France Before the Revolution – For Bastille Day | toritto

The Queen’s Chamber at Versailles

The Queen’s Chamber at Versailles

…Versailles had all the pomp and pageantry of power.  The Court was composed of some 18,000 people, perhaps 16,000 of whom were attached to personal service of the King [Louis XVI] and his family with some 2,000 being courtiers, the favored guests – nobles engaged in a daily round of pleasures who were also feathering their nests seeking favors from …

Source: France Before the Revolution – For Bastille Day | toritto

John Wilkes and Knighton Gorges Manor House – All Things Georgian

John Wilkes’s Cottage [near Sandown Fort] on the Isle of Wight. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

In the late eighteenth-century, John Wilkes, journalist, radical and politician, took a cottage on the Isle of Wight in which he installed his middle-aged mistress Amelia Arnold and subsequently he…

Source: John Wilkes and Knighton Gorges Manor House – All Things Georgian

The Guillotine: Does death by decapitation equal instant death? | A R T L▼R K

On the 17th of June 1939, Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, was guillotined in Versailles outside Saint-Pierre prison. He was the last person to be guillotined in public. Since then, until the …

Source: The Guillotine: Does death by decapitation equal instant death? | A R T L▼R K

June 10, 1793: At the Zoo | Wretched Richard’s Almanac

Originally created as a royal herb garden in the 1600s, the Jardin des Plantes opened in 1793. During the following year a ménagerie was added, the world’s first and, still in existence, toda…

Source: June 10, 1793: At the Zoo | Wretched Richard’s Almanac

Jeanne de La Motte-Valois

The Characters #1: Jeanne de La Motte-Valois de St Remy (July 1756 – August 1791)

jeanne-de-la-motteJeanne de Valois de St Remy was born in the provinces, near the town of Bar-Sur-Aube, France. Her family were impoverished nobility, living in the ramshackle Chateau de Fontette. One of her ancestors, Henri de Saint-Remy, was born in 1557, the illegitimate son of Henri II of France. His descendants were given the surname “Saint-Remy” and this Henri was made Baron of Fontette. Several generations later, the family was in dire financial straits. They had kept themselves alive through a tradition of military service, but Jeanne’s father did not carry on this tradition. He married one of the maids as the family fortunes sank even lower. Jeanne had an older brother, a younger sister who died as a young child, and a sister who was near her age. Her family ended up walking to Paris to try to make their way with only a paper outlining their pedigree. The father died, the mother abandoned her children, and Jeanne and her brother were forced to…

Source: Jeanne de La Motte-Valois

Foreshades of Grey (11)


 or, Behind the Rococo Clock Face

detaildetail of Boucher’s 1756 portrait of Madame de Pompadour

Among the learned books in Madame de Pompadour’s library, there was a unique volume about the rivers of France which had been written, and some of it printed, many years before by a diligent and inquisitive eight year old boy, based on his lessons in geography and typography.

Louis XV’s Cours des principaux fleuves et rivières de l’Europe (Courses of the Principal Rivers and Streams of Europe), written in 1718, which the adult man gave to his mistress as a token of the conscientious king that the playboy of Versailles had once wanted to be, survives in the Bibliothèque nationale.

The little print shop, which was built for Louis XV in the Tuileries nearly sixty-five years before Marie Antoinette’s fantasy-farm was installed at Le Petit Trianon, had a serious educative purpose to instill…

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Charlotte Corday and the Murder of Marat | Madame Guillotine

Originally posted on Madame Guillotine.

At 7am on the morning of Sunday, the 13th July 1793, a young woman, just twenty-five years of age, with neatly arranged curling chestnut hair and clear blue eyes walked with a firm and steady tread through the already busy sun warmed streets of Paris from her lodging, room 7 in the Hôtel de la Providence, 19 Rue Hérold, to the arcades of the Palais Royal. We don’t know what thoughts ran through her head as she strolled purposely along, perhaps stirring lines written by her great great great grandfather, the celebrated playwright Pierre Corneille, or perhaps she stopped every now and again to enjoy the bustle and excitement that attended the preparations for the next day’s celebration of the fourth anniversary of the fall of the Bastille.

The elegant arcades of the former Royal palace were decorated for the occasion with tricolor banners, while the trees planted in the famous gardens were bedecked with tricolor ribbons that floated slightly in the morning breeze, while everywhere the woman looked she saw young people like herself laughing and smiling as they sang patriotic songs and looked forward to the festivities.

Marie-Anne-Charlotte de Corday d’Armont was not a Parisienne, despite the undoubted elegance of her brown striped silk dress, but was one of the last scions of a somewhat diminished aristocratic family from Caen in Normandy. The street vendor who sold her a newspaper before she…

via Charlotte Corday and the Murder of Marat | Madame Guillotine.

Jacques Cathelineau

History's Untold Treasures

Jacques Cathelineau, the Saint of Anjou

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Jacques Cathelineau, one of the great generals of the War of the Vendée. I think my favorite story about him is that he was in the middle of baking bread for his wife and five children when the Vendéens asked him to join their army. Below is an excerpt from an excellent article from Mad Monarchist about this “Saint of Anjou”. Enjoy and Vive le Roi! 

H/T Mad Monarchist 

“Jacques Cathelineau, known as the Saint of Anjou, was one of the leaders of the great royalist counterrevolution in the Vendee region of France. The revolutionaries like to speak of themselves as the champions of the “common man” against elitist tyranny and yet it was the common people who suffered most from their bloodlust and it was often common people who were prominent in fighting against the…

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The Leveller


MarieAntoinetteBM Jean-Francois Janinet, Marie Antoinette, a print after Jean-Baptiste-André Gautier-Dagoty France, 1777 © The Trustees of the British Museum

Nothing becomes a rich person so ill as telling a poor one that money can’t buy happiness, but I sympathize with them that it doesn’t always buy beauty or good taste.  Looking at the clothes in Harvey Nichols the other day, for the first time in seven years, I have never seen so much I didn’t want.* It is consoling to know that you can dress just as sluttily or frumpily from the local mall as you can from Knightsbridge.

But where is exquisite wearable art to be found in London today if it’s not in “premier luxury retail”? It doesn’t matter that the prices are out of my reach – the famous department stores have the power to inspire us all by showcasing the best, not dumb fashion down. Capitalism is…

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