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 *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene* 
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Sorry, dear Hans Axel, but I find many inaccuracies in the posts you linked to. For instance, Louis XVI took more than once bath in his life. And rouge and powder were prescribed by etiquette at Versailles, even for very respectable people, both men and women. Only in Victorian times did such cosmetics come to be frowned upon. And scent was widely used at Versailles, to disguise bodily odors, in the case of those who did not bathe regularly.

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Mon Feb 18, 2008 5:22 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Well I also said that the text was inaccurate. If you read all my posts, Therese, you will see that. I was just interested where the text that Marija Vera found and posted here came from, and when I discovered that I thought you readers would like to know.

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Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:37 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Oh, yes, I see now. Thank you so much for clarifying that, Hans Axel! :)

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Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:43 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
It's okay. Therese. :wink:

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Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:54 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Hooray for soap. It makes me grateful for soap.

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Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:58 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
I will try not more to discuss this subject because I risk looking like some neat freak, obsessed with hygiene :shock: . However the thing that bothers me the most is that we often have very corrupted views about history or better some person, event from history. For example many people believe that Marie A. had said “Let them eat cake” even we have no proof for that. That is not lonely example and that’s why I try to look beyond general convictions. The thing is that 17th and 18th century are among the worst periods in term of physical hygiene. But what’s that means? Of course I would like to have some encouraging news since I like Marie Antoinette and the 18th century in general. I can’t ask my history teacher, he will think I’m crazy and I doubt he will say me something more specific. Yes, these articles are from the internet but I will post them anyway, so all could know that this topic is still open and if someone finds out something accurate I hope he will post it. I can’t wait to my history studies to find out.

In Medieval Europe, hygiene fell into neglect and water was even regarded as dangerous. The Plague in the 16th century fuelled this mistrust, at a time when popular belief held that water "seeped through" the skin's pores to deposit the germs it carried. With bathing anathematised, cleanliness and hygiene were sought in white linen. Those were the days of dry body cleansing.
Linen absorbed perspiration, sebum, and purified the body - and hence became a sign of its wearer's sophistication and cleanliness. During this period, notables and middle-class members of society owned a great number of shirts, in order to change them often. The 17th century saw perfumes enjoying widespread esteem alongside white linen. Until then, fine clothes had only concealed the grime. Now fragrances were used to veil the smell. The 18th century saw water somewhat reconciled with the body; baths once again became acceptable, water regained its rightful place, and soap appeared. 19th-century medical treatises stressed the role of hygiene. Yet it was not until the middle of the 20th century that running water installations became commonplace - accompanied by the elementary notions of hygiene. Personal hygiene then once again became central to healthcare and well-being.
Courtesans of Louis XIV (the Sun King) used saffron and flower pollen to make their faces colourful, so that before long, France was considered a leading light in the art of make-up and as the country of cosmetic genius.
In 18th-century Europe, men and women alike went to great lengths in order to make themselves appear almost unnatural. Besides whitening their faces, they used blue colouring to touch up their vein lines. The black silk or felt beauty spots, initially invented to hide smallpox marks, grew to astonishing sizes, and attained matching levels of complexity. This ostentatious use of cosmetics fell out of favour following the French Revolution and with the arrival of the Victorian era. Men stopped using make-up, and for respectable ladies no more than a touch of powder was deemed fitting.

loreal.skin-science.com

Hair and Hairdos of the 18th Century

I often encounter the question of which hairdos would be suitable for the 18th century, whether a wig was necessary, what to use for poweder etc. Some of the questions, at least for ladies, are answered here, but the source for that isn't contemporary and therefore should be treated with care. A good example for that fact is the so-called "Pompadour hairdo" which hasn't been seen on Madame Pompadour herself.
Legend and Truth
No other aspect of fashion has suffered under so many helf-truths and exaggerations as the rococo hairdo. Even in seemingly serious books you find stories about Fontanges that were four times as high as the head (e.g. v. Sydow, 1880), ladies sleeping in a sitting position so as to preserve the hairdo, or towering structures in which mice nested because the hair (again, to preserve the hairdo) had neither been combed nor washed for some time. There is probably some spark of truth in all those stories, but they shouldn't be taken at face value.
I suspect that the usual secondary sources liked to spread such stories because the authors thought that the subject of fashion history was too dull without some colourful anecdotes to entertain the reader and "forget" to mention that they're just that: entertaining anecdotes. There was one case that was considered unusual enough to write down even at the time when it happened, which is how later generations learned about them. Nobody wrote down the normal, everyday stuff. As always, the story grew in the telling, was shortened and played up from author to author until the anecdote appeared as authentic fact, even as typical of the era.
For instance, Fontanges really were quite high around 1700, but four times as high as the head would mean a height of one metre - an exaggeration only found in depictions of satirical theatre plays. All it takes is someone who is opposed to the Fontange fashion ("The hairdos are as high as a house!" as in "Potholes a mile deep!"). If you consider how shy mice are, they could only nest in the hairdo of someone who slept very soundly for nights and days on end. It's more probable that between 1770 and 1790 a lady left her wig (with all the yummy pomad and flour powder still in it) in a corner of her dressing room for some weeks - and became the talk of the court for days. As for sleeping upright - what do we really know about that? Paintings of some queen sitting in bed? Maybe they were painted that way simply because it looked better. A physician of my acquaintance has suggested that it had to do with frequent lung problems (due to the draughty buildings): If you've ever gone to bed with a cold, you may have noticed that you cough more when lying down.

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Mon May 12, 2008 10:20 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
she introduced iron beds to hospitals?!
wow...
I read somewhere that she even had modern bars of soap and everything.

does anyone know if she used le salle des bains de Marie Lecsynska?
in her petit apartments it features her toilette anglaise and TWO bathing rooms of the past reine.
anyone know anything? :roll:


Tue May 13, 2008 1:47 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
OK, let me preface this by saying that I do understand that 18th Century Hygiene Standards were a far cry from our 2008 need to shower EVERYDAY (It's not even an option for most of us, I just have always done it & can't start my day without a HOT shower...) but I have a really big problem, after seeing the splendour of Versailles, believing that people were just walking around relieving themselves in the corners/behind curtains/in the stairwells - WHAT?!? Especially with so much talk about modesty - have you seen those dresses, how did that work? How could you even hold all of those skirts out of the way if you choose to defecate on the floor, without exposing parts of your body (beyond your neck & face)? I don't doubt anyones knowledge of this timeperiod - as you all know more than I - I just cannot bring myself to "believe", it just doesn't seem appropriate! I can buy into the lack of bathing, the use of perfumes & makeup, but come on now - you're telling me you'd be walking the beautiful black & white marble floor & have to step over a stream of urine? Tell me it's not true! :shock:

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Wed May 21, 2008 3:33 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
That I’m trying to do and I have some success in it. Second part of the 18th century was known for major hygiene improvement. See my previous post and the post I’ve made on the topic The Real Versailles (from the book History of the Private life). You will see the level of hygiene in the time of Louse XIII and it couldn’t be worst then that. See also the gravure I had posted in the topic If you had lived in the 18th century, it was made in the 18th century showing the women using a toilette. I don’t know from which historical sources we know about people peeing everywhere in Versailles and for what time it refers. I’ve heard numerous times about pots which content was thrown away throughout the window (where else?). I understand that the level of hygiene was bad but I could bear knowing that people back than had completely bathed once or two times in a month, but used pots and washed their teethes regularly. However I find it hard to imagine feces everywhere (even on dresses, you have mentioned how it is unpractical), mice’s in their wigs, unbearable stench, unbelievably filthy houses and so on). This I am talking particularly for the middle or the late 18th century which is in my general interest.

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Wed May 21, 2008 5:27 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
im with you, queens honor, i dont want to believe it either, but we must trust firsthand accounts.
:wink: but if youd like me to lie, "it never happened" ;]


Fri May 23, 2008 12:39 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Perhaps she didn't urinate on the floor and defecatate on the floor. Maybe everyone else did that except her.

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Fri May 23, 2008 1:00 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
We need sources. I’m sure that the royals didn’t.
I’ve watched one reality show on the viasat history channel where people lived in the early 19th century for some time. Every time they needed a toilet the servant would bring them the pot and they would go behind the paravan, then the servant would take it away. I think that was the same in the late 18th century in Versailles. I’ve heard that in the time of Louis XIV court ladies would just relieve themselves on the floor.:?
I think that those courtiers peed in the corners while nobody could see them, I don’t think that that was allowed, I don’t even know from where we know this information.

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Last edited by Marija Vera on Sat May 24, 2008 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri May 23, 2008 10:33 am
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
they also had chairs with built in chamber pots!


Fri May 23, 2008 5:03 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Yes and I’ve heard how Louis XIV used to talk with the ambassadors while seating on it. :shock:

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Sat May 24, 2008 9:17 pm
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Post Re: *Bathing~Bathrooms~Hygiene*
Hahahaha! I've never heard of that before! How awkward...


Sat May 24, 2008 9:21 pm
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