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.  

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