Sunday, 2 August 2015

The Musée Gadagne in Lyon

Lillian:  We like to find the museums that tell you about the history of the places we visit - the ones that focus on the town & region.  These museums can give you a better understanding of a place - its history & background, its industries and reasons for being where and what it is.

Musée Gadagne, Lyon
Audrey:  Oh - is that why we went to The Musée Gadagne?  It is in the old town, Vieux Lyon, and most of the buildings date from the 1600s.

Lillian:  There is a wonderful stone spiral staircase ...

and a truly massive fireplace - this is just part of it, a pillar at the side.

This museum has 2 collections.  One is about the history of Lyon and the other is a collection of puppets.  In this post we'll show you some of the history of Lyon collection - puppets in the next post.
Lillian:  We looked at the portraits of notable locals and found lots of lovely costume details ...

Audrey:  and some notable noses!

This person wearing a nicely painted ruff is Pomponne de Bellièvre - born in Lyon in 1529 he was a diplomat during the reign of Henri III and was Chancellor of France from 1599 till his death in 1605.

And this is François de Mandelot, a Governor of Lyon, his ruff is obviously fastened (tied) at the front.

Audrey:  Our camera person was researching lace - and found some paintings with great lace details ...

This lady is wearing a whole lot of wealth - she was Madeleine de Créqui, marquise de Villeroy, wife of Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy and this was painted in 1627 when she was 18 yrs old.  

Lillian:  Here is some detail of her lace collar - possibly Reticella or Punto in Aria (both are needle laces).  Madeleine also wears pearls and holds the metal aiglets that are on the ends of the ribbon round her waist. 

Audrey: This collar was worn by a relative of Madeleine's - Charles de Neuville the marquis de Villeroy et d'Halincourt, another Governor of Lyon.  The portrait was painted by a Carmelite Nun so we don't know her name.

Lillian:  But we do know that she had a wonderful eye for detail - look at the hem on this collar, the way the lace is pleated at the corner and the tassels on the ties of the collar. 
Audrey:  Some later pieces of lace - a splendid cravat, nattily tucked into his coat ...

Lillian:  The cravat wearer is sculptor Nicolas Coustou (1658-1733) the painting attributed to Jean Legros.   

Geoffrey Chasseing painted by Donat Nonnotte in 1755

Audrey:  And this was painted by Anne-Marie Perrache, it is a portrait of her brother Antoine-Michel Perrache (1726-1779) - he was a sculptor and engineer.

 Lillian:  Some lovely clothes on lady poets -

Pernette du Guillet

Louise Labé 

Audrey:  The stained glass is by Lucien Bégule and dates from 1900 but the lady it portrays -  
Louise Labé was born in 1526.  She had an adventurous, rather controversial life. 

Lillian:  Well, perhaps that is enough of notable Lyonnaise - what else did we see ...

Audrey:  There was The Best Ever Dolls' House ... unfortunately it was in a glass case, so we couldn't move in!
Model of l'hôtel de ville de Lyon - the Town Hall
Lillian:  And then we went to the rooms that were about Lyon's industrial history and that means weaving.  Lyon was historically known as an important area for the production and weaving of silk.

Audrey:  Wasn't it one of the early King Louises who set up the industry because wealthy French people were spending too much on nice fabric from Italy?

Lillian: Something like that - it was Louis XI in 1466 and he encouraged spinners and weavers from Italy to come to Lyon to establish the industry there.  In 1540, Francois I gave Lyon a monopoly on silk manufacturing and fine silks coming into France had to pass through Lyon's warehouses.

In the early 1600s a master weaver called Claude Dangon improving on the Italian looms, developed the type named "métier à la grande tire" and this type of loom was in use until the early 1800s


In 1620 there were more than 10,000 looms in Lyon.

Weaving was a family business - the canuts (weavers) owned their looms, they took up most of the space in the home and they worked hard to produce beautiful & fashionable fabrics.  But it was a living and things weren't too bad until 1685 when many French Huguenots fled the country - many Huguenots were experts in the textile industries.  The end of Louis XIVs reign also saw a slump in demand for luxurious silks.

However, by the time of the French revolution there were 15,000 looms in Lyon.

Audrey:   The revolution wouldn't have been good for the silk industry!

Lillian:  No - by 1797 there were 90% fewer people working in textiles.
But then we get a remarkable development and a forerunner of digital technology - because in 1801 Joseph Marie Jacquard developed a mechanical loom controlled by thick cards with punched holes.  (Seeing what this sort of loom could produce inspired Charles Babbage to use perforated cards in his analytical engine - the first computer.)

Audrey:  Here you can see the cards, all laced together, being fed through the 'Jacquard head' above the loom.   "Each position in the card corresponds to a "Bolus" hook, which can either be raised or stopped dependent on whether the hole is punched out of the card or the card is solid. The hook raises or lowers the harness, which carries and guides the warp thread so that the weft will either lie above or below it. The sequence of raised and lowered threads is what creates the pattern." (from Wikipedia here)

Jacquard Loom mechanics
Audrey:  The cards then fold under the loom. 

Lillian:  Lack of demand meant poor prices for silks - this meant even worse pay and there had always been bad conditions for the weavers ... this all led to the Révolte des canuts in 1831, 1834 & 1848  - these were some of the first worker uprisings of the Industrial Revolution.   There was a lot of violence - but despite these uprisings the silk industry in Lyon was booming by the middle of the 19th century.

Lillian:   And when a city produced wonderful fabric that generated other industries - garment manufacture, millinery, chemicals originally connected to the dying of textiles ...  and Lyon still has a large chemical manufacturing industry.

Audrey:  There were some wonderful signs in the museum - this one was huge.  

Madam Babet - was a midwife and she took in boarders?!?   she was on the 1st floor

Then we saw some uniforms - this one for a  Garde d'honneur of Napoleon - white wool with pink revers and piping.  It doesn't look comfortable - unless the wearer had a very long neck and was not relying on his coat  to keep his tummy warm!

And this belonged to a gentleman who was short and round.

but the embroidery is magnificent

Lillian:  Finally, another little industry that was probably a spin-off from the silk weaving - silk flower making.  Camera person took photos of some of the tools and molds despite low light and reflecting glass cases.

Next Post - Puppets

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