Sunday, 29 July 2012

Nancy - le Musée Lorrain in the Ducal Palace

Angel of the Annunciation - 16th C.
Lillian :  We have a touristy tip - when you are in a new place make sure to visit the regional museum - the Museum that focuses on the culture of that particular place.  It helps to get a real feel of the history of an area and the culture - what makes that area special.

Audrey :  Good tip Lillian,  the Musée Lorrain is in the splendid Ducal Palace & the ex-Franciscan monastery next door.  

In this post we'll show you photos of some of the things in the Ducal Palace.

Lillian :  Most museums & art galleries in Europe allow photography - just don't use the flash. 

Audrey :  Our stylist thought this was a marvelous opportunity to gather research on historical fashions and on lace - so we have lots of photos of clothes ... and the details of garments ...

Lillian :  We've started with some splendid stained glass and the last 2 photos are parts of an Adoration of the 3 Kings (in French - l'adoration des Rois mages) from the l’église Sainte-Ségolène in Metz  dated approx. 1390 and attributed to Hermann von Münster ...
Audrey :  Wasn't Herman Munster on the TV??
Lillian :  I think that was a different Monster umm I mean Munster.  Did you notice the fantastic detail of the shoes and scalloped edges?

Audrey :  More lovely detail in the cap and garments in this bas-relief altarpiece of the Lamentation of Christ from the early 1600s.  It is of "polychromed alabaster" - we think that means that it was painted.  

Lillian :  Apparently Lorraine produced a lot of alabaster statuary but few examples remain.

Lillian :  The Ducal Palace was built in the 15th C for René II and I think that this is a statue of him - he is often pictured on a horse and waving a sword about ... notice the thistle on the pedestal (it's a symbol of Lorraine).
Audrey :  You are looking rather swashbucklish yourself with your velvet pants and froggy boots! 
Lillian :  Urr thanks.  While we are thinking about weaponry - what about the cabinet with the wax-work diorama in it.
Audrey :  A beautiful cabinet but ... the subject of the wax-work diorama was quite horrible. 

Lillian :  The Martyrs de Trèves (Trier) - this cabinet was made in Germany in 1759.  The subject is horrid but you have to admire the work that went into making it - the wax figures are amazingly detailed - here is some detail - with the reflections off the glass this is the best photo our people could get...
Audrey :  All those little wax figures - and he isn't wearing very much.  Is that his underwear showing over his tights?  
Lillian :  Looks like it - perhaps braies (medieval underwear for men) were worn with hose ... 
Audrey :  And I thought that showing the top of your undies above your trousers was a recent male fashion.
Lillian :  Well, fashion has a habit or repeating itself.  Let us look at more historical fashions in some portraits.

Audrey :  That is sweet - 2 paintings of the same person.  Nicole de Lorraine at 13months old in 1607 and then all grown up.
 Lillian :  Nicole, Duchess of Lorraine was the only surviving child of Henri II Duke of Lorraine, but she couldn't inherit the Duchy because she was a woman.  She married the eldest son of the Count of Vaudémont and he became Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine.  The marriage was not a happy one and they had no children.
Audrey :  Oh that's sad - she looks like a dolly in all that dress & lace as a baby - and the collar in the other portrait looks so very Art Deco!
 Lillian :  I guess the collar was very fine and very starched linen.  Here are more important people wearing uncomfortable clothes.
Audrey :  Click on the details to see the wonderful lace.  His frills are all gold lace - it was bobbin / pillow lace made from gold thread, actual gold - it was sold by the weight.  Who was this gent with the 'five o'clock shadow'?

Lillian :  He was François III, Duke of Lorraine, & François I, Marie-
Thérèse of Austria who is in the other portrait of this pair - attributed to Martin van Meytens.

Audrey :  Oh - they are Marie Antoinette's mum & dad.
Lillian :  Yes, Marie Antoinette was the 2nd youngest of their 16 children.
Audrey :  A typical over-achieving couple of the 18th Century!
Lillian :  François III was the last Duke of Lorraine.  Under the Treaty of Vienna in 1738, Louis XV gave Lorraine to his father-in-law and ex-King of Poland - Stanisław Leszczyński.

Audrey :   This portrait (C.1740) is of Stan's wife Catherine Opalinska. 

and, wearing a very similar frock is her daughter Marie.  

This portrait (C.1726 by Francois Stiemart) shows Marie shortly after her marriage to Louis XV, she is holding a branch of orange blossom.

Audrey :  While we are with Stan's family, remember the well-dressed ... well we thought this was a puppet.
Lillian :  It is actually a life-sized mannequin of Nicolas Ferry, known as Bébé (1741–1764).   A Little Person (he grew to only 34" / 86cm) he was quite a favourite in Stanislaw's court;  Bébé was famous for his pranks and jokes.  Recent researchers think Nicolas had a very rare form of dwarfism. 
Audrey :  Those clothes were actually his.  
Lillian :   Stanislaw had his court in Lunéville, an area still famous for its ceramics & pottery.  There are some nice examples in the Musée Lorrain ...
The Gardener
after Paul-Louis Cyfflé (1724-1806)
Biscuit de terre de Lorraine

Epergne - Leda & the Swan - C.1770
after Paul-Louis Cyfflé Biscuit de terre de Lorraine

Audrey :  You liked that gazebo - I rather liked this chap - General Maximilien-Sébastien Foy.
General Foy (1775-1825)
Manufacture de Niderviller C.1820

Notice the M cuts in his collar.

Jeune femme et l'enfant
Pierre Jospeh Michel 1781

I found this terracotta figurine quite charming

Audrey :  We found these pretty and very large things all of ceramic tiles ... 
Lillian :   Ceramic or tile stoves.  They are basically heaters.  

Not sure why this one has an urn on top - but I guess the heat was meant to escape through the lattice ...

Audrey :  So many things to discover, so much to learn.  

And then we found the room full of miniatures ... doll sized portraits of people!

Lillian :  Yes, mostly on ivory, some beautifully done.  We'll show you the best photos of the best outfits ...
Audrey :  Just look at these bonnets!

Lillian :  There were lots of military gentlemen ... the early 1800s was a time of wars and upheaval.

Audrey : Probably slightly later - a chap with an interesting moustache.
Lillian :  We had a lot of fun in the Ducal Palace part of the le Musée Lorrain -

Audrey : Then we had some lunch and in the afternoon, we came back to explore the other part of the museum - the folk art, regional furniture & traditional Lorraine interiors housed in the ex-Franciscan monastery next door to the palace.  
Lillian :  Let us show you our photos of all that in the next post.  

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Nancy - more architectural delights in Saurupt

Lillian :  In our last we showed you lots of photos of the splendid Art Nouveau homes in Saurupt.  This suburb of Nancy was originally planned as a rather exclusive almost "gated community" of beautiful villas designed by members of the École de Nancy.

It didn't quite work out and only 6 such villas were built in 6 years - most of the town-houses and homes in the area were built later and some are delightful examples of the Art Deco style.  Our people are very fond of architectural detail - so they took plenty of photos.

Audrey :  This house was my favourite - "Villa des Colombes" (doves)  it has everything - balconies, lead-light windows, a great garden and the sweetest tower, straight out of a fairy-tale!

Lillian :  In the complex layout - with the tower and that really complicated roof, this villa is very like the École de Nancy (Art Nouveau) ones we showed in the last post.  

However, the decoration is very Art Deco.  We tend to think of the 2 "Art" styles as quite separate but in fashion & architecture (perhaps in other areas too) they sometimes blend, one into the other.

  Audrey : Lots of Colombes on the gorgeous tower -

Quite Art Deco

And see the pair of love doves in the ironwork balustrade on the balcony?
Audrey :  We saw this Art Deco bird balcony on another home -
 and can you see the birdies in this lovely lead-light window?


Lillian :  Here is some coloured glass-work & iron work together - a lovely Art Deco entrance door.

Audrey :  And another, from another building -

it was quite imposing with pillars and lots of Art Deco detailing.

Lillian :  The ironwork had curly clouds and lots of strong angles.

Masonry detailing included massed flowers under the balconies and... 
 Some very Art Deco motifs on the corner tower.

Here is the "signature" on this building -  Masson 1930.

Audrey :  Monsieur Masson must've been busy, we found his name on lots of buildings.  This is dated 1928 with a popular motif of pine cones.

Lillian : Ah - Charles Masson, he was the brother-in-law of Eugène Corbin.  Remember that amazing Salle a manger (dining room) in the Museum?  {some photos in this post} well, it was designed for & Monsieur Masson's own home.

Audrey : All those creative people in Nancy knew each other & worked for and with each other.  What can we find out about this busy Architect?  Monsieur Pain, I mean, was he one?
Lillian :  Now don't be naughty "pain" is not the same word in French.
Audrey :  I know, it means "bread"  (very strange if you ask me!)  Tell us about Mr Bread.
Lillian :  {sigh}  César Pain, best known for a row of houses along Rue Felix-Faure. Les Clematites and La Tatiana are decorated with pretty, floral Art Nouveau sgraffito.  We found his name on this building 
Decorated with ceramic tiles in a 'piano key' design ... and we found this on several homes.


Audrey :  Lovely window and is that some fading sgraffito under the eaves?
Lillian :  Let's see more architectural curves ...  A wonderful doorway in the shape of a Capital P


and here is a short round tower ...

Audrey :  Can you see the wonderful little waterspout?  Here it is in close-up
Lillian :  Our last building from Saurupt must have been built as a Chemist's
The lovely doorway (shuttered on the Sunday we were there) flanked by foxgloves.
Audrey :  Any reason for the foxgloves?  apart from their being really pretty and tall - so they fit that space very well. 
Lillian :  Well, perhaps the botanical name gives you a hint, Digitalis.  The digitalin heart medicines were made from foxglove plants.

 Lillian :  In our next post I think we'll move away from architectural details, what do you think Audrey?
Audrey :  Good idea, we haven't posted any photos of us dollies for a long time.