Friday, May 20, 2011
Memoirs of Madame DuBarry
If there's one thing I can't resist, it's a pretty book! I ran into a complete copy of the 1956 re-print of the Memoirs of Madame Du Barry first published in 1775 in France (and then banned). The book follows the 1777 English translation and comes in this wonderful dusty pink hardback book, with blue silk spine and silver stars tucked into a delightful marbled paper box sleeve.
Madame Du Barry the last mistress of Louis XV has kind of found a special place in my heart as possibly my favorite "character" from 18th Century Versailles. I read her more recent biography "Wages of Beauty" a few years ago and loved reading about her shoot to fame, and felt sad at her rather tragic demise. She was a colorful lady surrounded by so many colorful people in turbulent times.
This book I largely picked up because it looked like such a lovely object in itself, and from such an early source.
One thing that was a wonderful surprise to me when I opened it was the illustrations (I wasn't expecting any) there are several watercolors by Sir William Russel Flint, some with gorgeous dresses, some a bit more pin up courtesan ;P.
I know they say you can't judge a book by it's cover, but when it's a beautiful mid-century reprint, of a book that caused such a scandal, about a woman who was such a scandal I can't help but get good vibes!
I'm looking forward to giving this book a good read when I've finished my current book ("Little Stranger" by Sarah Waters, so glad I got that one in England, the UK cover is soooo much nicer than the US one) For now though I hope you enjoy the DuBarry pictures I'd not seen around before.