The Exquisite: Boudoir

This is the second post of a new series to ‘things i’m loving…’ called The Exquisite, where I profile entries from the book “Encyclopedia of the Exquisite: An Anecdotal History of Elegant Delights” by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins.


A woman’s private lair

 Text from “Encyclopedia of the Exquisite” by Jessica Kerwin Jenkins

Lying in her bed, Catherine de Vivonne, Marquise de Rambouillet, oversaw France’s first true salon, then called a ruelle, the name for the little alleyway between the bed and the wall where a lady’s friends sat to chat with her while she lounged. The horizontal marquise, raised in genteel Italy, retired early from Henri IV’s licentious Parisian court, claiming ill health, and established instead a weekly rendezvous of the city’s brightest lights – Madame de Sevigne, Guez de Balzac, Richelieu, La Rochefoucault – in her boudoir, the famed chambre bleu. There, she reigned for over forty years, surrounded by admirers, hundreds of lit candles, and baskets of fresh-cut flowers. The scene that was, as one habitue noted, “less crowded and more refined than at the Louvre.”

Click on images for sources. 

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