In Mistress of the Sun, I created a locked cabinet in which Athénaïs kept her secrets. Now, it appears, that such a cabinet has been found. “Secrets of rare Louis XIV cabinet unlocked,” an article in the U.K. Telegraph, reports the discovery of an ornate cabinet, the only surviving furniture from Louis XIV‘s Versailles. It is thought to have belonged to Athénaïs because it is decorated with the flower and animal images dear to her. Not many pieces of furniture have survived from the Baroque era, and this is one, made of ebony, marble, and bronze guilt, and encrusted with semi-precious stones is one of the most opulent.
Most of the drawers are locked, so it was definitely a place where she might have kept something precious … or secret (such as love powders and spells).
This cabinet, along with other examples of Baroque style furnishings, will be shown in an exhibition at the V&A museum in London April 4 to July 19: Baroque 1620 – 1800: Style in the Age of Magnificence. I wish I could be there, but the V&A website for the show is a visual treat, in an of itself.
(Shown here: a mirror from the V&A show. Mirrors painted with flowers and other motifs were first used in Italy during the Baroque period.)
Susan, the exhibition at Versailles is titled:
“Court pomp and royal ceremonies: court dress in Europe 1650-1800” It’s there until June 28.
Up to July 19, one could manage to see them both. OHHHH, it’s killing me! Okay, quick, I’ll do a post on the Versailles exhibit, just to torture myself.
Court dress!!! Oh, Sandra!
There’s so little actual clothing left from the 17th century, let alone court dress — the same photographs of the same gowns and coats always turn up over and over — and I also suspect they’re seldom on display on account of the fragility of the textiles. A whole exhibition is tempting indeed, and what better place than Versailles?
Hi Lucy & Susan,
This particular exhibit is SOOO tempting, in part because at Versailles, at the same time (only a hop, skip and a jump away) there's a special exhibit on Court dress. I can't bear it!
Thank you so much for this link, Sandra. Very cool! It’s fascinating how often things we “imagine” turn out to be based in fact, isn’t it?
One of my fondest dreams is to be able to travel to every museum exhibition I wished, no matter what the continent. Of course, that wouldn’t leave much time for actual WRITING, but still….
This is truly amazing Sandra. This reinforces my belief that absolutely nothing is a coincidence. Thanks:)