Monday, October 27, 2008

Bonjour friends! I wrote a post last week about the hair of the French court in the 18th century & it got me wondering about the make~up. I have heard stories of the lead used in the make~up causing deaths and various other horrid stories but, I ran across this one and thought it charming, enjoy! I believe it is about the Queen's make~up artist & the Kings sister. A cute site that makes these half dolls! Fun!
Fargeon had not forgotten his primary objective: to improve the sparkle of beauty with artistically prepared cosmetics and repair the wrongs of age or nature towards the sex whose sweetest pleasure is to please. Both as a husband who wanted to prove that his wife was just as important to him as his noble clients and a merchant wishing to familiarise Victoire with the products she would be required to sell, shortly after their marriage he asked her to submit to a grooming session in the manner of the Court. The young woman was only too happy to comply and, one morning, the perfumer thoroughly cleansed her skin
with beauty lotion followed by an astringent, then took a brush and began with an expert hand to cover his wife’s face with a very diluted white paste, explaining each gesture as he continued.

"We have to make sure that the light is unequal, otherwise, in a flat, uniform light, we would just be spreading a plaster. The white of the forehead should be brighter than everywhere else. And it should be darkened very slightly at the beginning of the temple, or one can even give it a touch of blue. Around the mouth, it must be alabaster white".

The application of the white foundation took such a long time that Victoire became impatient. She remarked that only a woman who had nothing more important to do could subject herself to this process every morning. Fargeon explained that the skin must have the aspect of lacquer in order to cover the damage caused by the sun or, alas, all too often, smallpox. He studied his array of little pots of rouge carefully.

From the 2006 movie

“The shade of rouge must always be chosen according to the circumstance and the character of the client. The carmine for outdoors, perfect for a walk in the forest, would be dreadful in candlelight. The demi-rouge is only used for night time. I’ll spare you the rouge of the Court, since it’s not proper for an honest woman. It is not pleasing to the eye to wear a shocking vermillion, for, after all, one doesn’t make an instrument more attractive by demolishing it. For you, I’ll use the softest rouge possible.”

When he had finished, he outlined Victoire’s eyes with a fine black line, and then he used a pomade to make her lips, her eyebrows, and her eyelashes glossy, once he had combed the latter with a tiny comb. When he handed her the mirror, Victoire was taken aback and involuntarily recoiled from the lovely
marquise her reflection showed her.

Excerpt from the Palace of Versailles website

I couldn't resist adding this one in

The photo of from the Marie Antoinette movie reminded me of a little tidbit of useless info I have retained...

I have all of my life heard that Peacock feathers in your home were very unlucky and so I always avoided them. However, on a trip to Versailles it came up that the wall coverings and fabric used in the Queen's room had a Peacock feather motif on it (easily seen in the photo). Well, apparently that led to the superstition of the feathers being bad luck because of the fate of the Queen.

Bisou Mon Amis!
Pin It


  1. Very interesting post! It is so fun getting great, historical tid-bits like this! I love that photo from the 2006 movie, she looks so beautiful.

  2. Interesting! I learn new stuff everytime I come over here! History is so interesting!

  3. Your posts are always full of passion, Judith! Do you know the book about Jean-Louis Fargeon - Marie - Ant.'s perfumer? Just in case you don't it is "A Scented Palace: The Secret History of Marie Antoinette's Perfumer" by Elisabeth de Feydeau. The publisher is Tauris. I saw it at Barnes & Noble and would love to get a copy myself. Always fun to visit with you!

  4. hello... I just ound your blog through another... as we find all our blogs... I enjoyed this post cause as a child many years ago I was on vacaion with my parents and I was able to meet Cyd and Tony. I have snapshots taken by us.... She was making a movie ... The North Country or something similiar to that and Tony was on location with her.... She played the part of a Indian if I remember right. Now I am on a mission to find those snaps... Will share when i DO,,,,sHE WAS BEAUTFUL AND HE WAS VERY HANDSOME....


Thanks for stopping by. I love to hear from you!