Currently Reading…The Duchess by Amanda Foreman

27 Feb

So yes, I’m reading two books at once which can be confusing except the the subjects of both (Marie Antoinette and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire) are so similar that it makes the whole precess feel almost like reading one super awesome book. Really. The two famous women of the late 18th knew each other well and became close friends when Georgiana went to Paris and stayed with the Queen at Versailles.

Both women had married young and were around the same age. Both had experience with distant and rather emotionally frozen husbands and both had a deep love for fashion. Just as Marie Antoinette set the fashion world on fire in France, Georgiana was the fashion queen of England. Both women were hounded endlessly by the paparazzi of the day (the local papers) and criticized for their outlandish fashion statements.

Above, the Duchess of Devonshire is being mocked for her methods of political gain, shown kissing the butcher the gain his vote for The Whig Party. The Whigs were the political party endorsed by the Duchess and her Husband as well as their inner circle known as the ton.
Above, a scene of gambling which became infamously synonymous with the Devonshire house and their aristocratic friends. Georgiana had a known gambling problem and throughout her life, incurred large debts because of it.
This image above shows Marie Anotinette and her husband King Louis in a satire of her ‘barnyard life’. The queen was outwardly criticized for her ‘make-believe peasant life’ she created and lived out in Le Petit Trianon, a gift home from her husband.
This image shows Marie Anotoinette’s famous hairstyle in which she wore a boat atop a large pouf in her hair to commemorate a French Naval victory. Georgiana also famously wore a similar look.
Though neither woman could be called a saint, they both suffered similar feelings of being imprisoned in their marriages and both felt the constant need to ‘preform’ for the public as well as the fellow members of the aristocratic class. Both women used fashion as a means to express themselves and to gain attention and political prowess in a time where women had very little. Are you madly in love love with them yet?
Though there have been countless books chronicling the life of Marie Antoinette, none before had analysed the role her fashion choices had in the making of the woman and the hostilities against her. If you want a totally different take on 18th century life, politics and propaganda (and of course, the queen herself) you MUST read Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution.
 I have already seen the movie The Duchess staring Kiera Knightly and Ralph Fiennes but I was not a huge fan (I think I’m in the majority here but stay with me). I feel like it focused too heavily on just a few aspects of her life and didn’t really give good insight into just how insecure Georgiana felt from her upbringing (her constant need to please her parents is discussed thoroughly in Amanda Foreman’s book). Though it was a feast for the eyes and the actors did an amazing job at bringing the characters to life, the movie was very, very depressing. And I know Georgiana’s life was far from happy but it would have been nice to have given her more moments of happiness  along with showing her suffering.  Below are some images form the film version of The Duchess.
Above: A costume from the film on display, the wedding dress.
Above: More of Georgiana’s amazing costumes worn by Kiera throughout the film.
I have a major crush on this hat.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: