zondag 21 december 2014


The Josephine's House, building dating the XVIIIth century. Under the terror, Joséphine de Beauharnais left Paris with his two children, Eugène and Hortense to take refuge with the first floor of this house, from 1792 till 1794, accommodated by Mrs Campan, educator of the children of Louis XV and first chambermaid of Marie-Antoinette.
It is occupied by private individuals today and shelters the Museum of the Sleepsuit at the ground floor. grenouillere-museum

6 August, 1794: Rose, now a widow, was freed from the Carmes prison after the fall of Robespierre (28 July) and stayed in Paris. It is possible that, as she had trouble finding somewhere to stay, Rose may have spent some time in Fontainebleau before returning to Croissy with Hortense. Eugène was to follow the General Hoche. napoleon




zaterdag 13 december 2014

‘Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte,’ by Kate Williams

This year marks the bicentennial of the death of Josephine Bonaparte, but Napoleon’s empress has been having a moment for some time now. In the past two decades, she has starred in at least 20 new biographies, six museum exhibitions and six novels. Three editions of her correspondence have also appeared during this time, as have many more studies (of Napoleon and other Bonapartes) in which she features. The latest addition to this corpus is “Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte,” by Kate Williams, a biographer of Queen Victoria and Emma Hamilton. Beyond her appreciation for “flawed, vulnerable, engaging, powerful” women, Williams does not seem to have a compelling reason to tell this story. In the absence of new material or a new approach, she offers a breathless paean to the woman who, while “no great beauty,” could with “one twitch of her skirt . . . enthrall the man who terrorized Europe.” Read more: review/ambition-and-desire-the-dangerous-life-of-josephine-bonaparte-by-kate-williams

zaterdag 22 november 2014

Courvoisier lines up Christmas treats

For those with more modest budgets, the house has released 10 bottles of Courvoisier Réserve 1978, housed in a “vintage” bottle dating from the early 20th century, which carries an RRP of £1,100.
A rather larger scale release at 50 bottles is the Courvoisier Heritage De Louis Renard, which represents a blend of Cognacs laid down between 1869 and 1914. Packaged in Baccarat crystal decanters, the expression carries an RRP of £7,500.
The smallest release of all is the L’Esprit de The smallest release of all is the L’Esprit de Joséphine, of which just 8 Lalique decanters have been released with an RRP of £9,715 each. Inspired by French empress Joséphine de Beauharnais and her rose garden, the expression has been created from a selection of 19th and 20th century Cognac from Borderies, a region which traditionally offers a particularly floral style. courvoisier-lines-up-christmas-treats

woensdag 19 november 2014


RUEIL-MALMAISON, France — When Napoleon’s first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, bought the Château de Malmaison as a country refuge for themselves in 1799, she created a style that still influences this leafy community a few kilometers west of Paris. An amateur botanist with a taste from her Martinique childhood for rare and exotic plants, Joséphine was an avid collector of unusual species. During her 15 years of residence, she created an ambitious experimental garden where she introduced more than 200 new varieties to France, including the dahlia, the tree peony, the hibiscus and the camellia. To cultivate this precious collection, she built an orangery and several vast greenhouses. At Joséphine’s death, in 1814, Malmaison’s park covered 726 hectares, or 1,794 acres, and included two other chateaus. Parts were sold off over the years and, today, the Malmaison chateau is a French museum surrounded by six hectares of grounds.
Read more: orangerie-part-of-josphines-garden-at-malmaisonr=0

Assassin’s Creed Unity 101 Trailer [US]

Volgende week verschijnt 'Assassin's Creed: Unity', de zevende aflevering uit Ubisofts reeks historische thrillers over de eeuwenlange strijd tussen twee geheime genootschappen. De setting is vanzelfsprekend opnieuw een belangrijk moment in de wereldgeschiedenis, en het decor is - voor het eerst in drie jaar tijd - terug een grote wereldstad: Parijs, namelijk, ten tijde van de Franse Revolutie.
Le collier de perles de Joséphine de Beauharnais, reine de Norvège et de Suède, en vente chez Sotheby’s à Genève le 12 novembre 2014. Read more: parismatch

Een parelketting, uit de collectie van Joséphine de Beauharnais, koningin van Zweden en Noorwegen (1807-1876). Joséphine erfde de ketting van Prinses Augusta van Bavaria, Hertogin van Leuchtenberg (1788-1856). Augusta ontving de ketting hoogstwaarschijnlijk weer uit een gift van haar schoonmoeder, Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814), de eerst vrouw van Napoleon Bonaparte en de Keizerin van de Fransen.

donderdag 16 oktober 2014

Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg

 Map of Europe after the Congress of Vienna, 1815.
Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg (German: Augusta Amalia Ludovika Georgia von Bayern) (Strasbourg, 21 June 1788 – Munich, 13 May 1851) was the second child and eldest daughter of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Although originally promised in marriage to the heir of Baden, Charles, the engagement was broken at the behest of Napoleon I of France. On 14 January 1806 in Munich, Augusta married Eugène de Beauharnais, only son of Josephine de Beauharnais and Alexandre, vicomte de Beauharnais and stepson of Napoleon. Although a diplomatic marriage, this union would turn out to be a happy one. In 1817, Augusta's father created his son-in-law Duke of Leuchtenberg and Prince of Eichstädt, with the style Royal Highness.
Augusta and Eugène had seven children:

woensdag 15 oktober 2014

Amélie of Leuchtenberg

She was the granddaughter of Josephine de Beauharnais, Empress of the French. Her father, Eugène de Beauharnais, was the only male child of Empress Josephine and her first husband Alexandre de Beauharnais and stepson of Napoleon Bonaparte. The mother of Empress Amélie was Princess Augusta Amélia, daughter of Maximilian I, King of Bavaria.

Emperor Pedro I of Brazil (King Pedro IV of Portugal, usually referred to as Dom Pedro) sent the Marquês de Barbacena to Europe to find him a second wife. Amélie came from a particularly distinguished and ancient line on her mother's side, the Wittelsbachs, but her father, linked to Napoleon Bonaparte, was not generally recognized as a Royal because of the hatred still arrayed against the onetime French Emperor in much of Europe. However, that was her sole "defect". The princess was tall, very beautiful, well proportioned, with a delicate face. She had blues eyes[4] and a brownish-golden hair.[5]

Amélie's mother foresaw the difficulties her daughter might face, and prepared her well. Besides a good dowry and trousseau, she gave her a great deal of advice, recommending that she be demonstrative of her feelings and overcome any timidity so as not to discourage her husband, that she be loving toward her stepchildren, and above all that she remain faithful, as empress, to the interests of the Brazilians. Scientist Carl Friedrich von Martius was sent with her on her journey to teach her about Brazil, and the Ana Romana de Aragão Calmon, Countess of Itapagipe, to familiarize her with her husband's personality and the customs of the Brazilian court, and to teach her Portuguese.[2]
In January 1830 the new empress was formally presented in court, with a dance at which all of the ladies dressed in pink, the empress's favorite color.

Upon settling into the imperial palace, the Paço de São Cristóvão, and perceiving what she considered an inadequate standard of protocol, Amélie established French as the court language and adopted a ceremonial modeled after European courts. She sought to update the cuisine and fashion, redecorated the palace, acquired new tableware and silverware, and attempted to refine the manners of the court. She achieved at least a partial success in this last, and the elegance of the Empress, always impeccably dressed, became internationally famous.[7] Their marriage was a happy one, unlike Dom Pedro's first, and she reportedly had a good relationship with her legitimate stepchildren as well. Her beauty, good sense, and kindness promptly won the affections of both her husband and his children by his first marriage.

After Dom Pedro I abdicated the crown, Amélie accompanied her husband back to Europe. They now held the titles of Duke and Duchess of Bragança. Amélie soon established residence in Paris, with Maria da Glória and with Dom Pedro's illegitimate daughter Isabel Maria, Duchess of Goiás, whom Amélie ended up adopting as her own daughter.[11] On 30 November 1831 Amélie gave birth to Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil (Maria Amélia de Bragança), who would prove to be her only child.[2]

Meanwhile, Dom Pedro I, as Duke of Bragança, began a bloody battle against his brother Dom Miguel I (Michael of Portugal) for the Portuguese crown, in the name of his daughter Maria da Glória.[2] Upon receiving the news of the Duke's victory in Lisbon, Amélie left with her daughter and stepdaughter for Portugal, arriving in the capital 22 September 1833.[13] With Miguel defeated and exiled from Portugal, Dom Pedro and his family established themselves first at Ramalhão Palace and later at Queluz National Palace.[14] The venturesome life of Dom Pedro had undermined his health; he contracted tuberculosis, and died 24 September 1834.[ Amélie never remarried; she moved to the Palácio das Janelas Verdes ("Palace of Green Windows," also known as the Palácio de Alvor-Pombal, now, as of 2012, Portugal's National Museum of Ancient Art) and dedicated herself to charitable works and to her daughter's education  wiki/Amelie_of_Leuchtenberg

dinsdag 29 april 2014

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.
A toilette mirror with a reconstruction of Joséphine’s pearl parure.

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.

A bill from Au Grand Turc, the most fashionable couture house in Joséphine’s Paris. Joséphine’s enormous debts were notorious as she spent vast amounts on clothes, shoes and accessories and never managed to stay within the confines of the already generous allowance bestowed upon her by Napoléon. This particular bill is for ‘un schal de cachemire vert pistache vendu à sa majesté impératrice et reine’ (a pistachio green Cashmere shawl) and was issued on the 6th April 1809.

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.
A tortoiseshell hair comb, set with a cameo depicting ‘Le chagrin d’Achille‘.

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.

Crystal perfume bottles that once held Joséphine’s exquisite jasmine, lavender, lily and violet scents

woensdag 23 april 2014

Mathilde Bonaparte

Mathilde Bonaparte

Born in Trieste, Mathilde Bonaparte was raised in Florence and Rome. She was originally engaged to her first cousin, the future Napoleon III of France, but the engangement was later broken following his imprisonment at Ham. She married a rich Russian tycoon, Anatole Demidov, on November 1, 1840 in Rome.

Anatole was raised to the station of Prince by Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany shortly before the wedding to fulfill the wishes of Mathilde's father and to preserve Mathilde's station as Princess. Anatole's princely title was never recognised in Russia. They had no children. The marriage between these two strong and prominent personalities was stormy. Prince Demidoff insisted on keeping his lover, Valentine de St Aldegonde, which of course was fiercely resisted by Mathilde. 

  Portrait of Valentine, Duchess of Dino, by Vigée Le Brun

In 1846, Mathilde fled the household for Paris with her new lover Émilien de Nieuwerkerke and with Anatole's jewelry. The jewelry constituted the dowry that Anatole was forced to bankroll for his father-in-law so it formed the property of Anatole. Princess Mathilde's mother was Emperor Nicholas I of Russia's first cousin, and the emperor supported Mathilde in her clashes with her spouse, a Russian subject. As consequence, Anatole chose to live much of his remaining life outside Russia. The terms of the separation announced by the Tribunal in Petersburg forced Anatole to pay annual alimony of 200,000 French francs. Anatole vigorously pursued the return of his property, which led Mathilde and her strong circle of literary friends to mount highly personal and unfair counter-attacks using the public media. In the end, Anatole's heirs never recovered his property since Mathilde's last will was altered towards the end of her life.

Portret Émile de Nieuwerkerke van Mathilde Bonaparte (1856/7)

Princess Mathilde lived in a mansion in Paris, where she was a prominent member of the new aristocracy during and after the Second French Empire as a hostess to men of arts and letters as a salon holder. She disliked etiquette, but welcomed her visitors, according to Abel Hermant, with an extreme refinement of snobbery and politeness.

At the fall of the monarchy in 1870, she lived in Belgium for a while, but soon returned to Paris. Throughout her time in France, she maintained ties with the imperial court in Saint Petersburg, her maternal cousins. In 1873, following the death of Prince Demidoff in 1870, she married the artist and poet Claudius Marcel Popelin (1825–1892). She was the only member of the Bonaparte family to stay in France after May 1886, when the French Republic expelled the princes of the former ruling dynasties. In 1896, she was invited to a ceremony at Invalides par Félix Faure at a visit of Emperor Nicholas II Russia and his wife Empress Alexandra.
She died in Paris in 1904, aged 83.

dinsdag 22 april 2014

Mathilde Bonaparte: I'd be selling oranges in the streets of Ajaccio."

Mathilde Laetitia Wilhelmine Bonaparte, Princesse Française (27 May 1820 – 2 January 1904), was a French princess and Salon holder. She was a daughter of Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte and his second wife, Catharina of Württemberg, daughter of King Frederick I of Württemberg.

Princess Mathilde lived in a mansion in Paris, where she was a prominent member of the new aristocracy during and after the Second French Empire as a hostess to men of arts and letters as a salon holder. She disliked etiquette, but welcomed her visitors, according to Abel Hermant, with an extreme refinement of snobbery and politeness. Théophile Gautier was employed as her librarian in 1868. Referring to her uncle, Emperor Napoleon I, she once told Marcel Proust: "If it weren't for him, I'd be selling oranges in the streets of Ajaccio." wiki/Mathilde_Bonaparte
Prinses Mathilde (1820-1904), een nicht van keizer Napoleon III, was enorm aangedaan door het ter ziele gaan van de Bonapartedynastie. Haar vader huwelijkte haar in 1840 uit aan een Russische prins, Anatole Demidov de San Donato, maar dit huwelijk maakte haar niet gelukkig. Nadat ze officieel gescheiden was, vestigde zij zich in Parijs waar ze in 1852 deelnam aan een coup die een machtsherstel van de familie Bonaparte beoogde, en derhalve  tot doel had Napoleon III opnieuw op de Franse troon te krijgen. De prins-president Napoleon III maakt het Elysée-paleis tot zijn officiële residentie en organiseert er weelderige recepties die de gloriedagen van het koninklijk hof doen herleven. In deze periode beleeft ook prinses Mathilde haar gloriedagen. Zij, die bekend staat als "Notre Dame des Beaux-Arts" en als "Second lady van Frankrijk" -keizerin Eugénie is namelijk de first lady- zal vanaf 1853 het artistieke leven beheersen, daarbij genietend van de financiële welstand die haar neef  haar garandeert en waarmee ze haar juwelencollectie kan spekken. In haar eigen herenhuis aan de rue de Courcelles en in haar kasteel in Saint-Gratien omringt zij zich met kunstenaars en vrienden, waaronder Gustave Flaubert en Marcel Proust. Na haar dood laat zij haar neven een schitterende juwelencollectie na, waaronder dit prachtige stuk.

 Het verwerven van nieuwe rijkdom bood bepaalde families de kans om zichzelf snel te verrijken en zich de Europese levensstijl aan te meten. De families Dupont de Nemours, Gould en Vanderbilt, de immens rijke erfgenamen van deze financiële imperia, zullen zich in de Europese samenlevingen integreren en banden met de oude Europese adel smeden. In 1895 huwelijkt Alva Vanderbilt zijn dochter Consuelo in Londen uit aan de hertog van Marlborough. In datzelfde jaar trouwt Anna Gould, de rijkste erfgename van Amerika, met Boni de Castellane. Volgens de gravin van Clermont-Tonnerre was dit één van de meest 'onnatuurlijke' verbintenissen denkbaar. diamonddivas

        Inside Princesse Mathilde's mansion, rue de Courcelles (until 1857)
La Salle à manger de la princesse Mathilde, rue de Courcelles, Sébastien Charles Giraud RMN / Jean-Gilles Berizzi


donderdag 13 februari 2014

Henriette-Lucy, Marquise de La Tour du Pin-Gouvernet

Henriette-Lucy, Marquise de La Tour du Pin-Gouvernet

(25 February 1770, Paris – 2 April 1853, Pisa), (also known as Lucie), was a French aristocrat famous for her memoirs entitled Journal d'une femme de 50 ans.[1] The memoirs are a first-hand account of her life through the Ancien Regime, the French Revolution, and the Imperial court of Napoleon, ending in March 1815 with Napoleon’s return from exile on Elba. Madame de la Tour du Pin, as she is frequently called, was a witness to the private lives of the royals, and her memoirs serve as unique testimony to much unchronicled history.
Following her mother she served as an apprentice lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, from the age of 16. From the memoir a strong self-portrait emerges of a simple but straightforward woman of charm, heroism, and breeding.
During the French Revolution, many of her friends and family were executed and she fled Paris for the family estate of Le Bouilh, or Saint Andre Bouilh Cubzac in the Gironde region.

North Pearl Street Albany 1800s

From there she, aged 24, and her husband passed into exile, (though they were never officially listed as émigrés, Frédéric had been living in hiding prior to departure), for a new life on a dairy farm near Albany in Upstate New York. This she saw as her happiest time. She vividly describes the reality of owning slaves, and life amongst the local Dutch families and the few remaining Native Americans of the area. She was close to Talleyrand during his exile in the United States, and like him she returned to France after the establishment of the Directorate. She left as her husband wanted to resume his career in public life and shore up the family fortunes. She was able to promote his career under Napoleon, who was looking for aristocrats to lend legitimacy to his court.
She continued to follow her husband to his various diplomatic appointments after the Bourbon Restoration. They went into effective exile after their son, Aymar, became involved in the anti-Orleanist plot of Caroline Ferdinande Louise, duchesse de Berry in 1831, in the Vendée. He escaped France but was condemned to death in his absence. The family sold up its possessions in France soon after. After her husband died in Lausanne, in 1837, she moved to Italy, where she died in Pisa. Her memoir was written as a letter to her only surviving child after the age of fifty. It remained in the family and was not published until 1906.

"Frederic-Seraphin, Comte de Gouvernet.
Born in 1759. Succeeded his father as Comte de La Tour du Pin de Gouvernet in 1794. In 1815, Louis XVIII created him a peer of France (an hereditary member of the upper chamber). In 1820, he was created Marquis de La Tour du Pin, the title used by his wife in her memoirs in the period after their marriage.
Until the Revolution, M. de La Tur du Pin was a soldier. In 1791, he was appointed Minister to the Court at the Hague, but was recalled by Dumouriez. After a period of hiding in France, exile in America, a short return to France and renewed exile in England, M. de La Tour du Pin returned to France and served under the Empire as Prefect in Brussels (1801-1812). Afterwards he was appointed Prefect in Amiens, where he was when Louis XVIII returned fo France. He then resumed his diplomatic career and was appointed Minister at The Hague, retaining this appointment while serving as one of the Ambassadors Plenipotentiary of France at the Congress of Vienna. In 1820, he was appointed Ambassador in Turin, where he remained until he retired in 1830. He died in Lausanne in 1837, aged 78"
from Memoirs of Madame de La Tour du Pin, p7

Aymar (1806-1867)

Aymar succeeded to the titles of Marquis de La Tour du Pin and Marquis de Gouvernet. The Memoirs of Madame de La Tour du Pin were written for Aymar, the only surviving of seven children. He bequeathed the memoirs to his nephew, Comte Hadelin de Liederkerke Beaufort (1816-1890)


donderdag 9 januari 2014

The Empress Josephine was one of the first European gardeners to fall in love with hostas, growing them at her house, Malmaison

Hostas, or plantain lilies, native to Japan and China and introduced to the West in the late 18th century, are among the most effective of all foliage plants. The Empress Josephine was one of the first European gardeners to fall in love with hostas, growing them at her house, Malmaison, just outside Paris. As well as coming in all tones of green, Hosta undulata has cream-coloured leaves edged in green, while 'Antioch' bears green leaves with a cream edge.


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