there need be but small wonder that this mode, which was created in their honour, should have flourished "like the green bay tree."
It must be remembered particularly, moreover, that other personalities and forces than those I have named were actively at work. The nature of the dictator whose favour and approval were perforce being courted by those to whose hands the beautification of the royal residences was entrusted, was hardly such as to insist upon the adoption of the strictest code of morality in art or in any other regard. The frivolous Marie-Jeanne Vaubernier, when she was first brought under the notice of Louis the Fifteenth by his valet de chambre, Lebel, and before her title had been conferred upon her, had, although then only in her " teens," gone through varied experiences of a character from which elevation of the mind or tastes could hardly be expected. After the Marchioness du Pompadour, she became all powerful in the kingdom; and her word in everything, from the appointment of a minister to the acquisition of a pet puppy, was supreme. Architects, painters, poets, playwrights, musicians, sculptors, goldsmiths, cabinet makers, upholsterers, decorators, metal workers, and all other disciples of the fine and applied arts, anxious to secure the patronage of the court, submitted their schemes to her, or to officials appointed by her, who would study her preferences in every particular. It was inevitable, therefore, that the art of the period should reflect the tastes of the erstwhile grisette, but then it was the taste of the grisette glorified by the master minds of the age. Truly, in "La Petite Jeanne," diminutive though she was in physical stature, the king encountered a spirit that was neither to be daunted nor thwarted. She intended to have her own way, and had it. In the earliest days of her association with her royal lover, she suddenly came to the conclusion that her little Pavilion at Luciennes ought to be created a Royal Residence. The king laughed at the suggestion, but a Royal Residence it became, and her negro page,
Was this article helpful?