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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Owned by Marie Antoinette

Some time ago I posted about how little survived of Marie Antoinette's personal possessions.  The vast majority were looted or destroyed during the revolution and those that remain are in various collections.
However while re-reading Caroline Weber's book "Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution" I found this "apple-green bodice".
Where it resides I don't know. 
This image is in the digital collection of the New York Public Library.  Printed on the border of the image it says: "Trouvé dans le manuscrit de Mme Eloffe" which my dubious french translates as "found in or within the manuscript of Madame Eloffe".
Caroline Weber records Madame Eloffe was a "relatively obscure marchande des modes" before being taken up by Marie Antoinette to repair and refurbish her dresses in the wake of Rose Bertin's bankruptcy gambit which had reduced the Minister of Fashion's collaborations with the Queen.
Madame Eloffe's account books were published with extensive annotations in the late 19th century under the title Modes et usages au temps de Marie-Antoinette. (Paris : Didot et Cie, 1885) Eloffe, Madame , Author. Reiset, comte de (Gustave-Armand-Henry) (1821-1905), Editor.
However none of that tells us where this bodice is now. Perhaps it is in the Musee Carnavalet outside Paris with those other sad remnants of her life.
Can you shed any light on its whereabouts? 

3 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! There is a patter for this exact bodice in "The Cut of Women's Clothes" by Norah Waugh. I've always wondered what the original garment itself looked like, now I know!

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    1. Goodness I'll have to get a copy! Thanks Viv.

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  2. It is at the Palais Galleria: http://www.palaisgalliera.paris.fr/en/work/bodice-said-have-belonged-marie-antoinette-1755-1793

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