She wears delicate french linen embellished with dainty jewels and has silky hair tied up with pink bows. Her hat is made from sweet pink velvet, with Japanese papers to imitate the feathers that should have been there (Australian customs rules interfered with my original hat full of feathers and swans down - oh the do's and don'ts with customs lol).Under her skirt are some pretty little velvet shoes with jewels atop. Rumours but are they true? Pages 2 & 3 reflect Marie Antoinette’s lavish lifestyle with rumours of indiscreet liaisons, parties and extravagant spending resulting in a growing resentment among the French people.
The 1785-86 ‘Affair of the Diamond Necklace’, a scandal in which she was accused of having an affair with a cardinal in order to obtain a costly diamond necklace, further discredited her and reflected on the monarchy. Although the queen did not purchase the necklace her name was vilified all over France and led to her downfall.
I have dyed velvet in pale and dark greys and embellished with vintage black jet from old costumes to highlight the dark mood of public opinion towards Marie. The lavish fabrics, papers and jewels highlight the extravagant nature of the court of Versailles.
Marie Antointette was quoted as saying to the starving “if they have no bread let them eat cake” this was not true. For page 3 I have created a lavish display of cakes using creative embroidery techniques, fusing fabric, burning and foiling, using velvets and sheer fabrics and for the cake stand a decadent real silver glitter.
This last page is quite a poignant one, it is the time of the French Revolution.Marie Antoinette was a devoted mother, and of the 4 children that she bared only 2 survived. As Marie matured she became less extravagant softening her image by wearing simple gowns and posing for portraits with her children, but her efforts had little effect on the unforgiving public. Her unpopularity helped lead to the overthrow of the monarchy when Parisian's stormed the Tuileries palace on Aug. 10, 1792. The family were imprisoned.
From being a doll like image arriving at Versailles, Marie Antoinette is now a real woman.
Louis XVI was executed in January 1793, and Marie Antoinette was executed on October 16 of that year. She was charged with aiding the enemy and inciting civil war. Her son died in prison of Tuberculosis and her daughter, the only survivor was married a French Duke.
The muse for this page is one of my daughters, posing with a skirt to give the flow of the dress, and embellished with vintage ribbon, lace and Japanese lacy paper with vintage french sheet music as a background reflecting the glad feelings of the French people (although the music translates as the cross king). The hair is curly sheep’s wool and I have deliberately kept it undecorated to emphasis the less extravagant image of the queen in this period of her life.
I chose to finish my pages with a memorial to Marie Antoinette. I have deliberately chosen torn scraps of pretty french fabric as a background symbolising the royalty stripped of their finery, with a floral wreath with vintage flowers and trim from a vintage petticoat, broken jewels a silver heart representing the loves that were lost and a little plaque to remember.Her initials hang below in gold to emphasise the importance of her position.
Marie Antoinette the last Queen of France.
(See Flickr on the side bar - you can enlarge pictures for better look)