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For Your Entertainment- The Chateaux of YouTube

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Here we are enjoying the last couple of weeks before classes start back again (and, yes, we are going back again this year). This means it's time to binge those shows we've been enjoying all summer while completing class prep. One of my favourites for the last few months has been The Chateau Diaries, which can easily be found on YouTube. I've actually taken to watching more short documentaries and vlogs on YouTube than TV, despite the Netflix, Acorn, Britbox, and Amazon Prime subscriptions. I mentioned in a previous post that properties in France, especially derelict chateaux, are incredibly cheap now, and Stephanie Jarvis of The Chateau Diaries was able to take advantage of this over a decade ago and now runs her own entrepreneurial business out of the renovated castle she bought with a friend. If you enjoy frivolity and antics, and especially if you like little tidbits about history and luxury goods, then this might just be for you.The titular home of the Chateau Diarie…

August 9th, 1786- Two Years Later

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Has it really been two years? Many times I have picked up my pen to continue, but laid it down again defeated by the events which have seemed both too swift and endless at once. When last I wrote we were preparing for the King's hunt, an episode which should have signaled much joy, but which proved misadventurous instead. I must out with the truth, no use in delaying. Thierry suffered a fall from his horse during the hunt, and though he seemed at first little injured with no apparent broken bones, he soon slipped into a sleep from which he could not be woken. Nine days into his endless sleep I inquired of the doctor on another matter and received the glad news that I was enceinte though I had little dared to hope for a child at that point. Thierry lingered into August of that year before expiring as gracefully as he had lived. Our child soon followed only a few weeks later, dead before it could live. My mistress, the Princess Elisabeth, with great kindness and gentleness, release…

For Your Chateau

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If you saw my last post about acquiring my new fireplace surround, and the Greek Revival style and related interior designs of the 18th and 19th century, then you'll have been introduced to a few examples and suppliers. If, however, you are hungry for more, then feast your eyes on the following. The  first  image is a good example of a similar piece, just slightly earlier in the American Federal style, and  also of the relative cost of such pieces. Available on Etsy, it will set you back a mere $2,500. Love the look, but don't need the genuine antiquity or the cost? You could have a modern version custom built for you, as in this version, also from Etsy. At $425 it is considerably less expensive of an option, however would still need not only an insert, but a full box to set it out from the wall. Then again, it would be perfect for anyone trying to renovate an existing fireplace. Perhaps money is no object for you (lucky you, if so!), in which case you might be interested in so…

And We're Back! (With A New Project)

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Bonjour world! It's been many (six?!) years since I last updated this blog. In a nutshell, life and work became crazy and difficult and terrible and full of change and renewal. Like many of you, quarantine life has afforded me some time to recall the things that I enjoyed doing and to refocus my energy. For those who enjoyed the Diary entries from my fictional 18th century counterpart, I suspect she'll be back shortly, so look out for more missives coming soon!  One of the things I have been busy with in the intervening time is buying my first home and fixing it up. It's not a grand chateau or anything (although have you seen the prices of derelict chateaux these days?!? It's enough to make one consider really moving to France.), but it is home and it is mine. It's great in that it is quite enough space for me, but not too much space to take care of; however I have always felt the lack of a fireplace. I'm cold by nature. I was on a tour of Jerusalem a couple of …

Happy Bastille Day and News

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A very happy Bastille Day to all of you!

The blogosphere has yielded some fantastic opportunities this week, and I wanted to ensure that you all were aware of them:-

If you need shoes or accessories:-
 Now is a great time to turn to American Duchesswho is having a sale of up to 30% off selected items, as well as free accessories with a shoe purchase, or $5 off accessories purchased alone. She also has a new shoe out for pre-order, and we all know how tempting those can be.

If you need to make money not spend it:-

The Margaret Hunter Millinery Shop has an opening for a temporary PAID intern in Colonial Williamsburg. Anyone in theatre, the arts, textiles, museum studies, or living history knows how rare it is to find a paid internship, even at the best of organizations. For more information you can see Abby's blog, Stay-ing Alive.

June 6th, 1784

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Tomorrow the Marquis and I have been honored with an invitation to join the King on his hunt. I have debated whether to ride with the men, or keep to the carriage, and I think I shall do the latter for it is very hot at present. We have smaller apartments at Versailles at the moment, as Mme A- delays in quitting her own. I believe she does it to spite me, but I will have them eventually.

My duties for Mme the Princess Elisabeth keep me busy, but in the evenings Thierry and I join any of the myriad card parties, suppers, or gatherings which we must soon reciprocate I think. Until the apartments are ready for us there is always the excuse of not being settled. I spend much time, when I have it, choosing furnishings, and have written to my steward for many things from Saint-Saturnin and Portaberaud. Thierry is in desperate need of new clothes, but is hesitant to allow me to purchase them for him. He still is unused to spending money freely, and at times I feel much the same way.

Count A…

The costuming bug bites

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Every summer I have these grand plans about all the costumes I am going to make, and then I'm lucky if I get three done. Sometimes this is because of administrative things for the University, and sometimes it is due to my own distraction. Right now I should be building the Tudor Transitional project which has been on hold for months, or starting on the late-18th century travel outfit that was designed years ago. Instead I find myself with a strong desire to "knock out a sacque-backed gown" as if it were just that simple.

Nevertheless, I invite you to share in my distraction while I indulge in some of my favorite inspirations...

This portrait of the Princesse de Lamballe is one of my favorites, with the cream lace over the soft lilac color, and the deep flounce at the hem. I go back and forth on whether or not I like the echelles-style stomacher, but the sleeves are luscious.
Speaking of sleeves, these ones from c.1760 have a really interesting lace pattern, gilt trim, a…