming coldness and indifference in the ways of love and
      cohabitation. Most women were taught that sexual cohabitation was a
      duty and an obligation, and never were taught that real sexual drives
      and desires were healthy and constructive. Only the street women
      such as DuBarry may have learned that kind of attitude.

      Even today such attitudes prevail.

      Jan






      --- In Images_of_Marie_Antoinette@yahoogroups.com, "Axel"
      <Rand103242@...> wrote:
      >
      > This excerpt gives a sense of Queen Marie Antoinette's
      preoccupation
      > with her dress and style, and the role of her dressmaker Rose
      Bertin
      > in shaping that style.
      >
      > This excerpt is all about 1775 when the Queen was just 19 years
      old,
      > in the first full year of her reign. Already, we see how close and
      > informal the young Queen is with her dressmaker. We see her love
      of
      > feathers and various hairstyles of dizzying heights. We see Marie
      > Antoinette appoint her friend the Princess de Lamballe to be
      > superintendent of her household - already favoring her close
      friends
      > for important positions.
      >
      > Thank you for this Tim. I hope you will share more excerpts so we
      > can observe how this relationship develops over the next 15 years
      > leading up and then into the climatic events of the French
      > Revolution.
      >
      > Even this first portion gives us just the brief foretaste and what
      > shall come. We have those first hints of what may lay ahead with
      the
      > rioting in 1775 over flour used for powdering the Queen's headdress
      > and fearful warnings of the Queen's mother Empress Maria Theresa.
      >
      > Axel
      >
      > --- In Images_of_Marie_Antoinette@yahoogroups.com, Tim
      > <timm_collins2002@> wrote:
      > >
      > >  
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > .
      > >
      > >     Marie- Antoinette's intimacy with her dressmaker-
      > > was the occasion of bitter
      > > censure. An amusing
      > > incident, which, however, justifies the critics,
      > > occurred
      > > during the early months of 1775 : Richard, President
      > > of the
      > > Parliament of Dijon, had a daughter, who in
      > > her character of Canoness was to
      > > receive a decoration,
      > > which the Queen had promised to confer on her
      > >
      > > herself. It was a little ceremony to which Mine.
      > > Richard, the Canoness,
      > > attached the greatest impor-
      > > tance.
      > >      On the appointed day the Queen, having
      > > com-
      > > pletely forgotten all about it, gave leave of absence to
      > > Mme.
      > > d'Ossun and Mme. de Misery, who were in
      > > attendance on her, and there was no
      > > one with her but
      > > Mile. Bertin, who had come on business.
      > > Suddenly the
      > > Queen remembered that Mme. Richard was
      > > coming, and would soon arrive. What
      > > was to be
      > > done ? Marie- Antoinette soon found a way out of
      > > the
      > > difficulty. Mme. Richard had never put her foot
      > > in the palace before, she
      > > probably never would again,
      > > and the ladies of the Court were quite unknown
      > > to
      > > her. The Queen took Rose into her room and made
      > > her put on one of her
      > > own dresses, at the same time
      > > teaching her the part she was to play in the
      > > cere-
      > > mony. She had little to do ; it was merely a question
      > > of holding a
      > > basin of water whilst the Queen placed
      > > the ribbon and cross round the new
      > > Abbess's neck.
      > > Needless to say, Rose's toilette was made amid great
      > >
      > > laughter; but when the Canoness was introduced both
      > > the Queen and her
      > > dressmaker had regained their
      > > conrposure, and the little ceremony was
      > > performed
      > > without Mme. Richard's suspicions being aroused as
      > > to the
      > > identity of the Maid of Honour.
      > >
      > >       It was about this time that the bonnets
      > > a la revoke
      > > made their appearance. At the beginning of May,
      > > 1775, the
      > > high price of flour had caused trouble, and
      > > bakers' shops were pillaged in
      > > Paris on the 3rd. The
      > > misfortunes of the people were made a pretext for a
      > >
      > > new fashion. There were also hats a la laitiere, orna-
      > > mented with
      > > ribbons and wreaths of flowers, roses and
      > > acacias, and so on. The bonnet
      > > neglige a la reine
      > > and the bonnet a la paysanne, had great success.
      > >
      > >
      > >      On May 27, 1775, an event occurred which greatly
      > > grieved the famous
      > > milliner. The Princesse de Conti
      > > died in Paris at the age of eighty-one. One
      > > might
      > > almost say that she had led Rose by the hand from
      > > the door of the
      > > Trait Galant to the palace at
      > > Versailles. It was a great blow to Mile.
      > > Bertin. She
      > > thought with affection of the day when, with hands
      > > and feet
      > > benumbed with the cold, she stood warming
      > > herself at the naming fire of the
      > > drawing-room in
      > > the Conti Palace, chatting familiarly with the good
      > >
      > > dowager, never suspecting that she was talking to
      > > one of the most
      > > powerful Princesses in France.
      > >
      > >      There was no time, however, for grief;
      > > the whirl-
      > > wind of life swept her onward. Orders poured into
      > > the shop of
      > > the Rue Saint-Honore, and the consecration
      > > of the King had been fixed for
      > > June 10, which meant
      > > a surplus of work.
      > >
      > >      It is uncertain whether Rose
      > > did or did not follow
      > > the Queen to Rheims. The "Souvenirs" of Leonard
      > >
      > > state that she did ; but, as we have seen, little faith can
      > > be put in
      > > that book. In any case, the ceremony occa-
      > > sioned but a very short break in
      > > the extravagant
      > > fashions, which revived again as soon as the Queen
      > >
      > > returned to Versailles. These eccentricities evoked
      > > the bitterest
      > > criticism, which was directed especially
      > > against the Queen. The editor of
      > > the Cabinet
      > > des Modes was a true prophet of the future when
      > > he asserted
      > > that his paper would be of service to
      > > historians, because fashion was the
      > > cancer of the age
      > > ? an age of luxury and folly, when ribbons and
      > >
      > > chiffons were the preoccupation of the wealthy 5 and
      > > while the masses
      > > were seething with pent-up anger,
      > > the anger of a people crushed by insolent
      > > luxury,
      > > enraged by the brazen dissoluteness of a heedless
      > > aristocracy,
      > > mad for pleasure, blind with pride and
      > > self-love, unconscious of the rising
      > > tide.
      > >
      > >      And yet in her distant capital, far from rumours
      > > and threats
      > > and from flattering courtiers, the Empress
      > > Maria- Theresa was conscious of
      > > the dangers which
      > > surrounded the French Queen ? her clear-sightedness
      > >
      > > penetrated the future. This remarkable and wise
      > > woman, on receiving a
      > > portrait of her daughter
      > > bedizened in Rose Bertin's best style, returned it
      > > by
      > > her Ambassador, Comte Mercy - Argenteau, with the
      > > remark : " This is
      > > not the portrait of a Queen of
      > > France ; there is some mistake, it is the
      > > portrait of
      > > an actress." It was a severe lesson, but surely not
      > >
      > > undeserved.
      > >      The Empress of Austria, far from
      > > France, was more
      > > clear-sighted than her daughter
      > > or her son-in-law, and saw the dangers
      > > ahead. She
      > > had grasped that the late King's government had
      > > greatly
      > > compromised the monarchy, that the least
      > > thing would cause the cup of
      > > bitterness to overflow,
      > > and that a Queen of France succeeding to the costly
      > >
      > > reign of a Du Barry should by her economy, her
      > > simplicity, and her
      > > virtues, efface and pay the heavy
      > > debts of the courtesan, which had fallen
      > > on the
      > > shoulders of the people instead of their King.
      > >
      > > The lesson was
      > > of no avail ; the " Meuioires Secrets,"
      > > under the date August 19, 1775, tell
      > > us that "Her
      > > Majesty looked upon the reproof as futile and too
      > > severe,
      > > the result of ill-humour caused by age and
      > > illness ; she did not think it
      > > necessary, therefore, to
      > > modify her dress, and the courtiers allege that the
      > >
      > > very next day the Queen was wearing a still higher
      > > crest of feathers.
      > > Her Majesty's weakness for this
      > > fragile ornament is such, that a young poet
      > > named
      > > Auguste, having sent a humorous poem to the
      > > Mercure, criticizing
      > > feathers, it was returned to him,
      > > as the editors feared to insert it, lest
      > > it might offend
      > > the Queen.
      > >       All stylish women naturally followed
      > > their
      > > Sovereign's example. The feather trade, which
      > > was unimportant formerly in
      > > France, is now very
      > > considerable, and at one time the stock at Lyons was
      > >
      > > temporarily exhausted."
      > >
      > >      On September 18, 1775, the Princesse de
      > > Lamballe,
      > > one of Rose's chief clients and her protectress, was
      > > appointed
      > > Superintendent of the Queen's Household,
      > > which was greatly to Mile. Bertin's
      > > advantage. She
      > > knew that the Princess would not oppose her interests,
      > >
      > > nor check an imagination given to perpetual change,
      > > which was profitable
      > > to her trade.
      > >
      > >       At this time people did not only trouble about
      > > the
      > > shape and the trimmings in fashion, for the colour
      > > of the fabrics used in
      > > making all kinds of costumes
      > > for men as well as for women changed just as
      > > fre-
      > > quently. During the summer of 1775 the fashionable
      > > colour was a
      > > kind of chestnut brown, which the
      > > Queen had chosen for a dress. When the
      > > King saw
      > > it, he exclaimed, " That is puce I" (flea-coloured).
      > > So puce
      > > became the fashion, in the town as well as
      > > at Court. Men and women ordered
      > > puce-coloured
      > > clothes, and those who did not buy new cloth or
      > > taffetas
      > > sent their old clothes to the dyers. But the
      > > colour was not always exactly
      > > the same shade, so
      > > they made a difference between old and young flea,
      > >
      > > and then made subdivisions, and you could see
      > > clothes of the colour of
      > > the flea's " back," " head,"
      > > or " thigh," and the whole country was covered
      > > with
      > > puce-coloured clothes, when (we may read this in the
      > > " Memoires
      > > Secrets ", " the
      > > merchants having offered
      > > some satins to the Queen, Her Majesty chose an ash
      > >
      > > grey, and Monsieur exclaimed that it was the colour
      > > of the Queen's hair.
      > >
      > > From that moment puce was
      > > out of fashion, and valets were despatched
      > > from
      > > Fontainebleau to Paris to procure velvet, ratteen,
      > > and cloth, of
      > > that colour, and 86 livres the ell was
      > > the price for some of these just
      > > before the Feast of
      > > St. Martin ; the usual price was from 40 to 42 livres.
      > >
      > > This anecdote, so frivolous on the surface, shows that,
      > > if the French
      > > monarch has a steady head, in spite of
      > > his youth, the courtiers are just as
      > > vain, thoughtless
      > > and petty as they were under the late King."
      > >
      > >      The
      > > Queen could in the matter of fashions allow
      > > herself certain fancies ; she
      > > did them honour. Con-
      > > temporaries are agreed in praising her air and the
      > >
      > > wonderful elegance with which she wore her clothes.
      > > Horace Walpole ? who
      > > had seen her at the wedding
      > > of Mme. Clothilde of France, wrote to his friends in England :
      > > " One has eyes for the Queen
      > > only !
      > >    The Hebes and  Floras and Helens, and the Graces, are only
      street
      > > women compared with her.
      > >  Seated or standing, she
      > > is the Statue of Beauty
      > > ; when she moves she is Grace
      > > personified. She wore a silver brocade,
      > > flowered with
      > > pink laurels, but few diamonds and feathers. They
      > > say that
      > > she does not keep time when she dances ?
      > > then the fault was in the time !
      > >  Speaking of beauties,
      > > I have seen none..... or else the Queen outshone
      > >
      > > them'
      > >
      > >
      > >   Tim Yahoo E Mail Scanned  by  Norton  
      > >
      >
    • janetcfauble
      Hi Tim, I like the story of how Rose Bertin came to be a substitute for the missing maids of honor, demonstrating a certain ability to solve sticky issues at a
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 1, 2009
        Hi Tim,

        I like the story of how Rose Bertin came to be a substitute for the
        missing maids of honor, demonstrating a certain ability to solve
        sticky issues at a young age. The fact that they giggle so much
        about is very interesting to me, as if afraid they may get caught
        doing something untoward. Yet, the story conveys to me a sense of
        responsibility and quick-wittedness. I say thumbs up for Antoinette
        on this one. Jan


        --- In Images_of_Marie_Antoinette@yahoogroups.com, Tim
        <timm_collins2002@...> wrote:
        >
        >  
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > .
        >
        >     Marie- Antoinette's intimacy with her dressmaker-
        > was the occasion of bitter
        > censure. An amusing
        > incident, which, however, justifies the critics,
        > occurred
        > during the early months of 1775 : Richard, President
        > of the
        > Parliament of Dijon, had a daughter, who in
        > her character of Canoness was to
        > receive a decoration,
        > which the Queen had promised to confer on her
        >
        > herself. It was a little ceremony to which Mine.
        > Richard, the Canoness,
        > attached the greatest impor-
        > tance.
        >      On the appointed day the Queen, having
        > com-
        > pletely forgotten all about it, gave leave of absence to
        > Mme.
        > d'Ossun and Mme. de Misery, who were in
        > attendance on her, and there was no
        > one with her but
        > Mile. Bertin, who had come on business.
        > Suddenly the
        > Queen remembered that Mme. Richard was
        > coming, and would soon arrive. What
        > was to be
        > done ? Marie- Antoinette soon found a way out of
        > the
        > difficulty. Mme. Richard had never put her foot
        > in the palace before, she
        > probably never would again,
        > and the ladies of the Court were quite unknown
        > to
        > her. The Queen took Rose into her room and made
        > her put on one of her
        > own dresses, at the same time
        > teaching her the part she was to play in the
        > cere-
        > mony. She had little to do ; it was merely a question
        > of holding a
        > basin of water whilst the Queen placed
        > the ribbon and cross round the new
        > Abbess's neck.
        > Needless to say, Rose's toilette was made amid great
        >
        > laughter; but when the Canoness was introduced both
        > the Queen and her
        > dressmaker had regained their
        > conrposure, and the little ceremony was
        > performed
        > without Mme. Richard's suspicions being aroused as
        > to the
        > identity of the Maid of Honour.
        >
        >       It was about this time that the bonnets
        > a la revoke
        > made their appearance. At the beginning of May,
        > 1775, the
        > high price of flour had caused trouble, and
        > bakers' shops were pillaged in
        > Paris on the 3rd. The
        > misfortunes of the people were made a pretext for a
        >
        > new fashion. There were also hats a la laitiere, orna-
        > mented with
        > ribbons and wreaths of flowers, roses and
        > acacias, and so on. The bonnet
        > neglige a la reine
        > and the bonnet a la paysanne, had great success.
        >
        >
        >      On May 27, 1775, an event occurred which greatly
        > grieved the famous
        > milliner. The Princesse de Conti
        > died in Paris at the age of eighty-one. One
        > might
        > almost say that she had led Rose by the hand from
        > the door of the
        > Trait Galant to the palace at
        > Versailles. It was a great blow to Mile.
        > Bertin. She
        > thought with affection of the day when, with hands
        > and feet
        > benumbed with the cold, she stood warming
        > herself at the naming fire of the
        > drawing-room in
        > the Conti Palace, chatting familiarly with the good
        >
        > dowager, never suspecting that she was talking to
        > one of the most
        > powerful Princesses in France.
        >
        >      There was no time, however, for grief;
        > the whirl-
        > wind of life swept her onward. Orders poured into
        > the shop of
        > the Rue Saint-Honore, and the consecration
        > of the King had been fixed for
        > June 10, which meant
        > a surplus of work.
        >
        >      It is uncertain whether Rose
        > did or did not follow
        > the Queen to Rheims. The "Souvenirs" of Leonard
        >
        > state that she did ; but, as we have seen, little faith can
        > be put in
        > that book. In any case, the ceremony occa-
        > sioned but a very short break in
        > the extravagant
        > fashions, which revived again as soon as the Queen
        >
        > returned to Versailles. These eccentricities evoked
        > the bitterest
        > criticism, which was directed especially
        > against the Queen. The editor of
        > the Cabinet
        > des Modes was a true prophet of the future when
        > he asserted
        > that his paper would be of service to
        > historians, because fashion was the
        > cancer of the age
        > ? an age of luxury and folly, when ribbons and
        >
        > chiffons were the preoccupation of the wealthy 5 and
        > while the masses
        > were seething with pent-up anger,
        > the anger of a people crushed by insolent
        > luxury,
        > enraged by the brazen dissoluteness of a heedless
        > aristocracy,
        > mad for pleasure, blind with pride and
        > self-love, unconscious of the rising
        > tide.
        >
        >      And yet in her distant capital, far from rumours
        > and threats
        > and from flattering courtiers, the Empress
        > Maria- Theresa was conscious of
        > the dangers which
        > surrounded the French Queen ? her clear-sightedness
        >
        > penetrated the future. This remarkable and wise
        > woman, on receiving a
        > portrait of her daughter
        > bedizened in Rose Bertin's best style, returned it
        > by
        > her Ambassador, Comte Mercy - Argenteau, with the
        > remark : " This is
        > not the portrait of a Queen of
        > France ; there is some mistake, it is the
        > portrait of
        > an actress." It was a severe lesson, but surely not
        >
        > undeserved.
        >      The Empress of Austria, far from
        > France, was more
        > clear-sighted than her daughter
        > or her son-in-law, and saw the dangers
        > ahead. She
        > had grasped that the late King's government had
        > greatly
        > compromised the monarchy, that the least
        > thing would cause the cup of
        > bitterness to overflow,
        > and that a Queen of France succeeding to the costly
        >
        > reign of a Du Barry should by her economy, her
        > simplicity, and her
        > virtues, efface and pay the heavy
        > debts of the courtesan, which had fallen
        > on the
        > shoulders of the people instead of their King.
        >
        > The lesson was
        > of no avail ; the " Meuioires Secrets,"
        > under the date August 19, 1775, tell
        > us that "Her
        > Majesty looked upon the reproof as futile and too
        > severe,
        > the result of ill-humour caused by age and
        > illness ; she did not think it
        > necessary, therefore, to
        > modify her dress, and the courtiers allege that the
        >
        > very next day the Queen was wearing a still higher
        > crest of feathers.
        > Her Majesty's weakness for this
        > fragile ornament is such, that a young poet
        > named
        > Auguste, having sent a humorous poem to the
        > Mercure, criticizing
        > feathers, it was returned to him,
        > as the editors feared to insert it, lest
        > it might offend
        > the Queen.
        >       All stylish women naturally followed
        > their
        > Sovereign's example. The feather trade, which
        > was unimportant formerly in
        > France, is now very
        > considerable, and at one time the stock at Lyons was
        >
        > temporarily exhausted."
        >
        >      On September 18, 1775, the Princesse de
        > Lamballe,
        > one of Rose's chief clients and her protectress, was
        > appointed
        > Superintendent of the Queen's Household,
        > which was greatly to Mile. Bertin's
        > advantage. She
        > knew that the Princess would not oppose her interests,
        >
        > nor check an imagination given to perpetual change,
        > which was profitable
        > to her trade.
        >
        >       At this time people did not only trouble about
        > the
        > shape and the trimmings in fashion, for the colour
        > of the fabrics used in
        > making all kinds of costumes
        > for men as well as for women changed just as
        > fre-
        > quently. During the summer of 1775 the fashionable
        > colour was a
        > kind of chestnut brown, which the
        > Queen had chosen for a dress. When the
        > King saw
        > it, he exclaimed, " That is puce I" (flea-coloured).
        > So puce
        > became the fashion, in the town as well as
        > at Court. Men and women ordered
        > puce-coloured
        > clothes, and those who did not buy new cloth or
        > taffetas
        > sent their old clothes to the dyers. But the
        > colour was not always exactly
        > the same shade, so
        > they made a difference between old and young flea,
        >
        > and then made subdivisions, and you could see
        > clothes of the colour of
        > the flea's " back," " head,"
        > or " thigh," and the whole country was covered
        > with
        > puce-coloured clothes, when (we may read this in the
        > " Memoires
        > Secrets ", " the
        > merchants having offered
        > some satins to the Queen, Her Majesty chose an ash
        >
        > grey, and Monsieur exclaimed that it was the colour
        > of the Queen's hair.
        >
        > From that moment puce was
        > out of fashion, and valets were despatched
        > from
        > Fontainebleau to Paris to procure velvet, ratteen,
        > and cloth, of
        > that colour, and 86 livres the ell was
        > the price for some of these just
        > before the Feast of
        > St. Martin ; the usual price was from 40 to 42 livres.
        >
        > This anecdote, so frivolous on the surface, shows that,
        > if the French
        > monarch has a steady head, in spite of
        > his youth, the courtiers are just as
        > vain, thoughtless
        > and petty as they were under the late King."
        >
        >      The
        > Queen could in the matter of fashions allow
        > herself certain fancies ; she
        > did them honour. Con-
        > temporaries are agreed in praising her air and the
        >
        > wonderful elegance with which she wore her clothes.
        > Horace Walpole ? who
        > had seen her at the wedding
        > of Mme. Clothilde of France, wrote to his friends in England :
        > " One has eyes for the Queen
        > only !
        >    The Hebes and  Floras and Helens, and the Graces, are only street
        > women compared with her.
        >  Seated or standing, she
        > is the Statue of Beauty
        > ; when she moves she is Grace
        > personified. She wore a silver brocade,
        > flowered with
        > pink laurels, but few diamonds and feathers. They
        > say that
        > she does not keep time when she dances ?
        > then the fault was in the time !
        >  Speaking of beauties,
        > I have seen none..... or else the Queen outshone
        >
        > them'
        >
        >
        >   Tim Yahoo E Mail Scanned  by  Norton  
        >
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