Une fleur pour la reine
|Botanical painting by Pierre Joseph Redoute|
A mournful gray cloud hovered over Kansas City yesterday, weeping copious tears. It seemed the perfect day to see Farewell, My Queen.
The historical drama depicts the highly fictional relationship between Marie Antoinette and Sidonie Laborde, a young woman selected to be the queen's official court reader.
Mademoiselle Laborde, a skilled embroiderer, nurtures great affection for Marie Antoinette, so when she is asked by Madame Bertin to embroider a pink dahlia that will become part of the queen's latest ensemble, she willingly obliges.
Watching Sidonie embroider a great pink dahlia got me to thinking about Marie Antoinette's floral infatuation.
Did you know that Marie Antoinette had a rose garden situated on the grounds of le hameau, her private village on Versailles? Wearing a sheer muslin gown, she would prune the prickly bushes.
Did you know Marie Antoinette liked to add orange blossom water to her hot chocolate?
Did you know Marie Antoinette wore an intensely floral scent distilled from the essences of rose, iris, jasmine and orange blossom?
Marie Antoinette adored flowers and used them copiously in her personal adornments and decorations.
Indeed, it is nearly impossible to find a piece of furniture, wallpaper, or accoutrement that belonged to Marie Antoinette that has not been embellished with flowers.
|Controversial Vigee Lebrun portrait of |
Marie Antoinette in her chemise.
|Official portrait of Marie Antoinette by|
Elisabeth Vigree Lebrun. The
queen holds a rose as dark
storm clouds gather behind her,
symbols of the political climate
in France at that time.
|Marie Antoinette's coffer. Notice the |
roses painted on the porcelain
|Marie Antoinette's private apartment at|
the Chateau de Versailles. Her bed is draped
in floral fabric.
|Le Hameau, Marie Antoinette's|
private hamlet on the grounds of
Versailles. Here, the queen would
tend her roses, milk her cows, and
pluck strawberries from the vines
|Marie Antoinette's gown, embroidered|
|A chair made for Marie Antoinette, covered|
in floral silk.
|This harp belonged to Marie Antoinette. |
The sound board has paintings of Peace and Minerva,
patroness of artists and clusters of flowers.
|Embroidered pocketbook once owned by |
Marie Antoinette. The oval medallion
in the center features sprigs of pink flowers.
|Marie Antoinette's chocolate service set, embellished|
with blue flowers.
|This scrap of fabric was embroidered by one of Rose|
Bertin's embroiderers for Marie Antoinette. Notice
the lovely pink flower.
|A Sèvres ice stand made for Marie Antoinette.|