On Catherine the Great and Smallpox | toritto

‘… Let us speak of Catherine the Great, Autocrat and Empress of all Russia…

‘Catherine had seen first hand the ravages of smallpox.  Catherine herself was spared but she saw the horrors of smallpox and probably decided to make efforts to spare her people from the kind of suffering she saw when ascending the throne.  An “enlightened” monarch with a great interest in science and the enlightenment literature of the age, she would lead Russia into its golden age converting it from a backward nation into a …’

Source: On Catherine the Great and Smallpox | toritto

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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