Palais du Luxembourg, the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic.
As Napoleon's chief residence, the Tuileries Palace was redecorated in the Neoclassical Empire style by Percier and Fontaine and some of the best known architects, designers, and furniture makers of the day.
In 1809, Jacob-Desmalter, principal supplier of furniture to the Emperor, began work on a jewel cabinet designed for the Empress Joséphine's great bedroom in the Tuileries (and soon to be used by Marie-Louise). Designed by the architect Charles Percier, this impressive piece of furniture was embellished with several gilt-bronze ornaments: the central panel depicts the "Birth of the Queen of the Earth to whom Cupids and Goddesses hasten with their Offerings" by thebronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire, after a bas-relief by Chaudet. Jacob-Desmalter completed the "great jewelry box" in 1812, with two smaller items of furniture in the same style but using woods from rainforests in China.
After Napoléon's divorce, Pierre Paul Prud'hon, was commissioned to design the apartments of his new wife, Marie-Louise. For the bridal suite of the new Empress, he designed all the furniture and interior decorations in a Greek Revival style.
Josephine de Beauharnaisfrom a miniature
With the entry of Bonaparte into the Tuileries, the revolution closed, and blissful days of tranquillity and gay festivity followed. Josephine and Hortense were the cynosure of all these festivals, for they were, likewise, the animating centre whence the grace and beauty, the attractive charm, and the intellectual significance of them all, proceeded.
Hortense was passionately fond of dancing, and no one at "the court of Josephine" tripped it with such gracefulness and such enchanting delicacy as she. Now, as the reader will observe, people already began to speak of the "court" of Madame Bonaparte, the powerful wife of the First Consul of France. Now, also, _audiences_ were held, and Josephine and Hortense already had a court retinue who approached them with the same subserviency and humility as though they had been princesses of the blood.
Bonaparte's coachmen and servants had now a livery, and made their appearance in green coats with gold embroidery and galloons. There were chamberlains and lackeys, grooms and outriders; splendid dinners and evening parties were given, and the ambassadors of foreign powers were received in solemn audience; for, now, all the European states had recognized the French Republic under the consulate, and, as Bonaparte had concluded peace with England and Austria, these two great powers also sent envoys to the court of the mighty consul.
Instead of warlike struggles, the Tuileries now witnessed contentions of the toilet, and _powder or no powder_ was one of the great questions of etiquette in which Josephine gave the casting vote when she said that "every one should dress as seemed best and most becoming to each, but yet endeavor to let good taste pervade the selection."
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