Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 36e Cahier, 1ere Figure

Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre, wearing his royal dress, leaning on his Sceptre. (1781)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1511.  According to the writing at the top of the plate, and to the reprinted Galerie des Modes, this is the first cahier of the third volume, which seems to conflict with the bound second volume at Bunka Gakuen; I don't really know which to go with.  The fact that these are plates of royalty does imply that they're at the beginning of a volume, so there's that.


  1. What is really interesting is that image is a faked image of Louis XVI, but who initiated it ? He is wearing the costume of L'Ordre du Saint Esprit, the most important chivalry order in french mornarchy. This a very old fashion costume (look at his "breeches") because it was fixed very early during the reign of Louis XIV and was supposed to recall old time. The most important part of the costume itself is the coat wich is not only expensive (embroidered of gold) but also incredibly heavy and hard to manipulate Men would always fall wearing it. The king, being the highest ranked of the order was considered the only one able to manage the cloak with ease, and it as more or less an untold metapor on the weight of power. In fact the kind was just training hours to be able to walk in it. The problem is that Louis XVI barely trained with it and on coronation day, wearng it, he tripped over it. Instead of assuming it (he was such a young king, it would have pass), he took a drastic measure, an CUT the cloack to a capelet barely falling down to above the hip ! Which means that this cloak, in 1781, is probably impossible, and yet very interesting :) For some reason, someone either in the magazine, or from the royal comunication staff thought it would embodied the monarchy better

    1. I was thinking it was based on the famous portrait by Callet, but they're not quite the same. Maybe they went off that painting but thought a jauntier pose would be better?

      Oh, Louis.