Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ah...the "pompadour"

Following on last week's post, it seemed appropriate to unveil a print in the shop...that of Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764) posed with her reading and books...it is from the mid 1800s and was imported from Paris, with that information on the back as well as the imprinteur mark.

Consider the woodwork on the corner of this impressive frame...
Madame Pompadour had a collection of 3525 books, their bindings were made of red leather and her coat of arms were printed on the covers. I found a site that listed the books in her collection, and it appears her favorites were French drama, French poetry, and French novels. But, she was quite an intellectual...she supported the arts, worked to design city squares, buildings and avenues in Paris: the Champs-Elyses is one of hers! Many scientists and men of letters were protected by her, safe from the negative judgements which come basically from the Church: thanks to her protection they were able to publish new works, like the first Encyclopedia.


But her history is quite fascinating...from a synopsis of a biography on her by
Nancy Mitford:
When Madame de Pompadour became the mistress of Louis XV, no one expected her to retain his affections for long. A member of the bourgeoisie rather than an aristocrat, she was physically too cold for the carnal Bourbon king, and had so many enemies that she could not travel publicly without risking a pelting of mud and stones. History has loved her little better. We learn that the Queen was a "bore," the Dauphin a "prig," and see France increasingly overcome with class conflict. Mitford restores the royal mistress and celebrates her as a survivor, unsurpassed in "the art of living," who reigned as the most powerful woman in France for nearly twenty years.
She wins a personal battle against the old, distorted mentality that considers women hopeless at doing anything. Actually in this historical period, women improve their power through the art of seduction and, using it as a weapon, move kings and men of power like pawns in a chess-game. As Cato said, twenty centuries ago “The Romans govern the world while women govern the Romans”.

Obviously, the 21st century is not new to the love of pleasure and treachery since 18th century Versailles was there long before we were!

The name of Mme de Pompadour is still used nowadays to define an endless range of products, from sparkling wine to underwear, from fireplaces to flowers. Some flowers are called Pompadours because of their famous pink/violet colour, which Madame de Pompadour set as a fashion for her ceramics of Sèvres. The blue of her dress has come to be known as "pompadour blue," not to mention the pompadour hairstyle~
But, you have to wonder...how is that working for a certain famous pompadour wearing guy these days?

3 comments:

Brenda @Just a Bed of Roses said...

Oh my gosh, I am about ready to fall off my chair laughing at this post...its so enlightning to learn of the Queen P. and then to turn it into Conans hair!
You are a riot...and entertaining Antique seller/collector English professor all in one!
I also need some help with my new post...It needs your expertise if you have any on the subject...feel free to comment.

gail said...

Hi Susan! Great Post! I really enjoyed the history lesson. I always learn something new from your blogs. I hope you have been having a great week so far. Stay warm. I hope the squirels are doing well too.
Hugs, gail

Lori Katies Rose Cottage said...

LOL ~ I am cracking up too ~ My nephew is a really cool barber in Southern California and had a pomp for a couple of years ~ they were quite the cool thing apparently ~
xoxo
Lori