Friday, August 31, 2012

From McGill University Napoleon Collections

McGill University Napoleon Collection Print

ci-devant Occupations! - or - Madame Talian and the Empress Josephine dancing naked before Barrass in the Winter of 1797. -- A Fact!
Barrass (then in power) being tired of Josephine, promissed Buonaparte a promotion, on condition that he would take her off his hands; — Barrass, had, as usual, drank freely & placed Buonaparte behind a screen, while he amused himself with these two Ladies, who || were then his humble dependents, – Madame Talian is a beautiful woman, tall & elegant: Josephine is smaller & thin, with bad Teeth something like Cloves, – it is needless to add that Buonaparte accepted the promotion and the Lady – now – Empress of France! – // Js Gillray dest & fect // 

London pubd 20 Feb 1805 by H. Humphrey St James's Street //

McGill University Napoleon Collection Print

View Larger ImageMcGill University Napoleon Collection Print

McGill University Napoleon Collection Print

Letitzia Bonaparte/Letizia Ramolino

Queen of Naples
Known as Madame Mere, Letizia Bonaparte bore 13 children to her husbandCarlo, but five died when young children.
After the Bonapartes were expelled from Corsica for their pro-French views, Letizia settled her family near Toulon.
An eminently sensible and practical woman, Letizia regularly counselled her royal children to prepare for a downturn in their fortunes.
When that day arrived after the fall of Napoleon, she retired to Rome.

on opp. p. : Photo-Etching. - From a very rare print.

The McGill University Napoleon Collections

McGill University Napoleon Collection Print
McGill University Napoleon Collection Print

A. Lacauchie del. // Monin sculp. // Paris, Imp. Frault jne r. S. And. des Arts, 37

Slave rebellions on plantations and the French Revolution

Slave uprisings, or rebellions and revolts, were frequent and were ferociously put down by plantation owners. The idea was to put off future rebels by showing them how any rebellion would be punished. Participants of rebellions were often publicly killed ‘by progressive mutilation, slow burnings, breaking on the wheel.’ The wheel was a form of torture where bones were dislocated and the body pulled apart on a wheel. Slaves were also ‘tortured or starved to death in cages.’ On the Caribbean island of Antigua, 77 slaves, or ‘rebels’ as they were described, were burned alive in 1736. 400 were executed for joining Tacky, a slave who led a rebellion in Jamaica in 1760. As late as 1832, the rebellion known as the ‘Baptist War’ or Emancipation Rebellion (1831-2) on the island of Jamaica resulted in the killing of 200 slaves in battle and the execution of 344 more.
The first major slave rebellion was in 1522. The slaves on the Spanish island of Hispaniola (now the Dominican Republic and Haiti) tried to escape. Revolts were a regular feature of the plantations after that. Before the end of the 17th century, there had been rebellions on the islands of St Kitts, Barbados, Guadeloupe and Jamaica. Slave rebellions continued into the 18th century, and intensified in the early 19th century as the slaves heard rumours about the approaching end of slavery.
The French Revolution (in 1789) inspired revolutionary ideas about freedom. Such ideas in turn sparked a slave rebellion in the French-owned Caribbean island of Haiti in the same year. Following this, Haiti became the first independent black state. The new French government did away with slavery throughout the French-owned colonies in 1794. But by 1800 French politics had changed again, and the leader Napoleon sent troops to the Caribbean to re-establish slavery. On the island of Haiti, the leader of the slave rebellion there, Toussaint l’Ouverture was captured and taken to France. He died in prison there, but the slaves on Haiti resisted the French and British attempts to win back the island, and Haiti remained the first independent black state.
There were many more slave rebellions before slavery ended (which was in 1834 in Britain, 1865 in the USA, 1869 in Portugal, 1888 in Brazil, 1942 in Ethiopia). Abolition of the slave trade and the freeing of slaves is often thought of as the result of a change in European thought, seeing slavery as cruel and inhumane. The ‘logo’ of the Abolition movement, which campaigned against slavery, was an image of a kneeling slave asking for help. It is pictured here on an Abolition penny token. Both the image and the slogan ‘Am I not a man and a brother’ were widely used to raise awareness and show support for the campaign to end slavery. The passive role of the African slave shown here fails to show the truth of the fight against slavery. Slaves themselves had long been active in resistance to slavery.
Few people realise that the slaves themselves fought for their freedom and in fighting helped to win it. In Britain, the trade in slaves was ended in 1807, by a law for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. In 1833, slavery itself was abolished by law. These two changes were brought about by a combination of events. Activists campaigned for the slave trade and then slavery to end and influenced public and political opinion. Combined with the continual resistance of the slaves themselves, and the change in opinion back home about the slave trade, abolition and emancipation eventually came. Often, the role of the campaigners in Britain is seen as the only reason for the end of the slave trade and slavery. In reality, the problems caused by the slaves themselves were a severe threat to the continuation of slavery and the economic viability of the plantation system.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon's First Love

Désirée: The Bestselling Story of Napoleon's First Love[Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]

by Annemarie Selinko (Author), Nicole Quinn (Narrator)
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Rodolphe Kreutzer

Rodolphe Kreutzer

Having studied violin with his father in Versailles Kreutzer was also able to study violin and composition with Anton Stamitz from 1778. In travels to Paris, and winning the Concert Spirituel, Kreutzer met Viotti and heard him play. It is not likely that Viotti taught Kreutzer but speculation continues to some degree. As a fine, prodigious and virtuoso performer, Kreutzer was patronized by Marie Antoinette and was probably accepted into the king's music. Even through the turmoil of the Revolution, Kreutzer remained diligent in his work. He acceeded to positions with the Institut National de Musique which later developed into the Conservatoire. Kreutzer was the professor of the violin at the Conservatoire until 1826; even a broken arm, which he suffered in 1810, did not impede his teaching though he never again gave concerts. As a violinist Kreutzer had the exterior abilities of the virtuoso as well as the interior sentiment of an artist. He may not have had a flair for the "high" positions on the violin, or the continual shifting of positions, but, he was an advocate, teacher and technician of closed and open hand methods. His playing ability was appreciated so much by Beethoven that the latter composed his "Violin Sonata, Opus 47" in honor of Kreutzer. The sonata is often referred to as the "Kreutzer Sonata"; it was probably never performed by the musician to whom it was dedicated. Though Kreutzer was a noted violinist not all of his compositions were instrumental. His most successful and important works included the "42 Etudes ou Caprices," and also the ballet "Paul et Virginie," and the operas "Astyanax," "Abel," and "Lodoiska." The violin studies were particularly important for the composers aim at extending the left hand in the open position. It met the demands of later compositions and the requirements of settings yet to come. Because of the quality of Kreutzer's studies they have remained current and contemporized through editorial practices and adherents of his methods. "Paul et Virginie" was so popular that it maintained a run for fifteen years. The opera "Abel" contains some of the best music ever composed by Kreutzer and the scene contained and scored in "Astyanax" where the Greeks were leaving Troy was illustrative of powerful musical painting. Exceptional passages in his operatic compositions were rare as Kreutzer rarely exceeded simple melodic lines and accompaniment in his musical vision. Clearly his musical abilites were best served in the form of violin playing and the influence of both Stamitz and Viotti were present in his earliest compositions.

The demands of 18th century fashion

Satirical cartoon of an 18th century lady dressing.
18th century fashion required a lot of work. Some went to such lengths that the following rather panicky law was proposed in 1770 (but thankfully never passed):
An Act to protect men from being beguiled into marriage by false adornments. All women, of whatever rank, age, profession or degree, whether virgins, maids or widows, that shall, from and after such Act, impose upon, seduce or betray into matrimony, any of His Majesty's subjects, by the scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, Spanish wool, iron stays, hoops, high-heeled shoes and bolstered hips, shall incur the penalty of the law in force against witchcraft and like misdemeanours and that the marriage upon conviction shall stand null and void.
This law makes it sound as though only ladies were vain, but men were just as careful about their appearance as women, and in some cases more so. Fashionistos called Macaronis were infamous for their eccentric styles, often wearing make-up as the ladies did, and earrings. The name comes from the Macaroni Club, founded in 1760 by a group of young men who had made the Grand Tour of Europe, of which Italy was the high spot.


Ladies (and Macaronis) had a range of cosmetics at their disposal. White lead powder mixed with egg white could be used to give a fine, pale complexion, although ladies taking the waters at Bath were warned that 'those who use white paste as a cosmetic are liable to have skins turn entirely yellow' from the vapours of the springs. Rouge was made from lead paste and carmine. Lips were tinted with coloured plaster of Paris. Eyebrows were blacked with lead or with green vitriol and gum Arabic, although artificial eyebrows of mouse-skin were also available to be glued on. Unfortunately the heat of the ballroom sometimes caused them to slip. Small patches of black taffeta or velvet were also worn on the face.


Contrary to popular opinion, people did wash carefully. Although bathrooms were rare, bathtubs were not, and water was piped into the houses of the rich. Bedrooms were furnished with washstands, and soap was plentiful, with 63 soap factories in London (Pears famous transparent soap was created in 1789).
Lord Chesterfield, who wrote copious advice by letter to his illegitimate son Philip, wrote in 1750, 'In your person you must be accurately clean, and your teeth, hands and nails should be superlatively so.' He advised the daily cleaning of teeth with a sponge and tepid water. Nonetheless, it was common to lose teeth, and ladies might wear 'plumpers' of cork inside their cheeks to avoid the sunken cheeks that this caused. No woman would admit to wearing them, however, and they were sold under the counter.
Soot was used as a dentifrice, as was lemon juice mixed with burnt alum and salt. Mouth washes were used, made of wine, bramble leaves, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel. Gum lacquer, brunt alum and honey infused in hot ashes. Decayed teeth could be drilled with a hand-drill and filled with tin, lead or gold. Dentures of ivory, bones, or wood were available, and set with teeth of ivory, porcelain, or even real human teeth. The prototype of the modern toothbrush was invented in 1780 by William Addis.


We remember the 18th century as a time of ridiculously elaborate hairstyles, but in fact it was only after 1770 that ladies began to wear their hair high, bulking it out with pads of wool and false hair, or arranged it over a frame, adding ribbons, flowers and feathers. Contemporary cartoons show us exaggeratedly complex styles, but one anecdote is true: at the French court, it was briefly the fashion to wear a model ship in the hair, in celebration of a famous naval victory.
Powdered hair had been in fashion since 1715, and only went out of fashion in 1795 when William Pitt put a tax on it. It was initially used sparsely, but worn more thickly after about 1750. Probably it helped disguise any differences of colour between a lady's own hair and her pads of false hair. It was made of starch, sometimes tinted with colouring, and applied over hair which had been oiled to help it stick.

Bernadotte from the McGill University Napoleon Collections

McGill University Napoleon Collection Print

McGill University Napoleon Collection Print
McGill University Napoleon Collection Print

McGill University Napoleon Collection Print

Beauty Secrets from Ages Past: A Brief History of Makeup


Throughout the ages, women have experimented with beauty treatments to enhance natural features, slow the aging process, and care for the outer body. Beginning in the Ancient era, the Biblical account of Queen Esther's life mentions the elaborate spa-type treatments that young women underwent for an entire 12-month period to prepare themselves for a reception with the King. The first six months involved treatments with oil and myrrh, and the second with perfumes and cosmetics! In Ancient Egypt, aristocrats applied minerals to their faces to provide color and definition of features. Ancient Egyptian women wore foundation to lighten their skin, and used kohl eyeliner to widen the appearances of their eyes. Men in Egypt also applied a powdered pigment made from mixing fat and oil and other substances, to protect their eyes from the sun. Pigments were often made out of malachite, copper ore, or lead ore, with the favorite colors being green powdered malachite and black crushed lead ore or kohl. Meanwhile, Persians believed that henna dyes, used to stain their hair and faces, enabled them to summon the majesty of the earth. The Greeks were also known to paint their faces with white lead and chalk, while the Romans used oil-based perfumes in their baths. The Roman Lucian is noted to have talked about women and cosmetics in his time, referring to their polishing their teeth and eyebrows. The Roman philosopher, Plautus, also wrote, "A woman without paint is like food without salt."
The European Middle Ages followed the Greco-Roman trend of pale faces. Those who were wealthy enough not to have to labor outdoors wanted to show off their affluence by being pale. Fashionable sixth-century women would achieve the look by bleeding themselves. During the Medieval ages, one popular beauty treatment of the day was the taking of long, hot baths. By the mid-1200s, many European towns had public bathhouses. But as forests were depleted, firewood became expensive and the rising costs of heating the water forced most of the bathhouses to close. Some families tried burning coal to heat water, but the fumes proved to be unhealthy. By the mid-1300s, only the wealthiest ladies could afford firewood for hot water in the winter. For those who could not afford to take hot baths, perfume became an easy, quick fix. Perfumes made from the oils of flowers combined with spices were very popular during the Middle Ages as trade between countries improved. In particular, alcohol-based perfumes developed in the Middle East were brought to Europe by the Crusaders in the thirteenth century. During this era, cosmetics also became a popular commodity. Every part of a woman's face would be painted with some type of cosmetic, and many women also sun-bleached their hair. Medieval fashion also prompted young women to pluck their hairline, giving them a higher forehead. Spanish prostitutes wore pink makeup to contrast with high-class women's pale faces, while regal 13th-century Italian women wore pink lipstick to show they could afford synthetic makeup.
During the Renaissance, women strived for pale skin, and used a whitening agent composed of carbonate, hydroxide, and lead oxide to create a porcelain-like face. These agents, cumulatively stored in the body with each use, were responsible for numerous physical problems and resulted in some cases in muscle paralysis. During the time of Louis XIV and Queen Elizabeth I (known for her pale face), the problem became catastrophic and resulted in many early deaths. In Italy, one scheming Signora Toffana created a face powder made from arsenic for wealthy women. Signora instructed her clients to apply the powder to their cheeks when their husbands were around. Six hundred dead husbands (and many wealthy widows) later, Toffana was executed.
In Elizabethan England, cosmetics were seen as a health threat because many thought they would block vapors and energy from circulating properly. Because men's makeup wasn't as obvious as women's (women wore egg whites over their faces to create a glazed look), it was considered even more deceptive than women's. During this time, women also began bleaching their hair with lye. Understandably, this substance caused hair to fall out... so, wigs were introduced. However, women's wigs were often so elaborate that they had to be greased with lard to keep them in place, which attracted lice and other pests! On a more pleasant note, the art of creating new fragrances by blending ingredients was developed in France in the seventeenth century. Natural perfumes were made from ingredients such as flowers, roots, fruits, rinds or barks, or any other natural aromatic substance. Perfume-making was an incredibly laborious process that required enormous amounts of natural ingredients to produce small quantities of fragrance. By the reign of Charles II, the trend in pale faces had been obliterated, after Europe saw the ravages of widespread illness. For sun-fearing people whose pale faces made them appear sickly, heavy makeup supplied the color of a healthy glow. During the French Restoration in the 18th century, red rouge and lipstick were the rage and implied a fun-loving spirit. This stuck in France, but eventually people in other countries became repulsed by excessive makeup use and said the painted French must be unattractive because they had something to hide.
The Victorian era saw a number of advances in cosmetics and beauty products. By the nineteenth century, zinc oxide became widely used as a facial powder, replacing the more deadly mixture of the past. However, Victorians unknowingly continued to use other poisonous substances for eyeshadow (lead and antimony sulfide), lip reddeners (mercuric sulfide), and powder to make one's eyes sparkle (belladonna, or deadly nightshade). At the same time, Queen Victoria's commitment to strict morals and modesty among women created a backlash against cosmetics. During the Victorian era, cosmetics were considered the devil's making, associated with prostitutes and women of questionable morals. When makeup regained acceptance in the late 19th century, it was with natural tones so that the healthy, pink-cheeked look could be achieved without giving in to the moral decadence of full makeup, which was still seen as sinful.
The dawn of the Industrial Age, however, changed everything. By the Edwardian era, cosmetics again became a commercial industry. Anti-perspirants and deodorants first appeared in the 1890s, with aluminum chloride as the active ingredient. Through mass publishing made possible by advances in printing, the cosmetics industry saw a substantial growth at the turn of the century. Magazines kept women informed that exercise, diet, and the proper use of cosmetics and hair products could make them more attractive. World War I also had an unlikely impact on cosmetics. Given the sudden absence of men in American society, women gained more independence in the late 1910s, both socially and financially. This enabled them to acquire a disposable income, which many working class women used to buy colored powders, eye shadows and lipstick. Once American women gained the vote, the newly liberated woman showed how free she was by displaying her right to speak out: red lipstick practically became a social necessity. From the 1930s through the 1950s, the looks of various movie stars whose faces became known through the advent of color cinema defined vogue, from Mary Pickford's baby-doll face to Audrey Hepburn's cat-eyes eyeliner. The 1960s brought a slew of makeup changes, from whited-out lips and Egyptian-style eyeliner to fantasy images like butterflies painted on faces at high-fashion outings. The heavy eyeliner look remained through the late 1970s and 1980s, with wide color ranges entering the wearer's palette. The bright flourescent tones of clothing during the 1980s was only paralleled by the frosted pastel lipsticks and wild eye color popularized by pop rock and punk music stars. Makeup of today's Western world claims to be a melange of past styles with a new emphasis on the natural look. This natural look, strangely enough, has taken centuries of painting faces to achieve!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Men’s hair styles at the turn of the 19th century

Men of fashion began to wear short and more natural hair at the end of the 18th century, sporting cropped curls and long sideburns in a classical manner much like  Grecian warriors and Roman senators. Before this period, a balding Louis XIII had made powdered wigs popular at the French court and consequently throughout Europe. The often elaborate and expensive gray wigs lent an air of wisdom and authority to their wearers.

William Pitt the Younger – Attributed to Thomas Gainsborough (c. 1804)
Prime Minister 1783 – 1801; Chancellor of the Exchequer 1804 – 1806
A scarcity of flour in 1795, combined with William Pitt’s attempt to raise revenue through a hair powder tax, brought the fashion for wigs and powder to a screeching halt. Men protested and a new more natural hair style became fashionable.

The 5th Duke of Bedford. Image @ Wikipedia
The Bedford Crop was a style of hair favored by the Duke of Bedford, who, in protest to the tax, abandoned his wigs in favor of a short cropped and unpowdered hairstyle. He challenged his friends to do the same.  His natural looking crop was parted on the side with a dab of hair wax.Wikipedia)
Pitt eventually reduced this unpopular tax on hair powder, which never quite generated the revenue he predicted, but by then it was too late. Gentlemen had discovered the comforts of going au naturel, and by 1812, few men still wore wigs. There were some holdovers – older men, military officers, and those in conservative professions such as lawyers, judges, physicians, and some servants for the very rich (footmen and coachmen) retained their wigs and powder. Formal court dress also still required powdered hair.

Beau Brummel’s Brutus hair style in 1805. Notice how it is brushed forward and volumized on top of his head.
By and large men took their cue from classical Greek and Roman art. The romantic movement also influenced a natural, unpretentious aesthetic. A dry disordered look that used very few artificial products began to rule.  Beau Brummel’s influence cannot be discounted. His own grooming included shorter hair and a clean-shaven face. Every morning he examined his face in a dentist mirror and plucked any remaining stray hairs with tweezers. By 1813, almost all Regency men sported both long or short sideburns; they rarely wore mustaches or beards.
In Pride and Prejudice 1995, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy wore his hair somewhat longer than the Bedford Crop and affected a slightly unruly hairdo, probably known as the Brutus.  (I confess I never liked Firth’s hairstyle for Mr. Darcy.)

Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy. His rather long, wild hairstyle now makes sense to me.
Upon seeing the following images, I can now see why the film’s hair stylist settled on this slightly wild do for Mr. Darcy, which seems to be a compromise between a severe clipped hair style and the stylish “frightened owl” hairdo below.

Young man by an unknown artist, c. 1800, from the book The Tie. Image @Jessamyn’s Regency Costume Companion
The  ”frightened owl” hairstyle was achieved through infrequent hair washing (as infrequently as every few months) and the use of hair wax, which helped to create the wild and unruly volume.

The models for Regency men’s hairstyles: Caesar, Titus, and Brutus
Popular styles in the late 18th century were the Caesar, Titus, and Brutus. The Coup au Vent was short at the back and worn long over the eyes at the front.

Caesar cut. You can almost see the laurel leaves on his head with this brushed forward Caesar cut. Portrait of an unnamed man, ca. 1810-20
The Cherubin, like the Bedford Crop, sported short curls all over (the Caesar was clipped even closer.)

Bernier by Ingres, 1800. You can see the all over cropped unruly look. The sideburns in all these images are long, but the men are clean shaven.
The Classically influenced Titus was cropped short everywhere but at the front with curls combed forward onto the forehead to resemble the Roman Emperor Titus.

Balding men benefited from the close cropped, forward brushed styles. c.1815. Louis Francois Aubry. Monsieur Rivio Baritone in Paris Opera
The more severe Brutus was even more clopped than the Titus. One of the most popular hair styles of the day, though, was the Brutus, a disheveled style that Beau Brummell and his followers wore.

John Opie’s 1802 portrait of Edmund Lenthal Swifte shows a few artfully arranged locks over the forehead.
These hairstyles  took a great deal of time and patience to achieve. Men used an oil or pomade made of bear fat to achieve a natural unruliness or wildness. (Scented pomades were calle dPomade de Nerole and Pomade de Graffa.)  Since hair was rarely washed, night caps were worn to prevent soiling pillows and doilies protected the backs of chairs.

The height on top with the artfully arranged curls take precedence in this hairstyle. Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling, 1801.

Napoloeon Bonaparte’s classic Caesar cut sported  longer locks down the forehead.

This dandy sports a Titus.

Arnauld de Beaufort ca 1818 (by Pierre Paul pPrud’hon). His hair is noticeably brushed forward, lending his features a saturnine look.

Regency hairstyles gave men a natural, romanticized look. 1800s portrait of an unknown man.

Gericault’s 1816 self-portrait shows a wildly romantic and unruly hairstyle.
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