Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Part 1: The Bloody French in London

So What do the bloody French have to do with London? Well, a lot monsieur et madame. During the eighteenth Century many French aristocrats were exiled in England. They choose in Twickenham and Richmond for their hiding place. The Duke of Orleans lived in Orleans House in Twickenham which now a public museum. I will write more on the Bloody French in London Part 2. In the meanwhile, most recently, I went to the Wallace Collection, I saw some of my favorite eighteenth Century French painters, Fragonard along side his teacher,Boucher .

Fragonard's, The Swing

Take a Good look at this painting. The story behind it is that the man is looking up at the ladies dress and she doesn't even have any knickers on. How Cheeky !The Swing is Fragonard's best-known painting, encapsulating for many the finesse, humour and joie de vivre of the Rococo. No other work better demonstrates his ability to combine erotic licence with a visionary feeling for nature. According to the poet Collé, the history painter Doyen was commissioned by an unnamed ‘gentleman of the Court’ to paint his young mistress on a swing, pushed by a bishop with himself admiring her legs from below.

Boucher - Venus and Cupid

The setting of Venus and Cupid is suitably ethereal, with Cupid handing his cloud-borne mother a golden apple, the prize she had won from the shepherd Paris.

Venus was the Roman goddess of love and fertility, and often symbolised visual beauty. Beauty and desire were central concerns of eighteenth-century French art. Venus often appears in decorative painting of the period, sometimes accompanied by her son, Cupid, and with her attributes, which include a pair of doves or swans, roses, dolphins, a scallop shell, and flaming torches.

Boucher- Daphne and Chloe

Boucher- Spring

The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the wonderful works of art collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. It was bequeathed to the British nation by Sir Richard's widow, Lady Wallace, in 1897.Most famous for our old master paintings and 18th century French porcelain and furniture, the collection also includes one of the finest collection of princely arms and armor in Britain as well as gold boxes, miniatures, sculpture and Medieval and Renaissance.

In addition,I saw Marie Antoinette furniture that she used in her apartment at Versailles.

Claude-Jean Pitoin (active between: c. 1778)
Gilt bronze and blue enamel

Chest-of-drawers- René Dubois (1737 - 1798). France c. 1765
Brecciated Sarrancolin marble; oak veneered with Japanese lacquer, purplewood stained black and mahogany stained black (on the legs); gilt bronze; silk, paper and gimp (lining drawers)

A Portrait of Marie Antoinette

Perfume Burner-Attributed to Pierre Gouthière (1732 - 1813),Jasper and gilt bronze


I know Marie Antoinette or Queen Deficit, as the French called her
wasn't the most exemplary or virtuous Queen, but on the other hand
she was just a horny teenager when she came to rule France.
I don't think her nor Louis Qatorze knew what the hell they were doing
and it's not fair to judge otherwise. It is, what it is.
But, the face of France has never been the same since her.
Queen Deficit contributed much to French History with her
love of macaroons and her tall outrageous hair.(They used to hide their
fortunes and jewels in there).
She will always be known as a fashion icon,if nothing else.

Modern Video of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette .
The scene where she is driving to Versailles at dawn in her horse drawn carriage is majestic.Immediately, I am transported to the aristocratic court of 18th Century France,with it's glamorous balls and masquerade parties.

Public Tours

Wallace Collection Public Tours
The Wallace Collection
Hertford House
Manchester Square London
W1U 3BN United Kingdom
Telephone +44 (0)207 563 9500
Fax +44 (0) 207 224 2155

Take Bond Street Tube.

More Tales and Adventures in Sabrina's London Diaries


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