dinsdag 24 februari 2015

Hermitage Amsterdam en Hortus Botanicus brengen gezamenlijk een hommage aan Joséphine de Beauharnais.

De keizerin staat dit voorjaar centraal in de Amsterdamse Plantage. In dit samenwerkingsproject gaat de bezoeker mee naar het beroemde tuinpaleis van de keizerin, Château de Malmaison, net buiten Parijs.

Joséphine toverde het om tot een lusthof met een prachtige kunstcollectie en paradijselijke tuinen vol bijzondere bloemen, planten en vogels als zeldzame zwarte zwanen en struisvogels. Het was Napoleons favoriete hideaway en werd vrijwel direct na zijn nederlaag en verbanning een favoriete bestemming van de hoogste Europese adel, zoals de koning van Pruisen en niet in de laatste plaats tsaar Alexander van Rusland. Joséphine hield er haar hof en overleed er te midden van haar geliefde kunst, flora en fauna.

Hoewel de hommage een samenwerkingsverband is, besteden Hermitage Amsterdam en Hortus Botanicus ieder op een eigen manier aandacht aan Joséphine. In de Hermitage Amsterdam toont ‘Alexander, Napoleon & Joséphine. Een verhaal van vriendschap, oorlog en kunst uit de Hermitage’ hoe de Europese geschiedenis Napoleon en tsaar Alexander I verbond. Joséphine speelt in deze tentoonstelling een fascinerende rol, eerst als keizerin aan de zijde van Napoleon en later als goede vriendin van Alexander I. Zij legde een enorme kunstcollectie aan van onschatbare waarde, met onder andere Hollandse en Italiaanse meesters. Vele highlights ervan zijn te zien in de Hermitage Amsterdam.

De Hortus Botanicus vertelt met de tentoonstelling ‘Joséphine. Een keizerrijk in een tuin’ over haar andere grote passie: het verzamelen en kweken van bloemen en planten. Joséphines Château de Malmaison was 200 jaar geleden het thuis van haar kunstcollectie, maar ook van haar bijzondere planten- en bloementuinen. Deze prachtige wereld komt weer tot leven in de Hermitage en de Hortus. Een korte looproute van 300 meter verbindt beide tentoonstellingen.
Beide tentoonstellingen gaan open op 28 maart 2015 en bieden een combinatieticket voor 17,50 euro.
BRON: Persbericht Hermitage Amsterdam

Schilderij: François Flameng, Feestelijke receptie in het Château de Malmaison in 1802, ca. 1894. Olieverf op doek, 106 x 139 cm.© State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

zondag 15 februari 2015

“Toi et moi.”

The engagement ring the young Napoleon “must have broken his wallet” to buy for his fiancee Josephine.
The golden ring is in an 18th century setting called “toi et moi,” “You and Me,” with opposing tear-shaped jewels — a blue sapphire and a diamond. The carat weight of the two gems is little less than a carat each.
The marriage didn’t last, but “Josephine continued to treasure the ring and gave it to her daughter Hortense, later Queen of Holland, through whom it came down to her son, Napoleon III and his wife Empress Eugene. d-unknown/napoleon-and-josephines-engagement-ring

zaterdag 14 februari 2015

French Revolution Digital Archive.

The French Revolution Digital Archive (FRDA) is a multi-year collaboration of the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) to produce a digital version of the key research sources of the French Revolution and make them available to the international scholarly community. The archive is based around two main resources, the Archives parlementaires and a vast corpus of images first brought together in 1989 and known as the Images de la Revolution française.

"Madame, you must wear silk!”.

This lavender-coloured Manteau de Cour of moire silk is the only example in the Netherlands to date of a court train from the  period during which the Netherlands were under the French rule of the Bonaparte’s. europeanafashion/centraal-museum-utrecht-
There was no more trade, no orders, there had been many deaths among the weavers. Napoleon was particularly enamoured of the city of Lyon: the five times he visited there are inscribed clearly in the history of the city, from his return from Italy to the Hundred Days. At each visit, he made a point of visiting the Lyon silk workshops, and had a very acute vision of what should be done to revive the industry in Lyon. There was a real desire for revival through power. From the very beginning of the nineteenth century his numerous orders of damask - a rather simple but very beautiful fabric – were used to "imperialise the royal palaces", starting with the Palace of  Saint-Cloud. These fabrics herald a new era: we see already the two typical groups of motifs of the First Empire: the floral and the geometric... From the outset Napoleon is aware power of luxury as a political instrument, for fabric as for the other decorative arts. In 1811 and 1813 he made two huge orders: it is said that these two commissions alone represented over a hundred kilometres of fabric.

There are lot of verifiable anecdotes where the Emperor is most insistant for example towards a particular person, especially Josephine: "Madame, you must wear silk!”, which was not Josephine's cup of tea. She preferred lighter fabrics, fine materials that were reminiscent of her islands, as illustrated by the dresses presented in our exhibition. Empire dresses do not look at all like the eighteenth century dresses, all made of taffeta and silk. It is known that Napoleon encouraged his marshals, generals and advisors to wear silk. There is even a 1804 decree defining the clothing of ministers: "The ministers will wear their ordinary costume, which can be buttoned and almost closed in front, made of silk, velvet or cloth with a white scarf, from which the sword is suspended [...]”. In a curious way, Napoleon's tastes meant that male clothes began to resemble those of the Ancien Regime. napoleon

donderdag 12 februari 2015

Hippolyte Charles

Hippolyte Charles met the married Josephine Bonaparte in Paris at one of the soirees frequently given by Josephine’s friend Theresia Tallien. The couple embarked on one of the most intense love affairs of Josephine’s life.
Whereas Napoleon was loving and sincere in his adoration for his new wife, he was solemn, serious and intense in his outlook. Hippolyte Charles was the opposite: a young man in his mid twenties: handsome, outgoing, full of fun and extremely popular with the women in a social world in which he felt completely at ease. He and Josephine became lovers during Napoleon’s frequent absences.
In May 1796 Napoleon scored a decisive victory in the Italian campaign, with the battle of Lodi. He recorded that he felt truly a man of destiny and he wanted his wife by his side. 

When Napoleon was based near Milan in the Palazzo Serbelloni, he wrote frequently to Josephine asking her to join him.  Josephine’s affair with Hippolyte was in full flow and she was perplexed by Napoleon’s steady stream of correspondence to her, almost worshipping her.  She wasn’t particularly interested in leaving her luxurious and party life in Paris: even less fond of the idea of leaving her passionate lover, Hippolyte Charles.
There was much gossip about the relationship and news was spreading to Napoleon’s camp. He at first refused to believe in the rumours, but these were increasingly fuelled by his family and others of influence, who wished to be rid of Josephine.

Eventually, under great pressure exerted by Napoleon, she travelled to Italy: accompanied by Hippolyte. He moved into the Palazzo whenever Napoleon moved out. Still hearing rumours, Napoleon had Hippolyte transferred into the regiment close to him, where he could keep an eye on him. When evidence of the affair was becoming overwhelming Napoleon had Hippolyte arrested and almost had him shot.  It was Hippolyte’s close friendship with the influential Generals Duroc and Junot, who persuaded Napoleon to spare him and he was transferred back to Paris.
Hippolyte and Josephine were to continue seeing each other, but when she learned that he had taken an Italian lover she was deeply upset.  At the same time she learned of the premature death of her former lover Lazare Hoche. It was the affair between Hippolyte and Josephine that eventually reversed the relationship in the marriage between Napoleon and Josephine. Whereas he forgave her and she never took another lover and became totally devoted to Napoleon: he began to take other lovers that continued throughout the remaining years of their marriage. onlylovethemusical./charactershippolyte

woensdag 11 februari 2015

Josephine and the Bodin Company

Sandra Gulland asked me an interesting question. See reactions.

The letters Josephine supposed to have written  to Hippolyte Charles do they really exist?
Josephine, along with Charles and possibly Barras, had become deeply involved in the financial affairs of the Bodin Company. This was one of the many concerns mushrooming in this period that held, or sought, contracts for government supplies. Charles had surrendered his army commission to work more closely with the company, if not actually to be a partner in it. Josephine, too, was much more than an innocent bystander. For what could only be selfish financial reasons this wife of a victorious general sought to make secret profit out of the economic necessities of a country at war.

Under the heavy pressure of a steadily enlarging war, the government had been faced with a baffling supply problem. It had very little cash. Hence it had to make contracts with suppliers who operated on a very large scale and were willing to accept financial payments on a deferred, long-term basis. The Compagnie Flachat and the Compagnie Dijon were outstanding examples of companies which played a major part in such operations. Simultaneously, bankers such as Ouvrard and public figures such as Barras and Talleyrand were able to make huge fortunes through loans, currency speculation, and similar devices.

Other lesser groups, among which the Compagnie Bodin was one, tried to move into these lush financial pastures. This company followed the common practice of shortchanging the government, both in the quantities and the quality of the supplies it furnished. It was not averse to altering figures in its invoices after they had been officially approved, and it had a reputation for providing the government with poor horses and cattle it had taken by requisition from French farmers and peasants, often without troubling to pay for them.

Information about this unsavoury Bodin Company reached Joseph Bonaparte, inveterate enemy of Josephine. He then hastened to inform Napoleon. Following this, the brothers confronted Josephine in what must have been an extremely painful interview. Among the papers of Hippolyte Charles have survived a few letters from Josephine that were unknown to her earlier biographers and that put her in as unfavourable a light as any known documents in her entire life.

She wrote to Charles in great agitation to say that on the day before Joseph had had a long conversation with Napoleon, after which the two had put her through a most savage interrogation. Did she, they asked, know this Citizen Bodin? Had she been responsible for getting him supply contracts with the Army of Italy? Did Captain Charles lodge with Bodin at No. 100, Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and did Josephine go there daily? The answers Josephine told Hippolyte she had given to Napoleon suggest that the ruthless interrogation had brought her close to hysteria:

I replied that I knew nothing about what he was saying to me; if he wished a divorce he had only to speak; he had no need to use such means; and I was the most unfortunate of women and the most unhappy. Yes, my Hippolyte, they have my complete hatred; you alone have my tenderness and my love; they must see now, as a result of the terrible state I have been in for several days, how much I abhor them; they can see my disappointment — my despair at not being able to see you as often as I wish. Hippolyte, I shall kill myself — yes, I wish to end a life that henceforth would be only a burden if it could not be devoted to you. Alas! What have I done to these monsters? But they are acting in vain, I will never be a victim of their atrocious conduct!
Following this outburst came specific instructions:
Tell Bodin, I beg you, to say that he doesn't know me; that it has not been through me that he got the contracts for the Army of Italy; let him tell the door-keeper at No. 100 that when people ask him if Bodin lives there he is to say that he doesn't know him. Tell Bodin not to use the letters which I have given him for Italy until some time after his arrival when he needs them . . . Ah, they torment me in vain! They will never separate me from my Hippolyte; my last look will be for him! I will do everything to see you today. If I cannot, I will spend the evening at Bodin's and tomorrow I will send Blondin [a servant] to let you know the time when I could see you in the garden of Mousseaux. Adieu, my Hippolyte, a thousand kisses, as burning as is my heart, and as amorous . . .

In a subsequent letter to Captain Charles, Josephine told him that she had just written to the minister of war arranging to submit some papers. Papers about what? Could her action have concerned army contracts, or had it something to do with Hippolyte's retirement from military service? She added further that she had written to Barras asking him 'to return the letters which he had promised'. We can only conjecture what these were. The letter to Captain Charles ends as follows:
I am going, my dear Hippolyte, to the country. I shall be back between half past five and six, looking for you at Bodin's. Yes, my Hippolyte, life is a continual torture. You alone can make me happy. Tell me that you love me, and only me. I shall be the happiest of women. Send me, by means of Blondin, 50,000 livres from the notes in your possession. Callot is demanding them. Farewell, I send you a thousand tender kisses. Tout à toi.  
p166 When a wife writes such letters to a lover, the reasonable inference is that relations with her husband have reached the breaking point. Actually, no such decisive development was to occur. When Bonaparte returned from his inspection tour, his mind was much more on grand strategy than on the problems of his private life. He had little time for Josephine, and whatever anger he did show seems to have arisen as much from her evident connexion with the Bodin Company as from what he knew of her relations with Captain Charles. Josephine suspected that it was her new brother-in‑law, Joseph Bonaparte, who was trying to make trouble. Three months later she told Barras that Joseph's attitude to her was 'abominable', and that she knew he had vowed not to rest until he had separated Josephine from her new husband. 'He is a vile, abominable person,' she wrote heatedly, 'some day you will know what he is like.'

If there had been serious prospect of a rupture, it is hardly likely that Bonaparte would then have bought the house they had been renting for the past two years. On 26 March 1798 he purchased the establishment on the newly named rue de la Victoire — Pompeian frescoes, mirrors, cupids, pink roses, white swans, and all — for 52,400 francs. The price was substantial, yet far less than the 300,000 francs that Josephine had incurred for its refurnishing and redecoration. The fantastic purchase was doubtless the only way for the soldier to safeguard his interest in the huge sums he had already been obliged to pay. Read more: penelope

The house of Madame de Beauharnais had an air of luxury while the most essential things were lacking. Chicken, game, rare fruits, filled the kitchen, while they came to our humble abode to borrow the kitchen utensils, plates and glasses which they lacked."

There is no doubt, however, that during these twelve months Josephine was in great financial difficulties. She had on her hands the lease both of her Paris apartment and the house at Croissy. Her father had left his affairs in great confusion, and the difficulty of getting money from Martinique was further increased by the war with England. In February 1794 the English had taken possession of the island, and the Tascher estate was in the hands of the enemy. In France the property of her husband had been confiscated by the Government.

The expenses of Josephine's household at this time were quite heavy. She had three domestics: the nurse, Marie Lanoy; the maid, Agathe Rible; and the valet (officieux), Gontier. She not only paid them, no wages, however, but even borrowed their little savings. Her principal resource was a M. Emmery, a banker at Dunkerque, who for many years had had business relations with the Taschers.

From these few details it is possible to judge how precarious was the life of Josephine during the greater part of this year. But with the small remittances she received from Martinique, with money which she borrowed on every side, with bills which she contracted everywhere, she somehow managed to exist; and her life was far from being devoid of luxury. She was not a woman to walk, and must have a carriage, which she hired by the month.

In August 1795, when her affairs were still in the same precarious condition, Josephine leased from Julie Carreau, the wife of the actor Talma, from whom she was separated, a little hotel entre cour et jardin at Number 6, Rue Chantereine.

"We had Madame de Beauharnais for a neighbour," writes Pasquier. " Her house adjoined our
own. She only came there occasionally, once a week, to meet Barras with the many persons who followed in his suite. ... As is not rare with Creoles, the house of Madame de Beauharnais had an air of luxury while the most essential things were lacking. Chicken, game, rare fruits, filled the kitchen, while they came to our humble abode to borrow the kitchen utensils, plates and glasses which they lacked."

The marriage contract was one of the most remarkable ever drawn up in France: no details of the bride's property were given; all that she possessed was to belong to the communautb which existed between her and the late M. de Beauharnais. For his part, Bonaparte did not hesitate to admit his lack of fortune. He stated that he had nothing except his wardrobe and his war equipment, upon which he placed a merely nominal value.  napoleonandjosephine


Napoleon  didn't trust the bank saying:

"When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes... Money has no motherland; financiers are without patriotism and without decency; their sole object is gain."
Napoleon Bonaparte, 1815

For both sides of a war to be loaned money from the same privately owned Central Bank is not unusual. Nothing generates debt like war. A Nation will borrow any amount to win. So naturally if the loser is kept going to the last straw in a vain hope of winning, then the more resources will be used up by the winning side before their victory is obtained more resources used, more loans taken out, more money made by the bankers; and even more amazing, the loans are usually given on condition that the victor pays the debts left by the loser.

In 1803, instead of borrowing from the bank, Napoleon sold territory west of the Mississippi to the 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson for 3 million dollars in gold; a deal known as the Louisiana Purchase.

Three million dollars richer, Napoleon quickly gathered together an army and set about conquering much of Europe.

Each place he went to, Napoleon found his opposition being financed by the Bank of England, making huge profits as Prussia, Austria and finally Russia all went heavily into debt trying to stop him.

Four years later, with the main French army in Russia, Nathan Rothschild took charge of a bold plan to smuggle a shipment of gold through France to finance an attack from Spain by the Duke of Wellington.

Wellington's attack from the south and other defeats eventually forced Napoleon into exile. However in 1815 he escaped from his banishment in Elba, an Island off the coast of Italy, and returned to Paris.

By March of that year Napoleon had equipped an army with the help of borrowed money from the Eubard Banking House of Paris.

With 74,000 French troops led by Napoleon, sizing up to meet 67,000 British and other European Troops 200 miles NE of Paris on June 18th 1815, it was a difficult one to call. Back in London, the real potential winner, Nathan Rothschild, was poised to strike in a bold plan to take control of the British stock market, the bond market, and possibly even the Bank of England.

Nathan, knowing that information is power, stationed his trusted agent named Rothworth near the battle field.

As soon as the battle was over Rothworth quickly returned to London, delivering the news to Rothschild 24 hours ahead of Wellington's courier.

A victory by Napoleon would have devastated Britain's financial system. Nathan stationed himself in his usual place next to an ancient pillar in the stock market.

This powerful man was not without observers as he hung his head, and began openly to sell huge numbers of British Government Bonds.

Reading this to mean that Napoleon must have won, everyone started to sell their British Bonds as well.

The bottom fell out of the market until you couldn't hardly give them away. Meanwhile Rothschild began to secretly buy up all the hugely devalued bonds at a fraction of what they were worth a few hours before.

In this way Nathan Rothschild captured more in one afternoon than the combined forces of Napoleon and Wellington had captured in their entire lifetime.

How did Napoleon get money?

You mustn't forget that the military expeditions planned or led by Bonaparte (Italy or Santo Domingo) were organised for economic reasons or failed for serious lack of funds (Egypt).

  • Money was one of Napoleon's most important allies. At several moments, he used it to forge his own destiny. I'll give you just one example: the payment in May 1796 of the Armée d'Italie's wages in gold and silver pieces.
  • The decision to fight the First Italian campaign had to a large extent been taken for financial reasons.
  • The Directory was short of money because paper money was no longer used, and so it gazed covetously on the wealth of the Italian peninsula. It then sent an inexperienced general, Bonaparte (he had never commanded an army in combat), to try to fill up its coffers. The initial results were very encouraging. Bonaparte soon sent several millions to Paris.
  •  But his army remained rather poorly supplied and, apart from the pillaging, most of the «booty» was not for the troops. Counter to all expectations, Bonaparte in Milan paid his army in coins, despite the Directory's instructions to the opposite. This measure was «revolutionary» for the time in that the armies of the Republic had before only ever received depreciated paper money called assignats. By paying in coin, Bonaparte got loyalty from his army and ensured his position at its head. Other generals, such as Moreau, tried to follow him, but as soldiers respectful of authority they were never able to go against the instructions of the government. There are many other examples too, such as the fact that during the Empire expenses related to regime dignitaries were higher than those of Louis XVI for his own court.
  • It is true that the Directory was fairly effective in settling financial matters after the worst of the Revolution, but Bonaparte and his team were able to put public interest at the top of the agenda, and they built a financial system which could provide the State what you might call «enough to live on».

France was very poor at this time and needed a lot of money. So Napoleon fought more battles in Italy, and then won a big war against Austria. He sent lots of money from Austria back to France.

  • Napoleon raised money by selling all the French land in North America to the United States. europe./history/napoleon
  • Napoleon also sold the Louisiana Territory to the newly independent U.S. on April 30, 1803, for 80 million francs, or about 15 million dollars. In the U.S., this event is referred to as the "Louisiana Purchase."
  • Napoleon had only acquired the territory himself three years earlier in a Treaty with Spain. He had made promises to the Spanish which he frankly did not intend to keep. It is quite likely that Napoleon had no interest in ever retaining the property. In the meantime, Thomas Jefferson, then President of the United States, was concerned that the French might try to close the port of New Orleans to American traffic.
  • Although Napoleon's true motives are still a matter of conjecture, a major factor was a slave revolt in the French island of Santo Domingue (present day Haiti,) the only truly successful slave revolt in the Americas. It is entirely possible that the loss of this island possession caused
  • It would thus appear that both the U.S. and France considered themselves the winner in this situation. France rid itself of lands which it never intended to keep and gained much needed revenue in the bargain; and the U.S. gained enough territory to double the size of the nation. enotes//why-did-napoleon-sell-Louisiana
  • As the sugar industry on Martinique began to grow, the French started bringing African slaves to the island to work on the sugar plantations. Martinique's sugar export reached an all-time high during the 18th century, which made the island France's most valuable colony. caribya/martinique/history/
  • When Napoleon took control in France, he attempted to put Saint Dominique on a sound footing. By 1800 the plantations were producing for France only one fifth of what they had in 1789. He reinstituted slavery in the colonies, and denied rights to free blacks. He send an expeditionary force to retake Saint Dominique. Through deception the French captured Toussaint and took back to France. historywiz/slavery-french
  • The Continental System hurt English industries and helped spur the Luddite protest movement against unemployment in England. Although it stimulated manufacturing in some parts of France, the system damaged regions dependent on overseas commerce. Because the British had an overwhelming superiority at sea, though, enforcing the system proved disastrous for Napoleon. His efforts to halt evasions of his blockade stretched French forces too thin, and ultimately provoked his calamitous invasion of Russia in 1812. britannica


In France, the Bank of France was set up. However, Napoleon decided France had to break free of the debt and he therefore never trusted this bank. He declared that when a government is dependent on bankers for money, it is the bankers and not the government leaders that are in control. He stated,
"The hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland, financiers are without patriotism and without decency, their sole object is gain."

Pentemont Abbey (French: Abbaye de Penthemont

Pentemont Abbey (French: Abbaye de Penthemont, or Pentemont, or Panthemont, or Pantemont) is a set of 18th and 19th century buildings at the corner of Rue de Grenelle and Rue de Bellechasse in the 7th arrondissement of Paris. The abbey was a Cistercian convent founded near Beauvais in 1217 and moved to its current site in Paris in 1672 at the behest of Louis XIV.

The abbey was disestablished during the French Revolution and the buildings were turned over to military use, first as the home of the National Guard, then the Imperial Guard, and later the Cent-gardes.[7] It continues to be occupied by the Ministère de la Défense with the exception of the former chapel, which since 1844 has been a Protestant church, the Temple Penthemont.[8]

The many famous students educated at the abbey included the noted abbess and princess Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon,[17] and Louise d'Esparbès de Lussan, the mistress of the Count of Artois, the future Charles X of France.[18] Thomas Jefferson's daughters Martha and Mary were both educated at the Pentemont Abbey while he was Minister to France. Their entry into the school was sponsored by the wife of the Marquis de Lafayette. Abigail Adams was shocked that Jefferson would send his girls to a Catholic school but he assured her that there were many Protestants at the abbey. Conditions were spartan for the students, despite the presence of three princesses, with no fires until the water froze and a prohibition on speaking outside of class and recreation. Her time at the school led Martha, nicknamed Patsy, to write a letter to her father expressing her desire to become a nun. Jefferson quickly removed his daughters from the care of the convent.[19]
The abbey also provided elegant apartments to highborn women seeking independence from families or difficult marriages. The ladies were free to come and go as they liked, with constraints on the hours allowed outside the convent, often had their children and servants with them, and spent their evenings socializing and commiserating in the abbey's salons. One such resident was Joséphine de Beauharnais, the future Empress of France, during her separation from her first husband, Alexandre de Beauharnais. The court granted her temporary independence from her husband and required her to stay at Pentemont with her children at the expense of Alexandre.[20]

dinsdag 10 februari 2015

Letter of Napoleon to Josephine.

Marmirolo, July 17, 1796
I got your letter, my beloved; it has filled my heart with joy. I am grateful to you for the trouble you have taken to send me news; your health should be better to-day — I am sure you are cured. I urge your strongly to ride, which cannot fail to do your good. 
Ever since I left you, I have been sad. I am only happy when by your side. Ceaselessly I recall your kisses, your tears, your enchanting jealousy; and the charms of the incomparable Joséphine keep constantly alight a bright and burning flame in my heart and senses. When, free from every worry, from all business, shall I spend all my moments by your side, to have nothing to do but to love you, and to prove it to you? I shall send your horse, but I am hoping that you will soon be able to rejoin me. I thought I loved you some days ago; but, since I saw you, I feel that I love you even a thousand times more. Ever since I have known you, I worship you more every day; which proves who false is the maxim of La Bruyère that “Love comes all at once.” Everything in nature has a regular course, and different degrees of growth. 
Ah! pray let me see some of your faults; be less beautiful, less gracious, less tender, and, especially less kind; above all never be jealous, never weep; your tears madden me, fire my blood. Be sure that it is no longer possible for me to have a thought except for you, or an idea of which you shall not be the judge. 
Have a good rest. Haste to get well. Come and join me, so that, at least, before dying, we could say — “We were happy for so many days!!”
Millions of kisses, and even to Fortuné, in spite of his naughtiness.


Incroyables and Merveilleuses

The Incroyables ("incredibles") and their female counterparts, the Merveilleuses ("marvelous French Directory (1795–1799). Whether as catharsis or in a need to reconnect with other survivors of the Reign of Terror, they greeted the new regime with an outbreak of luxury, decadence, and even silliness. They held hundreds of balls and started fashion trends in clothing and mannerisms that today seem exaggerated, affected, or even effete (decadent, self-indulgent).
women", roughly equivalent to "fabulous divas"), were members of a fashionable aristocratic subculture in Paris during the

Many Incroyables were "nouveaux riches" who had gained their wealth from selling arms and money lending. Members of the ruling classes were also among the movement's leading figures, and the group heavily influenced the politics, clothing, and arts of the period. They emerged from the muscadins, a term for dandyish anti-Jacobin street gangs in Paris from 1793 [n 1] who were important politically for some two years; the terms are often used interchangeably, though the muscadins were of a lower social background, being largely middle-class.
The Merveilleuses scandalized Paris with dresses and tunics modeled after the ancient Greeks and Romans, cut of light or even transparent linen and gauze. Sometimes so revealing they were termed "woven air", many gowns displayed cleavage and were too tight to allow pockets. To carry even a handkerchief, the ladies had to use small bags known as reticules.[3] They were fond of wigs, often choosing blonde because the Paris Commune had banned blond wigs, but they also wore them in black, blue, and green. Enormous hats, short curls like those on Roman busts, and Greek-style sandals were the rage. The sandals were tied above the ankle with crossed ribbons or strings of pearls. Exotic and expensive scents fabricated by perfume houses like Parfums Lubin were worn as both for style and as indicators of social station. Thérésa Tallien, known as "Our Lady of Thermidor", wore expensive rings on the toes of her bare feet and gold circlets on her legs. Photo: wiki/Madame Recamier

In addition to Madame Tallien, famous Merveilleuses included Anne Françoise Elizabeth Lange, Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier, and two very popular Créoles: Fortunée Hamelin and Hortense de Beauharnais. Hortense, a daughter of the Empress Josephine, married Louis Bonaparte and became the mother of Napoleon III. Fortunée was not born rich, but she became famous for her salons and her string of prominent lovers. Parisian society compared Germaine de Staël and Mme Raguet to Minerva and Juno and named their garments for Roman deities: gowns were styled Flora or Diana, and tunics were styled à la Ceres or Minerva.[4]

Photo: Fortunée Hamelin. Read more logpatethconsulting



maandag 9 februari 2015

Chateau of Navarre

During the First Empire it was granted to Napoleon's ex-wife Joséphine, who was created Duchess of Navarre.When Josephine arrived at the Chateau she was not pleased with the state that the Chateau had fallen into. She was not very impressed with the small rooms, the worn out woodwork, and the amount of water that surrounded the Chateau. As a result she wrote to Napoleon telling him that she was going to repair all of the ruins and embellish the estate with the bounty assigned to her.[4] While doing these repairs she spent a considerable amount of money returning the chateau to its previous state. She made the water that pooled around the chateau, into a flowing waterway instead of stagnant one.[5] The surrounding marsh area was used to expand the stables.[6] As a result the surrounding area benefitted. She did this by raising plantations, caused the marshes to be drained, public buildings were erected, and she provided the peasants with work opportunities. She also improved the roads leading to and from the forest of Évreux. Comte Roy acquired the property after Josephine and he let the property fall back into ruin.[7]

Josephine had little good to say: Everything here has to be done over. The château is not habitable. The people I have brought with me have only one little room each, and the doors and windows won't close. My quarters are also small and inconvenient. The woodwork is in bad condition. The park is magnificent; it is a valley between two hillsides covered with woods of the greatest beauty; but there is too much water. . . .8

Josephine's thoughts were all on her departure from Navarre, but as the spring quickly advanced and the gardeners undertook their tasks, the outdoor setting became a thing of beauty. A kinsman, Maurice de Tascher, visited Josephine early in May and has described his walk with her through the Garden of Hebe, where he saw roses and lilacs in bloom, running streams, and lawns so perfectly kept that 'art troubled the charms of nature'. She also showed him the Garden of Love, an enchanting combination of cascades, pools, statuary, and 'elegant perspectives'. Josephine seemed altogether worthy of the setting. That evening the young visitor wrote in his diary: 'Yes, still beautiful and seductive; despite her forty-five years, one would have taken her this morning for the elder sister of the Graces.'penelope.uchicago/Josephine

Joséphine's court dress

This photo shows the elaborate embroidery of this court dress of Joséphine's.

zaterdag 7 februari 2015

Marie Antoinette's farm

Marie-Antoinette escaped from the stifling royal court life in Paris to Versailles, from the stifling court life of the Grand Château de Versailles to the Grand Trianon, and from the stifling court life of the Grand Trianon to the Petit Trianon. Still feeling stifled, she ordered her architect, Richard Mique, and court painter Hubert Robert, to design a hameau (hamlet, village) to remind her of her native Austria. Louis XV had built a model farm here, so farm life was nothing new to the Château de Versailles.

It was built at the edge of the Petit Trianon's carp-filled Grand Lac (large lake), and it was from here, on October 5th, 1789, that Marie-Antoinette fled from frivolous fantasy to brual reality as the revolutionaries from Paris approached the palace.

But until then, life in the hameau was good, with 10 cottages modeled on those at Chantilly, a milk house furnished in marble, a little vineyard, pens for extraordinarily well-kept livestock, and other accoutrements of village life without the dirt or uncertainty.
Peacocks strut, pigs oink, and the hundreds of carp in the lake approach with mouths gaping if you so much as look their way.



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