HORTENSE de BEAUHARNAIS

DAUGHTER OF AN EMPRESS
QUEEN OF HOLLAND
MOTHER OF AN EMPEROR

dinsdag 20 maart 2012

The greatest harmony existed in the rue Cerutti.

Pierre Felix Cottrau - The Salon of Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837) 
 
In the morning, no visitors were admitted. Hortense and Adele devoted themselves to drawing and painting. They dined alone. In the evening, the doors of the house were thrown open to Hortense's friends. One could enjoy a little music, or one could play billiards and one could always talk. At ten o'clock tea was served, and the conversation was often so enthralling that it was midnight or one in the morning before the party broke up.

 
Hortense had always disliked the stiff pattern of the old-regime salon, a circle of chairs around the fireplace, with seats for the ladies, while the gentlemen stood uncomfortably. There was a big round table in the middle of Hortense's room, at which everyone could sit down and on which books and fancy work could be spread out. The men did not need to wear tight-fitting uniforms; the women did not need to display a complete harness of jewels. The Bonapartes criticized the informality of Hortense's way of entertaining, and she was afraid that the Emperor, with his growing fondness for ceremony, might disapprove, but he only said, "I
hear that at your house you have an open market for wit/' and she knew he would not interfere. Though she had a large reception every Monday and occasionally gave a ball, invitations to Hortense's small evening parties were much sought after.
Hortense would have been glad to live privately, but, as a member of the Emperor's family in good standing, she had to make frequent appearances in public.

 Salon Malmaison
 
Hortense also made frequent trips to La Malmaison, where Josephine kept open housefor her faithful friends, always glad to see her daughter and her grandchildren, to whom, at every
visit, she gave extravagant presents. daughter to Napoleon

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