Friday, November 21, 2008
Poking around on the web today, I found a wonderful site that reproduces exquisite color plates of French women's costume from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. The plates are taken from a collaborative work by eighteenth-century artist Louis-Marie Lanté and engraver Georges-Jacques Gatine entitled Galerie française de femmes célèbres par leurs talens, leur rang ou leur beauté (French Gallery of Women Famous for their Talents, Rank or Beauty), published in 1827. The author-artists are known, among other things, for recording French regional costumes of their era. The Galerie features "portraits" of many of the women featured here--Louise de Savoie, Queen Claude, Marguerite de Navarre, Madame d'Etampes, Catherine de Medici.... I'm trying to find out how accurate the costume portrayals are, but to first order they appear trustworthy. In any case, they're beautiful. I couldn't find any public domain images to post, so be sure to visit the site. Click on a thumbnail to view a larger version. The sixteenth-century columns and personalities begin with Queen Claude's mother, Anne de Bretagne, in the middle of the fourth row and continue through the eighth row and the court of Henri IV.