Marie Antoinette Online Forum

Rose Bertin
Page 3 of 4

Author:  silverstar [ Wed Feb 04, 2009 3:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

yes I suppose they could both be portraits of Rose
one in her mid 20s and the other in her late 40s

She must have been around age 25 when she began dressing Marie Antoinette
and Marie age 17
(Rose was 8 years older than Marie )

Rose must have been a dynamic lady, to open her own shop
by her early 20s and then to secure the patronage of the most
glamorous young Royal in Europe... soon to be Queen of France !
What an opportunity ... and Rose seized it with both hands !

Author:  silverstar [ Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

It would be fascinating to get hold of a biog of Rose
(preferably with lavish illustrations )
Rose and Mme Tussaud are perhaps the two most fascinating
ladies of the period.... after Marie Antoinette of course !

Author:  Hellou_Librorum [ Wed Feb 18, 2009 1:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

After reading on her I don't like her. I think she was a snob.

Author:  silverstar [ Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

I read that Rose went to see M. Leonard... MA s hairdresser and
asked him to put in a good word for her.
He did just that and Rose was summoned to meet the Dauphine a Versailles.
... so their relationship began in 1772

Got to say though, from her portraits Rose looks more like
the head cook at Versailles rather than the designer and procurer
of so many elegant dresses and ball gowns worn by the Royal Dauphine.
If they were casting a movie about Rose Bertin.. my vote for
leading lady would be.....

Raine Spencer

Author:  Marija Vera [ Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:19 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

silverstar wrote:
Got to say though, from her portraits Rose looks more like
the head cook at Versailles rather than the designer and procurer
of so many elegant dresses and ball gowns worn by the Royal Dauphine.

I got the same impression! :lol:

Author:  Anouk [ Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

silverstar wrote:
If they were casting a movie about Rose Bertin.. my vote for
leading lady would be.....

Raine Spencer

Was she Princess Diana's stepmother? I read in wikipedia. Yes, she looks like Mme Bertin, but maybe a bit older.

Author:  ShaktiValkyrie [ Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

I found another image of Rose Bertin. I'm wondering at this point who the lady is that I first posted.
Anyhow, here are the links.

Author:  Hellou_Librorum [ Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

The first lady is indeed an engraving of Marie Antoinette. All you need to do is scroll down and it will say Marie Antoinette. :rainbow:

I have never seen that engraving before so thank you for sharing that link with us. :rainbow:

Author:  silverstar [ Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

Cant imagine that as rose bertin
no way

Author:  silverstar [ Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

excerpt one Rose Bertin

Just a taste of the Rose Bertin book I found
on the web,
Looks like she was introduced to MA in 1772
I ll put the whole book into an 'open office' file
eventually and send via rapid share
Meanwhile.... read on.....


The reign of Marie- Antoinette was one of futility and
chiffon ; and if the Queen did not create the office of a
Minister of Fashion, the Court of Versailles was never-
theless always crowded with hairdressers, dressmakers,
and milliners, who exercised more influence than the
King's Councillors. Rose Bertin was one of their
number. Her real name was Marie- Jeanne Bertin,
and thus she figures in all biographical dictionaries.
She was born at Amiens in 1744, but recent researches,
made in the archives of Abbeville, have fixed July 2,
1747, as the exact date of her birth. This is con-
firmed by an extract from her birth certificate inserted
in the register of the parish of St. Gilles, and signed
by the curate, Falconnier. Her parents were people
of very small means, and the earnings of the father
did not suffice to educate the two children, Marie-
Jeanne and her brother, Jean-Laurent, two years
younger than herself.
To augment the budget of the
family, the mother was obliged to exercise the pro-
fession of sick-nurse. Marie- Jeanne had thus received
a very modest education, but sufficient to develop her
sense of ambition. Nature had been kind to her ; she
was beautiful, and she knew it — women are never
unconscious of such things, and are always ready to
profit by it — but Marie- Jeanne was also endowed with
a great deal of intelligence, which enabled her to make
her way in life.

She had faith in her star. One day a gipsy foretold
her future. Rose was only a child when the gipsy
was arrested and imprisoned. The cronies of the
neighbourhood, talkative and superstitious, told won-
derful things of the prisoner who had read the future
in the palms of their hands. The child became
curious, and longed to know what lay in store for her.
But she had no money to pay the old woman for her
prophecies, and neither father nor mother Bertin would
ever consent to spend a trifle on such childish whims.
Rose therefore starved herself, and carried her portion
of food to the prisoner.

Prisons in those days were
not what they are now, and the girl easily obtained
access to the imprisoned gipsy, who, in exchange for
a succulent dish, consented to lift the mysterious veil
of the future. Taking the white hand of the child
between her own long, dirty lingers, she said senten-
tiously : " You will rise to great fortune, and will
one day wear a Court dress." Rose left the prison,
her face beaming with joy.

But Nicholas Bertin,her father, who was seventy-two
years old, died on January 24, 1754, leaving the burden
of the family and the upbringing of the children to
his widow. Rose loved her mother, and she was
not a girl to allow the latter to work too much when
she was in a position to come to her assistance. She
was sixteen now, and one day she made up her mind
to leave home, and mounted the coach which took her
to Paris. Little did her people, who were sadly
watching her departure, think that Rose was going
to meet her fortune.

Rose Bertin was not awkward ; they soon perceived
it in the millinery shop kept by Mile. Pagelle, under
the name of the Trait Galant, where Rose had found
a situation. And yet the Trait Galant — which
furnished not only the Court of France, but also that
of Spain — enjoyed, as far as morals were concerned, a
most respectable reputation, a fact of somewhat rare
occurrence among the ladies of the millinery profes-
It was about that time, too, that Jeanne B^cu,
who afterwards became the famous Mme. Du Barry,
was apprenticed in the millinery shop of Labille, which
was situated in the Rue Neuve-des-Petits-Champs,
near the Place des Victoires.
Jeanne B6cu, who was
known at that time by the name of Mile. Lanson,
justified the reputation of the ladies of her profession,
and had many lovers.
Mile. Oliva, who was after-
wards to play her part in the famous affair of the
necklace, was also a milliner, and was leading a life
similar to that of Jeanne Becu.

Rose Bertin had been
in the employ of Mile. Pagelle for a short time, when
an event occurred which was to decide her future.

Among the customers of the Trait Galant was
Mine, de la Saune, formerly Mile. Caron, and mistress
of the Comte de Charolais, to whom she had borne
two daughters. The Count having died, the Princesse
de Conti obtained letters of legitimization for the two
girls, who took the name of Miles, de Bourbon. The
elder soon married the Comte de Puget, whilst the
younger became the wife of M. de Lowendal. The
wedding dresses of the young ladies had been ordered
at the Trait Galant, and the Princesse de Conti had
asked to see the dresses herself.

It was about eight o'clock in the evening when
Mile. Pagelle despatched Rose to the Hotel de Conti
with the dresses of the Demoiselles de Bourbon. It
was bitter cold, and when the milliner arrived at the
palace, and asked to see the Princess, she was shown
into a room where a huge fire was blazing. In a
corner near the fireplace an old woman — whom Rose
took for a chamber maid — was seated.
She got up as
soon as the girl entered, exclaiming, a Ah, you have
brought the dresses of the Demoiselles de Bourbon !
let me see." Rose satisfied her curiosity, and the two
soon began to chat amicably, when they were in-
terrupted by a Lady-in- Waiting. " What," exclaimed
the latter, " is your Highness here? " " Yes," replied
the Princess, " and I have been enjoying myself
Rose Bertin was quite embarrassed; she
threw herself at the feet of Her Highness and begged
for forgiveness. But the Princess told her that she
had committed no breach of etiquette in having been
natural, especially as she was ignorant of the identity
of her interlocutress. She assured the milliner of her
good -will and protection for the future.

This event is related in the "Memoires de Mile.
Bertin" and published in 1824. These mimoires are
now proved to have been written by J. Penchet with
the purpose of whitewashing the memory of Marie-
Antoinette and exculpating her from certain accusa-
tions. It is, however, impossible that Penchet should
have related certain anecdotes without having heard
them from the people whom they concerned, and with
whom he found himself in constant contact.

The Princesse de Conti had thus taken a decided
fancy to Rose, and the latter soon received proofs of
Her Highness's kindness.

The Due de Chartres was going to marry Louise-
Marie-Adelaide de Bourbon, daughter of the Due
de Penthievre, and the richest heiress in the kingdom,
and, thanks to the Princesse de Conti, Rose had received
the order to make the trousseau for the bride. Great
was the pride of Rose Bertin when she announced the
good news to her employer. Mile. Pagelle, who had
long ago ceased to consider Rose as a simple employee,
opened her arms, and, embracing the little milliner,
exclaimed: "Little one, from this moment you may
consider yourself as my partner."
And henceforth the
business of the Trait Galant had two heads, and the
most turbulent partner, whose mind was constantly in
search for new designs and models, was the little girl
from Picarcly, daring and ambitious, and who knew that
she was going; to make her fortune and a name famous
in Europe.

The Duchesse de Chartres also became a protectress
of Rose, and she soon found a third in Mme. de
But Rose was beautiful, elegant, and
graceful. She had above all an air of distinction, and
attracted a great deal of attention. One day the Due
de Chartres noticed her in the apartments of his wife.
She took his fancy. He spoke to her, and unhesi-
tatingly made love to her. Would she become his
mistress ? He offered her diamonds, horses, a
carriage, a fine furnished hotel, if she would onlv
consent to listen to his impassioned declarations.
But, to his utmost surprise, the little milliner would
not listen to the proposals of the noble Duke.
The latter was nonplussed, and the more obstinate Rose
was, the more desperate the lover grew. He at last
decided to carr}^ the girl off to a little house in
Neuilly, where he hoped to make her yield to his
wishes. Rose was informed of the plan by a valet ol
the Duke, and she lived in constant fear of being kid-
napped and carried off to the secluded house at
Neuilly. She scarcely ventured to leave her house at
night. She knew too well the life led by the noble-
men of her time, who modelled their conduct upon
that of the King himself, and the abduction of a little
milliner in those days would pass absolutely un-
Every morning she went for her orders to
the Duchesse de Chartres, and nothing had as yet
happened, when one day she was called to the
Comtesse d'Usson for an important order. Rose was
conversing with the Comtesse, when the Duke was
announced, and Mme. d'Usson rushed to meet His
Highness. Rose was evidently being forgotten, and,
noticing an easy-chair, she calmly sat down. The
Comtesse looked surprised, and motioned to the girl
to get up. The milliner took no notice o£ her
hostess, who at last exclaimed :

" Mile. Rose, you evidently seem to forget that
you are in the presence of His Highness.' '

" Not at all, madame," replied Rose ; "I am not
forgetting it at all."

" Then, why are you behaving as you do ?"

" Ah !" answered the little milliner, " Mme. la
Comtesse is evidently not aware of the fact that if I
only wished it I could become Duchesse de Chartres

The Duke changed colour, but said nothing, whilst
the Comtesse looked surprised, with the air of some-
one who is waiting for the solution of a riddle.

" Yes, madame," continued Rose, " I have been
offered everything that can tempt a poor girl, and
because I have refused I am now in danger of being
kidnapped. If, therefore, one day your bonnets and
dresses are not ready, and you are told that little Rose
has disappeared, you will have to address yourself to
His Highness, who will know of her whereabouts."

" What do you say to this, monseigneur ?" asked
the Comtesse d'Usson.

" What can I say ?" replied the latter. " All means
are fair when it is a question of subduing a rebel, and
I can surely not be blamed for having tried to obtain
the favour of such an amiable and beautiful young

" Monseigneur is perfectly right to prefer a little
milliner to his august wife the Princess, who possesses
the highest qualities ; but you will admit, madame,
that I too may be allowed to treat familiarly one who is
so anxious to make me his companion. If His High-
ness will only not forget his rank, I will certainly
remember the extreme distance which separates us."
Thus spoke Rose, and making a low bow to the
Duke, who was murmuring, " You are a little
viper/' she left the room, leaving His Highness
much perplexed. Henceforth, however, he ceased
worrying the milliner with his assiduities.

Rose Bertin did not remain very long in partner-
ship with Mile. Pagelle. She soon established her
own business, thanks to the help she had received
from the Duchesse de Chartres. The latter was in
the habit of thus helping poor girls and setting them
up in business. Rose Bertin often met the protegees of
the Duchess in the antechamber of the ducal palace.
One of these protegees was Marie the flower-girl,
whom the Duchess had once met in the street and
taken a fancy to.

Not only had the Duchess provided the funds for
Rose's business, but she also recommended hei to a
fashionable clientele.
At that moment the talk of
Court and town was the approaching marriage of the
Dauphin with the daughter of Empress Maria-
In March, 1770, the Duchesse de Chartres
went to see Mme. de Noailles, who had been ap-
pointed Lady-in-Waiting to the Dauphine, and Mme.
de Misery, chosen to be First Chambermaid. She spoke
highly of her protegee, praising not only her talents,
but also her manners, and, supported by the Princesses
de Conti and Lamballe, she procured for Rose the
advantage of furnishing the dresses and finery which
were to be offered to Marie- Antoinette at Strasburg
on her arrival on French soil.

Milliners in the eighteenth century were not what
they are nowadays ; they not only trimmed hats, but
also arranged and ornamented dresses. There were
a good many milliners in Paris in those days, and
some of them exercised their trade on the Quai de
Gevres, where Rose Bertin is supposed to have kept
a shop for some time. In any case, she remained
there only a short time, and soon we find her estab-
lished in the Rue de St. Honore, which was the
centre of commerce during the reign of Louis XVI.
The signboard of her business contained the inscrip-
tion " Au Grand Mogol."
The houses in those days
were not numbered, and the signboards were there-
fore very important, especially as far as the mer-
chants were concerned. Each had his signboard
with an inscription so as to avoid confusion. Thus
one could read in the Rue de St. Honore, " Au
Trait Galant," " Au Grand Mogol," " Au Bouquet
Galant," " A la Corbeille Galante," and many others.

The reputation of Rose Bertin grew rapidly, and
soon reached her native town. Among her customers
she counted several inhabitants of Abbeville, a fact
which was testified by her books of account.

In the meantime the new Dauphine, very fond of
chiffon and ribbons and of all feminine finery, was
going to introduce — or at least to augment — at
the Court of Versailles the cult of fashion, which
is often nothing but an insupportable slavery.
When Rose Bertin had the honour of approaching Marie-
Antoinette for the first time, she at once knew, thanks
to her flair as a business woman and her subtlety as a
native of Picardy, what benefit she could derive from
her situation. She had only to flatter the Dauphine,
which was not so very difficult, and by pleasing the
latter vastly increase her own income.

According to the " Souvenirs " of Leonard, Rose
Bertin is supposed to have been introduced to the
Dauphine in 1772. The author of these " Souvenirs '
is unknown, and the authenticity of the work has
been contested ; but it is one of the few writings
which make allusion to Mile. Bertin. This so-called
Leonard not only pretends that he was the first to
introduce Rose to Marie- Antoinette, but he even
boasts of his intimate relations with the beautiful
milliner. We shall quote the following passage from
these " Souvenirs":
" One morning I was informed by my servant that
a young lady wished to see me. 1 soon found myself
in the presence of a young, beautiful, and very elegant
person, whose manners were charming. Her manner
was at first somewhat reserved. I at once thought
that the charming person had come to solicit my
influence at Court in her own favour or in favour of
some relation. And, indeed, I was not mistaken. I
made the young lady sit down near the fireplace, and
I at once noticed that she often availed herself of the
opportunity to show her beautifully-shaped foot ; and
a beautifully-shaped ankle always makes a man dis-
posed to listen favourably to a woman.

" You will not be surprised at my visit, M. Leo-
nard/ said this seductive person, ' if I tell you who
I am. My name is Rose Bertin. The Princesse
de Conti and the Duchesse de Chartres have kindly
promised to introduce me to Her Royal Highness
the Dauphine ; but you know what these great ladies
are — one must never press them. I have there-
fore come to you, M. Ldonard, whose constant
attendance upon Her Highness will give you ample
opportunities to speak on my behalf. And you are
constantly being consulted upon everything relating
to dress — your recommendation will no doubt have
a decisive effect.' "

M. Leonard promised his help. And, indeed,
he kept his word, and at the very first opportunity
he mentioned the name of Rose Bertin to the
" Mile. Rose Bertin !" said Marie - Antoinette.
"You are right to mention her to me, for I now
remember that the Duchesse de Chartres and the
Princesse de Conti have also spoken of her in very
high terms. Comtesse de Misery," continued the
Dauphine, turning to her first Lady-in- Waiting, " will
you please write to Mile. Rose Bertin, and command
her presence here to-morrow."

Rose Bertin was punctual, and introduced to
Marie-Antoinette according to all the rules of Court
etiquette. Marie- Antoinette gave the young milliner
an order of 20,000 livres. Thus, according to the
author of the " Souvenirs," Rose Bertin became Court
milliner of the Dauphine in 1772.
The dates are in
all probability exact, but the details of the intro-
duction and presentation of Rose Bertin to Marie-
Antoinette as given by Leonard are pure invention.
Leonard Antie', who enjoyed a considerable reputa-
tion, did not live in the Palace of Versailles, as the
" Souvenirs " pretend.
He was the hairdresser of
Marie-Antoinette, but was in daily attendance upon
her. His services were only required on gala-days
and special occasions. The daily coiffeur of the
Dauphine was Leonard's brother, who was beheaded
during the Terror, and consequently could not have
written the " Souvenirs," which were compiled at a
much later period.
Other dates tend to prove that
the whole story of Rose's introduction to the Dauphine
by Leonard, who at that moment had absolutely no
influence at the Court of Versailles, he having been
appointed only in 1779, is devoid of all truth.
" Souvenirs " contain numerous anecdotes and in-
sinuations and allusions to the part played by Marie-
Antoinette in various affairs. Rose Bertin is often
mixed up with these affairs — as, for instance, that
of the masked ball, where, at the suggestion of the
Comte d'Artois, the Dauphine was present. Accord-
ing to the author of the " Souvenirs," Leonard was
ordered to arrange this nocturnal expedition and to
provide the costumes.

" I want to go to a masked ball," said Marie-
Antoinette ; " Leonard will help us. He will arrange
with Mile. Bertin about the costume, and we will
dress at the Tuileries. We will leave here at mid-
night accompanied by the little Marquise de Langeac,
and be at the Tuileries at twelve thirty-five.
Rose Bertin will be waiting for us at the Pavilion de Flore ;
at one thirty we shall be at the ball, and leave at three
o'clock ; and before the clocks strike four we shall
be asleep in our beds at Versailles."

Author:  silverstar [ Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

Rose Bertin Excerpt 2

Marie- Antoinette's intimacy with her dressmaker-
was the occasion of bitter censure. An amusing
incident, which, however, justifies the critics, occurred
during the early months of 1775 : Richard, President
of the Parliament of Dijon, had a daughter, who in
her character of Canoness was to receive a decoration,
which the Queen had promised to confer on her
herself. It was a little ceremony to which Mine.
Richard, the Canoness, attached the greatest impor-
On the appointed day the Queen, having com-
pletely forgotten all about it, gave leave of absence to
Mme. d'Ossun and Mme. de Misery, who were in
attendance on her, and there was no one with her but
Mile. Bertin, who had come on business.
Suddenly the Queen remembered that Mme. Richard was
coming, and would soon arrive. What was to be
done ? Marie- Antoinette soon found a way out of
the difficulty. Mme. Richard had never put her foot
in the palace before, she probably never would again,
and the ladies of the Court were quite unknown to
her. The Queen took Rose into her room and made
her put on one of her own dresses, at the same time
teaching her the part she was to play in the cere-
mony. She had little to do ; it was merely a question
of holding a basin of water whilst the Queen placed
the ribbon and cross round the new Abbess's neck.
Needless to say, Rose's toilette was made amid great
laughter; but when the Canoness was introduced both
the Queen and her dressmaker had regained their
conrposure, and the little ceremony was performed
without Mme. Richard's suspicions being aroused as
to the identity of the Maid of Honour.

It was about this time that the bonnets a la revoke
made their appearance. At the beginning of May,
1775, the high price of flour had caused trouble, and
bakers' shops were pillaged in Paris on the 3rd. The
misfortunes of the people were made a pretext for a
new fashion. There were also hats a la laitiere, orna-
mented with ribbons and wreaths of flowers, roses and
acacias, and so on. The bonnet neglige a la reine
and the bonnet a la paysanne, had great success.

On May 27, 1775, an event occurred which greatly
grieved the famous milliner. The Princesse de Conti
died in Paris at the age of eighty-one. One might
almost say that she had led Rose by the hand from
the door of the Trait Galant to the palace at
Versailles. It was a great blow to Mile. Bertin. She
thought with affection of the day when, with hands
and feet benumbed with the cold, she stood warming
herself at the naming fire of the drawing-room in
the Conti Palace, chatting familiarly with the good
dowager, never suspecting that she was talking to
one of the most powerful Princesses in France.

There was no time, however, for grief; the whirl-
wind of life swept her onward. Orders poured into
the shop of the Rue Saint-Honore, and the consecration
of the King had been fixed for June 10, which meant
a surplus of work.

It is uncertain whether Rose did or did not follow
the Queen to Rheims. The "Souvenirs" of Leonard
state that she did ; but, as we have seen, little faith can
be put in that book. In any case, the ceremony occa-
sioned but a very short break in the extravagant
fashions, which revived again as soon as the Queen
returned to Versailles. These eccentricities evoked
the bitterest criticism, which was directed especially
against the Queen. The editor of the Cabinet
des Modes was a true prophet of the future when
he asserted that his paper would be of service to
historians, because fashion was the cancer of the age
? an age of luxury and folly, when ribbons and
chiffons were the preoccupation of the wealthy 5 and
while the masses were seething with pent-up anger,
the anger of a people crushed by insolent luxury,
enraged by the brazen dissoluteness of a heedless
aristocracy, mad for pleasure, blind with pride and
self-love, unconscious of the rising tide.

And yet in her distant capital, far from rumours
and threats and from flattering courtiers, the Empress
Maria- Theresa was conscious of the dangers which
surrounded the French Queen ? her clear-sightedness
penetrated the future. This remarkable and wise
woman, on receiving a portrait of her daughter
bedizened in Rose Bertin's best style, returned it by
her Ambassador, Comte Mercy - Argenteau, with the
remark : " This is not the portrait of a Queen of
France ; there is some mistake, it is the portrait of
an actress." It was a severe lesson, but surely not
The Empress of Austria, far from
France, was more clear-sighted than her daughter
or her son-in-law, and saw the dangers ahead. She
had grasped that the late King's government had
greatly compromised the monarchy, that the least
thing would cause the cup of bitterness to overflow,
and that a Queen of France succeeding to the costly
reign of a Du Barry should by her economy, her
simplicity, and her virtues, efface and pay the heavy
debts of the courtesan, which had fallen on the
shoulders of the people instead of their King.

The lesson was of no avail ; the " Meuioires Secrets,"
under the date August 19, 1775, tell us that "Her
Majesty looked upon the reproof as futile and too
severe, the result of ill-humour caused by age and
illness ; she did not think it necessary, therefore, to
modify her dress, and the courtiers allege that the
very next day the Queen was wearing a still higher
crest of feathers. Her Majesty's weakness for this
fragile ornament is such, that a young poet named
Auguste, having sent a humorous poem to the
Mercure, criticizing feathers, it was returned to him,
as the editors feared to insert it, lest it might offend
the Queen.
All stylish women naturally followed
their Sovereign's example. The feather trade, which
was unimportant formerly in France, is now very
considerable, and at one time the stock at Lyons was
temporarily exhausted."

On September 18, 1775, the Princesse de Lamballe,
one of Rose's chief clients and her protectress, was
appointed Superintendent of the Queen's Household,
which was greatly to Mile. Bertin's advantage. She
knew that the Princess would not oppose her interests,
nor check an imagination given to perpetual change,
which was profitable to her trade.

At this time people did not only trouble about
the shape and the trimmings in fashion, for the colour
of the fabrics used in making all kinds of costumes
for men as well as for women changed just as fre-
quently. During the summer of 1775 the fashionable
colour was a kind of chestnut brown, which the
Queen had chosen for a dress. When the King saw
it, he exclaimed, " That is puce I" (flea-coloured).
So puce became the fashion, in the town as well as
at Court. Men and women ordered puce-coloured
clothes, and those who did not buy new cloth or
taffetas sent their old clothes to the dyers. But the
colour was not always exactly the same shade, so
they made a difference between old and young flea,
and then made subdivisions, and you could see
clothes of the colour of the flea's " back," " head,"
or " thigh," and the whole country was covered with
puce-coloured clothes, when (we may read this in the
" Memoires Secrets "Wink, " the merchants having offered
some satins to the Queen, Her Majesty chose an ash
grey, and Monsieur exclaimed that it was the colour
of the Queen's hair.
From that moment puce was
out of fashion, and valets were despatched from
Fontainebleau to Paris to procure velvet, ratteen,
and cloth, of that colour, and 86 livres the ell was
the price for some of these just before the Feast of
St. Martin ; the usual price was from 40 to 42 livres.
This anecdote, so frivolous on the surface, shows that,
if the French monarch has a steady head, in spite of
his youth, the courtiers are just as vain, thoughtless
and petty as they were under the late King."

The Queen could in the matter of fashions allow
herself certain fancies ; she did them honour. Con-
temporaries are agreed in praising her air and the
wonderful elegance with which she wore her clothes.
Horace Walpole ? who had seen her at the wedding
of Mme. Clothilde of France, wrote to his friends in England :
" One has eyes for the Queen only !
The Hebes and Floras and Helens, and the Graces, are only street women compared with her.
Seated or standing, she
is the Statue of Beauty ; when she moves she is Grace
personified. She wore a silver brocade, flowered with
pink laurels, but few diamonds and feathers. They
say that she does not keep time when she dances ?
then the fault was in the time !
Speaking of beauties,
I have seen none..... or else the Queen outshone

Author:  ShaktiValkyrie [ Fri Feb 27, 2009 1:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

Hellou_Librorum wrote:
The first lady is indeed an engraving of Marie Antoinette. All you need to do is scroll down and it will say Marie Antoinette. :rainbow:

I have never seen that engraving before so thank you for sharing that link with us. :rainbow:

Yep, sorry about that!! And you're welcome! :)

Author:  Marija Vera [ Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

I didn’t read all but thank you silverstar for posting! It is very interesting.

Author:  Délicate fleur [ Sat Feb 28, 2009 7:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

What an interesting book, silverstar. :book:

I would be careful how much of it you are going to reproduce online. Copyright law permits one chapter, or 10% of the total pages. We wouldn't want the forum to contravene any applicable rules. :geek:

Author:  silverstar [ Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Rose Bertin

The book is freely available on line to download
(thats how I got it )
but ok , I wont post anymore excerpts

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