Hello everyone... Today I have a few special announcements to make before we get into this week's post...
Firstly I am very happy to tell you that I was recently interviewed for BBC radio! The lovely Anna King in Gloucestershire interviewed me on the subject of only using the best things you have (one of my favorite topics, as you know). To listen to the interview click here and then click on the link titled Your Best China. My interview shows up at the 1 hour and 13 minute mark. The interview will be up for 7 days.
And secondly, Monday was my birthday :) I can't believe another year has gone by- this past one has been the best of my life thanks to my daughter, my family and you wonderful readers of The Daily Connoisseur... so thank you for being a part of it...
And now for this week's post...
I recently attended (twice!) the Paris: Life & Luxury exhibit at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. (You know as soon as I saw that billboard I scheduled it into my calendar: priority high) What a breathtaking exhibit it was… While they would not let me take pictures I can describe to you the riches I saw.
The exhibit showcased the treasures that made daily life in Paris so luxurious for the upper classes and mainly showed how they spent leisure time… primping, playing music and games, reading and eating magnificent feasts were all on the agenda… Sounds nice doesn’t it?
The items in the exhibit dated back from 1715 to 1766- right in the splendor of the Rococo period.
It seems the Parisians have always taken a thrill from the normal aspects of daily life… The exhibit showed everything from a decadent bed made for a Duchess covered in beautiful silk satin coverlets and draperies to an exquisite Toilette Equipage (or travel toiletries case) containing a silver cup, saucer and cosmetics pot by Saint-Cloud Porcelain dating back from 1693 – 1715. Apparently Parisian women of the era enjoyed taking perfumery and toilette with them while on the road- some things never change…
Because I take such an avid interest in what compromises daily life for other people the Daily Toilette Service was one of the most interesting things I saw. Dating back from 1738-39, it was comprised of a box, candle sniffer, basin, table mirror, brushes and pots of cream- entirely in silver- the ornament and decorative quality were breathtaking… Talk about a heightened way to do your morning beauty routine!
A silk dress and petticoat dated between 1760 – 1765 with silk and metallic thread and metallic lace trim and brocaded silk faille detail was a beautiful sight to take in. Apparently it took the Parisian women up to 5 hours to get ready for the day what with the elaborate hairstyles, makeup, and ornate clothing…
Another of the favorite items I saw was a harpsichord from 1754 that was paneled with wood and lacquered paint… It just called for me to play a minuet on it!
There were also some stunning paintings in the exhibit. A portrait of Madame Marsollies and her daughter from 1749 by Jean Marc Nattier stood out to me particularly. In the painting Madame M and her daughter sit in front of a dressing table as she pins ornaments in her daughter’s coiffeur. This picture touched me. It was so beautiful to see mother and daughter engage in the private ritual of adornment together…
There also was an entire room devoted to the playing of games, which the Parisians of the Rococo period were very fond of…
In the room I saw a writing table that doubled as a card table and a box set of gaming pieces from Austria 1735-40
Some of the more popular games of the period were:
Nombre- a trick tacking card game
Quadrille- a 4 player game
Hombre- the ancestor of whist and bridge
And, of course, the tablewear for the period was ornate and just as over the top as the food (if not more so). I saw gold lidded tureens, plates and cutlery dating back from 1673 – 1748, a guaranteed way to make dining a formal affair…
If you live in or near Los Angeles, I highly recommend visiting Paris Life & Luxury at the Getty Center… it will be on display until August 7th, 2011.
In other exhibit news I have also recently attended the Beauty Culture exhibit at the Annenberg Space for Photography (I am pictured below in the exhibit)
...and the Tim Burton exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
The Beauty Culture Exhibit explores the perception of beauty and how it has affected our modern day culture. And the Tim Burton exhibit displays an incredibly impressive and prolific collection of the movie director’s artistic work- everything ranging from drawings to paintings to sculptures to stories. All exhibits are highly recommended.
I would love to know… have you seen any good exhibits lately?
I was not able to take photos inside of Paris Life & Luxury but the above photo is from the Getty Center's ongoing exhibit on French furniture and decorative items. The porcelain, china and earthenware treasures pictured above date back from 1723-1725
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