maandag 28 mei 2012

Jardin de la Malmaison

Pierre-Joseph Redouté was hired with botantist Étienne Pierre Ventenat to document the vast plant collection of Joséphine de Beauharnais at Château de Malmaison. With the help of engravers, the illustrations were compiled in Jardin de la Malmaison, a book Ventenat authored. This massive undertaking was published in twenty parts in 1803. The above engraving of Nymphaeaceae caerulea, based on Redouté's painting on parchment, comes from the book. redoute-nymphaeaceae-caerulea

zondag 27 mei 2012


Amethysts are well represented in the royal families of Europe; with hues ranging from light purple to deep, vibrant purple. The most magnificent set of amethysts, at least according to this humble author, belongs to the Swedish royal family. The amethysts, which are part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, date to the first French Empire. They were originally the property of the Empress Josephine, who in turn gave them to Princess Augusta Amalia of Bavaria when she married Josephine’s son, Eugene de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg. 
heir daughter Josephine of Leuchtenberg married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden, later becoming Queen of Sweden. Incidentally, Oscar was the son of King Charles XIV John of Sweden and his wife Désirée, who was originally engaged to Napoleon Bonaparte; she had broken it off upon meeting the man she would eventually marry, becoming the Queen Consort of Sweden and Norway.

Upon her marriage to Crown Prince Oscar, Josephine brought with her an astounding collection of jewels, which included the Swedish sapphire parure, the emeralds which are now part of the Norwegian royal jewel collection, and the amethysts. The original demi-parure consisted of a necklace, pendant earrings, two bracelets, a brooch, and a corsage ornament. Queen Silvia later had the necklace mounted on a tiara frame, and the two bracelets combined with the corsage ornament to create a necklace. This provided the Swedish royal family with an amethyst tiara, necklace, pendant, brooch, and earrings. This set comprises exquisitely large amethysts of the deepest and most desirable shades of purple which are set in gold, surrounded by diamonds set in silver. Queen Silvia wore the amethysts to the wedding of the Crown Prince of Denmark (here) and to the 1984 Nobel Prize award ceremony (here);  

Crown Princess Victoria  has also worn them (she is seen here wearing the tiara and earrings, and here wearing the necklace without the drop pendant, together with the brooch and earrings). the royal universe

vrijdag 25 mei 2012

De Pompéi à Malmaison

                  In een villa te Pompeji werden de muzen in fresco's afgebeeld.
                  Joséphine verwierf ze voor haar collectie op Malmaison

Eind vorig jaar reisde ik naar Chateau de Malmaison bij Parijs om de tentoonstelling De Pompéi à Malmaison (inmiddels afgelopen) over de archeologische verzameling van keizerin Joséphine te zien. Voor het eerst kan men daar de kostbaarheden bewonderen die uit de as van de Vesuvius werden opgedolven om in het buitenverblijf van Joséphine te pronken.  
De keizerin stelde een conservator aan om haar collectie te beheren, te catalogiseren en illustreren. Haar interesse reikte van het oude Egypte, het aardewerk van de oude Grieken tot de wapens en gebruiksvoorwerpen van gladiatoren in Pompeji.
(klik). historisch-toerisme-bureau

woensdag 23 mei 2012

Wedding Napoleon and Marie Louise

Like her grand-aunt Marie-Antoinette, Marie-Louise had to strip off her Austrian clothes upon crossing the French border, and was presented with a new, splendid trousseau (complete set of clothing, shoes and undergarments for all occasions.) Caroline Bonaparte, Queen of Naples and Napoléon’s sister, had been put in charge of greeting the bride at the border.

So Marie-Louise wore the wedding clothes that had been chosen for her in France: a magnificent dress of silvertulle, embroidered with pearls and gold thread, and hemmed with gold fringe. A diamond tiara held a veil of Alençon lace over her blonde hair.
Marie-Louise wore white satin slippers, embroidered in silver thread. There was a minor, or not so minor from her standpoint, problem. Maybe due to a miscommunication between Vienna and Paris, the dainty shoes had been ordered too small and caused the new Empress a great deal of pain.
Read more  catherinedelors/empress-marie-louises-wedding-gown/

The Marie-Louise diadem, now part of the Smithsonian Collection, was a wedding gift from Napoleon I to his second wife, Empress Marie-Louise in 1810. The diadem was originally part of a set that also included a necklace, comb, belt buckle, and earrings, all made of emeralds and diamonds set in silver and gold. They were all made by French Jeweler Etienne Nitot et Fils of Paris. marie-louis-

Read also: marie-louise-of-austria

zaterdag 19 mei 2012

Shepherds, I have lost my waist; Have ye seen my body.

"After the Revolution, woman's costume in France moved towards simplicity and freedom from both moral and physical restrictions. The new mode was pioneered by Medames Recamier and Tallien who were the leaders of the new Parisian social set known as as les merveilleuses. The ladies' clothes showed a much more definite break with the past the did those of their male counterparts, les incroyables. Panniers, bum-rolls, corsets and even petticoats were abandoned completely. From 1790 to the turn of the century, woman wore a style known asrobe en chemise which, as the name suggests, resembles the undergarment of the previous century. Never since the ancient Egypt had society ladies never seen in such a state of undress. So sheer was the material used for these gowns that, for the sake of decency, they were sometimes worn with flesh-coloured tights. The robe en chemise worn with open sandals was an attempt by Parisian ladies to copy the costume of the ancient Greeks.
They looked towards Greece not only for aesthetic inspiration but also for a philosophy upon which to base their new republic. In fact this outfit bore only the most superficial resemblance to the Greek chiton. No self-respecting Greek woman would ever have appeared in public in this state of near nudity. During the early 1790s he gown was at its very simplest, a slender shift of sheer muslin, gathered at the neck and under the breasts which gave it an extremely short waist, in contrast to the elongated waists of the previous decade. This became a feature of the early nineteenth century which, together with the sheerness of the fabric, led to the famous couplet:

Read more: history-of-fashion

donderdag 17 mei 2012

Marie-Antoinette’s private jewelry collection

The Marie-Antoinette Blue Diamond: Marie-Antoinette’s private jewelry collection contained a 5.64 carat blue heart shaped diamond which the queen had set in a ring. The queen gave the ring to her close friend Princess Lobomirska, shortly before her trail in 1791. After the Polish princess died her estate was passed to her four daughters. The diamond became the property of Count Wladimir Potocki through his marriage to one of the daughters. The blue diamond was displayed at a number of prestigious exhibitions throughout the 19th century. In 1967 it was sold to a private collector at the Palais Galliera in Paris, and in 1983 it came up for auction at Christie’s in Geneva. It belongs to a private collector in Europe and is not on displayed to the public.

Marie-Antoinette's ear-drops, Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. lady reading/marieantoinette

woensdag 16 mei 2012

Lock of Joséphine’s hair


This lock of Joséphine’s hair was collected by her private physician, Dr. Lamoureux, on the day of her death, May 29, 1814. Historical Provenance - Prince Murat collection.

zaterdag 12 mei 2012

Maisons d'éducation de la Légion d'honneur

The "château d'Écouen"
During Napoleon's reign as Emperor of the French, there were many military schools that educated boys to make them soldiers, but the girls' education was neglected, as the National Convention had closed all convents which ensured education for girls. Napoleon created the Maisons d'éducation de la Légion d'honneur to take care the daughters - among whom many were orphans - of his best soldiers and educate them. His first project was to create a school both for sons and daughters of the soldiers dead in the Battle of Austerlitz, but this project, presented on December 7, 1805, was finally cancelled.[1]
The decree creating the Maisons d'éducation de la Légion d'honneur was signed by Napoleon on December 15, 1805, in the Schönbrunn Palace. It allowed the creation of three schools where daughters of members of the Légion d'honneur could enter if they were between 7 and 10 years old, and went out of them at 21.[1]

Napoleon appointed Jeanne-Louise-Henriette Campan, former readers of the daughters of Louis XV and lady of the bedchamber of Queen Marie-Antoinette, headmistress of the first Maison d'éducation de la Légion d'Honneur. From 1794, Mrs Campan had ruled a boarding school for girls in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and had had among her pupils Hortense de BeauharnaisStéphanie de BeauharnaisPauline Bonaparte and Caroline Bonaparte. She wanted Napoleon to set the school in Saint-Germain, but he chose the "Château d'Écouen", which had been a property of the Légion d'honneur since July 6, 1806.[1

woensdag 9 mei 2012

Adèle (1788-1813), later Madame de Broc,

A beautiful portrait of Adélaïde Genet, Madame Auguié (1758-1794), the sister of Madame Campan and one of the last femme de chambre of Marie Antoinette.

Along with Madame Campan, Adélaïde remained with the royal family until the very end, leaving only in  August 1792 when they left the Tuileries and were taken to the Temple. Faithful, loyal Madame Auguié’s final act for her mistress was to slip her 25 Louis, knowing that money would now be in short supply for the beleagured, unfortunate Queen.

This beautiful pastel is by Adèle Auguié and depicts her sister Aglaé and Hortense de Beauharnais. It was probably drawn while the three girls were pupils at Madame Campan’s school together.

Sadly, Madame Auguié was so distressed and overset by the execution of her former mistress, Marie Antoinette and so terrified by the prospect of her own inevitable arrest that she committed suicide by self defenestration on the 26th July 1794, leaving three young daughters: Antoinette (1780-1833), Aglaé (1782-1854) who would marry the celebrated Marshal Ney on the 5th August 1802 and Adèle (1788-1813), later Madame de Broc, who was to be best friends with Hortense de Beauharnais.

Stèle élevée en  mémoire  Adèle de Broc

Sadly, the lovely Baronne de Broc, who seems to have been adored by all who knew her was to die at the age of twenty five in a tragic accident on the 10th June 1813, while visiting the waterfall at Grésy at the Gorges de Sierroz with Hortense and another lady in waiting, Madame Parquin. It seems that the ladies were crossing the ravine by the waterfall on a narrow plank of wood which overturned when Madame de Broc pressed her parasol down upon it, sending her to her death. Hortense desperately tried in vain to save her friend by throwing her shawl into the water but was too late. She was devastated by Adèle’s death and erected monuments to her both at the Gorges and also on her estate at Saint Leu.

dinsdag 8 mei 2012

Mme Campan

Le jardin et la salle des exercices
 de l’instution des exercices de l’instution
 Mme Campan à Saint-Germain-en-Layeye

Hortense kwam op het bekende meisjespensionaat van Mme Campan - voormalig hofdame van Marie Antoinette – waar ze een uitstekende opleiding kreeg.

Mme Campan

Ze leerde er naast de gebruikelijke vakken ook musiceren, dansen, toneelspelen en kreeg schilder- en tekenlessen van Jean Baptiste Isabey. Hortense blonk overal in uit en kon ook nog het hardst hollen van de hele klas. Een grote gebeurtenis in haar kinderleven was, dat ze gekozen werd tot Liefste Kind van de School en als onderscheiding een kunstroos mocht dragen. Maar haar moeder kwam haar nooit bewonderen.

Jeanne-Louise-Henriette Campan, born Henriette Genet (6 October[1] 1752, Paris - 16 March 1822, Mantes) was a French educator and lady-in-waiting to Queen Marie Antoinette before and during the French Revolution.
Her father, whose name was Genest, was first clerk in the foreign office, and, although without fortune, placed her in the most cultivated society. At the age of fifteen she could speak English and Italian, and had gained so high a reputation for her accomplishments as to be appointed reader to the three daughters of Louis XV in 1768, and lady in waiting to Marie Antionette in 1770. At court she was a general favorite, and when she in 1774 bestowed her hand upon M. Campan, son of the secretary of the royal cabinet, the king gave her an annuity of 5000 livres as dowry. The marriage was unhappy and the couple separated in 1790. She was appointed first lady of the bedchamber by Marie Antoinette in 1786; and she continued to be her attendant until she was forcibly separated from her at the storming of the Tuileries on 10 August 1792. Her own house was attacked on this occasion, and she sought refuge in the country side.
Jeanne Campan survived the dangers of the Terror, but after the 9th of Thermidor finding herself almost penniless, and being thrown on her own resources by the illness of her spouse, she determined to support herself by establishing a school at St Germain. The institution prospered, and was patronized by Hortense de Beauharnais, whose influence lead to the appointment of Madame Campan as superintendent of the academy founded by Napoleon at Écouen for the education of the daughters and sisters of members of the Legion of Honor in 1807. This post she held until it was abolished at the restoration of the Bourbons in 1814, when she retired to Mantes, where she spent the rest of her life amid the kind attentions of affectionate friends, but saddened by the loss of her only son, and by the calumnies circulated on account of her connexion with the Bonapartes.
She died in 1822, leaving valuable Mémoires sur la vie privée de Marie Antoinette, suivis de souvenirs et anecdotes historiques sur les règnes de Louis XIV.-XV. (Paris, 1823); a treatise De l'Education des Femmes; and one or two small didactic works, written in a clear and natural style. The most noteworthy thing in her educational system, and that which especially recommended it to Napoleon, was the place given to domestic economy in the education of girls. At Écouen the pupils underwent a complete training in all branches of housework.  wiki/Jeanne-Louise-Henriette_Campan

zaterdag 5 mei 2012

Death of Napoleon 5 may 1821

Napoleon Bonaparte, revolutionary general and Emperor of the French, died on May 5, 1821, after a six-year exile on the South Atlantic island of St. Helena.
An autopsy conducted after the death of Napoleon Bonaparte stated that he had died of stomach cancer. But advanced studies conducted in 1961 found some evidence of arsenic in the ruler’s hair. Soon the rumors of poisoning ran rife. British on their part had many motives to kill Napoleon too. But recently conducted medical investigations over the death of Napoleon confirmed that the Emperor had indeed died of natural causes.

Napoleon lived in this residence on St. Helena from 1816 to 1821. (Photo by John Ekwall)

donderdag 3 mei 2012

Jean Baptiste Isabey

Jean-Baptiste Isabey et sa fille, doorFrançois Gérard

During the Directory period Isabey frequented drawing rooms of Mme Tallien, Mme de Stael and Mme Récamier, becoming a friend both of the young general Bonaparte and his wife Josephine - he was later to be appointed drawing master to Josephine's children Hortense and Eugène. 

Painting Name: The Empress Josephine 1808

Over the years, Isabey amassed many titles and became successively: painter and draughtsman for His Majesty's cabinet; painter and draughtsman for ceremonies and foreign relations (one of notable tasks in this respect was to oversee the coronation); organiser of public festivals and fêtes at the Tuileries; draughtsman of the Seal and of Titles; first painter of the empress Josephine's chamber; decorator for the imperial theatres; and drawing teacher to the empress Marie-Louise, in which role he succeeded Prud'hon. This latter job brought him welcome security and his pleasant nature made him soon very popular with Napoleon's new wife; as a close acquaintance of Josephine's, he had been concerned about his position after the divorce. 

Jean-Baptiste Isabey, Portrait inachevé de l’Impératrice Marie-Louise, Aquarelle et mince de plomb, 0,25 x 0,145. Musée national du Château, Fontainebleau © Rmn / Gérard Blot

After Napoleon's marriage to Marie-Louise in 1810, Isabey became drawing master to the new Empress. Isabey painted Marie-Louise several times. Indeed, at the Salon of 1810 two watercolour portraits of Marie-Louise and Napoleon in their marriage costume were displayed; they were subsequently sent to Francis I of Austria (Schatzkammer, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). In 1811, the birth of the King of Rome, gave him the opportunity to commemorate the scene of the presentation of the child by the new mother to Napoleon. He also produced miniatures and in 1812 executed a portrait of Marie-Louise and other members of her family (painting them in Vienna - these portraits are now in the Albertina Museum).

In 1814, Isabey remained faithful to Napoléon, despite being much affected by the death of his seventeen-year-old son during the Campagne de France. At Fontainebleau, the emperor enjoined the artist to serve Louis XVIII as energetically as he had served him.


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