A French Portrait Miniature Mounted in a Horn Box. Circa 1790-1800 The circular box is mounted with a large miniature mounted in the top with a pressed brass surround. ;A brass bezel surrounds the lower section of the lower portion of the box to receive the cover. The miniature depicts an attractive young woman sitting before a landscape background. ;The woman, ;a "Merveilleuses" sits facing left, her head turned slightly. ;She wears a white muslin dress à la Grecque with a coral coloured wide belt around her waist with a white clasp. ;Her full curly hair is loosly pulled together with a coral coloured ribbon. Diameter: 3 1/8 inch; Height: 1 inch. Reference: Quicherat, Jules. Histoire du costume en France, ;Paris, 1875. Scans by C. Leo Maginnis 1794-95 (possibly) Madame Theresa Tallien by David From the article: LES INCROYABLES ET MERVEILLEUSES: FASHION AS ANTI-REBELLION ;(http://www.blastmilk.com/decollete/guillotine/fashion/incroyables-et-merveilleus.php) Les Merveilleuses, or Marvelous Women, ruled the live fast, die young social whirlwind that took over the salons of Paris after the Terror. At their front Thérésa Cabarrus Fontenay Tallien and Joséphine de Beauharnais (later Empress) both of whom just barely survived the Jacobin regime. It was partly on Thérésa''s behalf, with whom Tallien had been conducting a torrid affair, that he spearheaded the Thermadorian take down of Robespierre and the Montagnards. The à la Grecque style typified by Thérésa, Joséphine, and Madame Récamier consisted of clinging, flowing classical Greek and Roman styles in white silks and muslins, draped with brightly colored shawls and ribbons edged with classical motifs. The once allegorical fashion left the painters studio and took to the streets and ballrooms, their dainty feet shod in golden sandals, and dresses dampened to enhance their cling (though wearing knitted flesh colored stays and stockings to preserve a vestige of modesty). Madame Tallien though was the real deal, and famously appeared at the Paris Opera wearing a white silk dress without sleeves and sans petticoats (gasp!). Charles Maurice de Talleyrand commented: "Il n''est pas possible de s''exposer plus somptueusement!" ("It is not possible to exhibit oneself more sumptuously!") [source: wikipedia]. Hair was worn curled and dressed with ribbons à la grecque or clipped short à la victime or à la titus, in emulation of the last haircut the condemned received before being sent to the guillotine so as not to impede the blade. This short and sassy style lasted amazingly till the early 1800s, but never caught on in England or other countries, unlike the empire waisted dress, which proved the silhouette du jour for nearly thirty years.
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