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Tuesday's Titillating Treasure: Marie Antoinette's Favorite Things


Photograph by Francis Hammond
Jewelry Cabinet
This jewelry armoire was designed for Marie Antoinette by the cabinet maker Jean-Ferdinand Schwerdfeger and decorated with bronze work by Pierre-Philippe Thomire.  It was delivered to the Palace of Versailles in 1787 -  just two years before the beginning of the French Revolution. 

When I first saw this splendid armoire, I imagined the priceless baubles and sparkly pieces it must have once contained.  However, I have since been informed that Marie Antoinette's priceless jewels were not kept inside this cabinet, that it was, rather, for show.

Photograph by Francis Hammond
Lacquered Box
Did you know that Marie Antoinette was a collector (some might even say a Royal Hoarder)?  One of the things she enjoyed collecting was Japanese lacquerware. 

Collecting Japanese lacquerware was a popular past time among eighteenth century French aristocrats and those with a surplus of sous.  Technically, many of the items came from China, but the term Japanese Lacquerware was used to describe painted and heavily lacquered pieces from Asia or pieces with Asian influence.

The box pictured above is in the shape of a reclining puppy.  Did the queen look at the box and fondly remember the beloved pup she had to leave behind in Austria when she became Dauphine of France? 

(Side note:  I've often spoken of the strange connections Marie Antoinette and I both share - from birth date, number of pregnancies, physical ailments, to hair and eye color.  Now I discover that we both enjoyed collecting boxes.  When I was younger, I had a huge box collection, including one from China and two from Japan.)

Viennese Guéridon
A guéridon was a small, round table used for holding a candlestick or vase.  Sometimes, it was also used in a dining room to hold side dishes.  

There were hundreds of these tables in the Palace of Versailles by Marie Antoinette's reign, including the one pictured on the left.  This table was given to Marie Antoinette by her sister, Maria Christina, and featured a unique top with petrified wood marquetry.






Photographer Francis Hammond's exquisite photography of one of France’s most significant historical landmarks can be viewed and appreciated in his book, Versailles: A Private Invitation.

12 comments:

  1. Im so happy i found your page ! Love all of it !

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  2. Dear Anonymous:
    What a coincidence! I am so happy you found my page too. :)
    Thanks for reading and commenting.
    LMB

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  3. Wonderful! I adore your blog. My name is Marie and I have long been fascinated by Marie Antoinette!

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  4. very beautiful! I think it is suit for rich and tasteful women.

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  5. I really like your page! Have you gone to see Versailles yet? So amazing!

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    1. Dear Gentle Writer:

      Thank you! I have been to Versailles several times. It's an awesome place, isn't it?

      You might enjoy this article about the night festival at the palace:
      http://leahmariebrown.blogspot.com/2010/12/cure-for-blase-traveler.html?m=1

      Also, I hope you'll check out my Pinterest boards dedicated to the 18th Century.
      https://www.pinterest.com/leahmariebrown/

      All the best!!

      Leah




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  6. Oh! Um, I hope I'm not being too forward but I noticed that your blog spot had ca at the end which I'm going to guess means you are from Canada too? I was just wondering how hard/easy it was for you to get you book published and maybe how you went about it?
    P.S. Once again, love the site! Especially the section about the clothes!
    Thanks for your time
    Murielle

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  7. Hello I'm doing a project for my highschool class and i NEED primary source that supports Louis XVI as not conspiring against the liberty of the people!!! I'm not sure if you can help too much since the blog is mainly about marie antoinette but please get to me as soon as possible it's due tomorrow!! thank you!!

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  8. Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I am in the middle to a move and don't have access to my library. There are several sources you can research online:

    http://facstaff.uww.edu/jaffej/great_trials/indictment.htm

    http://chnm.gmu.edu/revolution/allfr.html

    I hope this helps. Good luck with your homework.

    Leah Marie

















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  9. What an amazing set of gorgeous little things she had! I love that little dog ornament, it looks peculiarly modern!

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  10. what an amazing working stuff, you are doing a brilliant work. i really love it. Lost and found

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You have left a comment on my blog! Merci beaucoup! I hope to you will visit Titillating Facts About the Life and Times of Marie Antoinette again soon! Until then...au revoir and bonne chance!