Tuesday's Titillating Treasure: A Poupée for a Princess

In the eighteenth century, dressmakers would use wooden or plaster dolls, called pandoras or poupée de la mode, to showcase their latest designs.  These dolls were dressed in the latest trends and would be displayed in the modiste's showroom or sent to wealthy dames so they might get a sneak-peek of what was en vogue. (Who wouldn't want to open their mailbox and find a stylishly attired poupée in an embroidered changeable silk robe à la français?  At the risk of offending a legion of Fashion Bible followers, I venture to say that it would have been far more thrilling to find a poupée in your  box than a perfum and advertisement laden In Style magazine.)
Before the ink had even dried on the marriage contract promising little Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna to Louis-Auguste, the Dauphin of France, a trunk full of these stunning little beauties arrived at Hofburg Palace.

In To The Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette, Carolly Ericksonwrites that Marie Antoinette received dolls wearing "ballgowns, afternoon dresses, robes and petticoats in a score of delicate shades, the silks embroidered with floral designes or silk ribbon applique, the borders trimmed with serpentine garlands of silver and gold lace."

Most of us know that Marie Antoinette was a unrivaled fashionista, but few know that long before she started receiving trunks of

According to Samy Odin, Curator of the Musée de la Poupée in Paris and a fashionable being in his own right, "We know that Marie Antoinette enjoyed playing with dolls when she was a girl and was especially given many pandoras throughout her life, but they no longer exist.  They were destroyed during the Revolution."

Pleasantly situated on the charming rue de Beaubourg, just behind the Jardin Anne Frank, the Musée de la Poupée-Paris offers visitors an opportunity to learn more about the history of dolls.  Their collection of more than 500 dolls dates from 1800 to 1919. 

The present exhibit, Nouvelles icônes - des poupées Pandores aux Sybarites, explains the significance of the pandora - or fashion doll - in the history of dolls.
Click here to see an early 19th Century Fashion Doll currently up for auction.

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  1. Why oh why did I not know about this museum in Paris???? I can only imagine how lovely those dolls were, they really knew how to package things back then! I would love to visit this museum with you one day :)


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