1788 Armchair or bergère en cabriolet. Part of a set by Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené (French, 1748–1803). Made for Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, for her Cabinet de Toilette in Palace of Saint-Cloud, France. Carved, painted and gilded walnut; modern cotton twill embroidered in silk. Made for Marie-Antoinette’s dressing room at the château de Saint Cloud. The queen’s initials are carved on the top rail.
The Palace of St. Cloud belongs to the Duke of Orleans, is situated on the declivity of a mountain washed by the Seine. . . . The view from the house is delightful. By Harry Peckham, A Tour through Holland and Part of France
Louis XVI purchased the country residence of the duc d’Orléans a few miles west of Paris for Marie-Antoinette in 1785. Being in need of renovation, the palace was enlarged and altered for the queen, and many pieces of furniture were commissioned from Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené. A member of an important dynasty of Parisian chairmakers, Sené had been appointed menuisier to the Crown in 1784.
A 1788 description of this set, four matching armchairs and a stool, shows that it was for one of Marie-Antoinette’s private rooms at Saint-Cloud, her Cabinet Particulier. Frame of the daybed embellished with carving of ivy and garlands of roses, ionic capitals on the short legs and Egyptian female half-figures on tapering supports. These figures express the queen’s taste for ornaments from ancient Egyptian art, well before Napoléon’s North African campaign made it fashionable. The bergère, or armchairs, has a medallion on top with Marie-Antoinette’s initials framed by myrtle branches and roses. The matching screen has classical female figures on its feet and top rail.
The 1789 inventory of Saint-Cloud records the entire suite in the queen’s Cabinet de Toilette, or dressing room. The set is upholstered in white cotton twill, embroidered with a small floral ornament in silk. Known to have worked on needlepoint projects all her life, Marie-Antoinette did the embroidery herself. The colorful floral embroidery on the light cotton ground conveys a sense of summer, the season Marie-Antoinette preferred to spend at Saint-Cloud. via Epigraph. Peckham 1788, p. 199.
Craftsmen created containers of precious metals, leather, and silks and decorated them with jewels and engraving. Jane Austen and her contemporaries would have used writing boxes, linen boxes when travelling, boxes to hold their food and drink supplies while traveling by carriage, and decorative boxes to keep letters, ribbons, gloves, hairpins etc. Boxes, Cases, and Necessaires By Suzi Love, History Notes Book 11. books2read.com/suziloveBoxesCases.
How did people travel in past centuries? What did they take with them to make their long journeys easier? Travel by road, ship, canal, or railway all took a long time and had dangers so people learned to prepare. And then, in the nineteenth century, road improvements, inventions, and scientific developments made travel more pleasurable. Travel and Luggage By Suzi Love History Notes Book 10 books2read.com/SuziLoveTravel
Horse Power To Steam. Various alternatives to horse power were tested in London’s streets during the 19th century. Steam powered road engines and trams proved too heavy and damaged the roads. Stationary steam engines were used to haul trams attached to a cable but these were only really effective on hills that we too steep for horses. There were also experiments with trams driven gas engines and battery electric power. but was successfully developed. Petrol engines were still primitive and unreliable in the 1890s. In 1900 the reliable horse still dominated the streets of London but new technology was to revolutionize road transport.
What did the lady of the house use to pen notes In Jane Austen’s lifetime? What sat on the desk of Jane Austen’s male contemporaries when they managed household and estate accounts? books2read.com/SuziLoveWritingTools. Writing Tools, History Notes Book 13.
1750-155 ca. Writing Cabinet, Probably by Michael Kimmel, Germany. Veneered in kingwood, marquetry of mother-of-pearl, ivory and brass on pine, stained alder or birch. Mounted in gilt brass and with giltwood, carving of cypher of Augustus III. via suzilove.com Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK. collections.vam.ac.uk.
1780 Rolltop Desk, With Removable Legs Germany. By Master Furniture Maker, David Roentgen,German. Numerous woods including oak, pine, walnut, cherry, tulipwood, mahogany, plus gilt bronze, brass, steel and iron, marble and partially tooled and gilded leather. Marquetry motifs of flowers and gardening. Interior pigeonholes and drawers, exterior handles shaped like lion masks holding gilded rings. via Metropolitan Museum, N.Y.C., U.S.A. metmuseum.org
Music history from the 17th, 18th, and 19th Centuries. Pianos, pianofortes, harps, viols, violins played during Jane Austen’s times. Musical Instruments were so important in most of the more affluent households in history that large industries grew all around the world to manufacture instruments, musical accessories, and to print sheet music. Musical instruction and encouragement could be found everywhere and both young ladies and gentlemen were encouraged to have musical appreciation. And of course, playing music was on the list of social requirements for all young ladies desirous of becoming a wife and homemaker.
London became Europe’s leading centre for the manufacture of scientific instruments and this led to the manufacture of more musical instruments as well as factories developed and rail transport helped the faster distribution of goods to regional areas. One of the first places that music was used to tell stories and to share enjoyment was in Christmas music. Because music was such an integral part of households, music was always a feature in Magazines. There were advertisements everywhere for musical instruments for sale, for sheet music, and for music lessons. And of course, of most interest to the ladies were the hundreds of fashion plates included in magazines where people were depicted with their musical instruments.