A Sunday morning with Moony, Blackie and Betty sipping tea – and chatting with them as only cats can do…my cats are very talkative and sometimes seem to pick up words from us. Clearly they understand everything. Sometimes they talk together and I enjoy listening, wondering what they are thinking. They are very independent thinkers.

 So while they know exactly what I say, they do not always do what I say.

 

“You are the Great Cat, the avenger of the gods, and the judge of words,

 and the governor of the holy Circle.”

Apparently this quote is an inscription in the Valley of the Kings . My father used to tell us all these beautiful stories about Egypt and all the meanings the cat held in their culture –bringer of joy, dance, music, health, healing…and more and more.

  My cats know this of course.

Cats were always part of Egypt, and the ancient Egyptians strongly

 believed in this link. They were held in great esteem, closely connected to a number of gods and goddesses and  considered to be demi-gods.

  Archeologists have found a mummified cat in a royal tomb

 with the name of Puss – true!  clearly beloved by Pharaoh!
Here, the British Museum’s publication of Jaromir Malek’s 1993 study on the attitudes we have towards cats, and how they have not changed since antiquity.

Louis Auchincloss, himself from an American family dynasty of great wealth,

wrote an historical novel about the court of Louis XIV, and the political and amorous intrigues behind the glittering reign of the Sun King.
It is the narrative of the Duc de Saint Simon, the cat,

 who recorded his memoirs of the life he observed at the court.

  Here, the cover illustration of Versailles, Place d’Armes in 1688.

Walking through the many rooms of the Chateau of Versailles for the dinner

 in honor of the Bourellec brothers, Ronan and Erwan, it is fascinating to experience the grandeur and the magic after so much history has passed here.  My eye was caught by the napkins pleated in such a wonderful way on the tables in the apartments, under a glass window . I was told that a Spaniard comes just to pleat the napkins the way they used to…

 

 

 

A cold and windy evening at Versailles reminds me of how cold it must have been in the days of the Sun King when all his court lived here.

Louis was the trendsetter throughout Europe, and was always changing what he wore.

 The secret of the King was to enflame his courtiers’ egos to wear his latest style.

He would create very expensive fabrics and accessories so that money would come to the Parisian manufacturers of silks, ribbons, and fine linens.

 The first golden age of Parisian Couture. Everybody had to pay attention – and pay lots of money to have the “look”.  Even the ribbons tied around his legs were a big issue, as they were so expensive and he would change the ribbons all the time

…a story I didn’t know and listened to like a child.

An amazing book over 30 years old now 1981. With text by Louis Auchincloss, and Jacqueline Kennedy as editor for Doubleday, “Unseen” Versailles’ photographs show the hidden corners and back rooms of a Versaille falling into ruin.

 Turbeville tells the stories of ghosts and intrigues seen out of the corners of the eye. Always oblique.

A  dear and close friend, we worked together for many years at Vogue
and our friendship stayed firm over the years as our lives moved on.  She was in Milano mounting her “Studio St Petersbourg” exhibition at my gallery in 1998 and we found the same laughs we were sharing in Venice more than ten years before during the Carnival, taking pictures of masqued women in the deserted wet city ,
 looking for unknown places. For ever in my heart.

The ” Gabriel” chandelier over the Gabriel staircase was named for the king’s architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, and created by Erwan and Ronan Bourellec.

Realized in Swarovski  crystals,  the three interlacing strands,

are made of hundreds of Swarovski crystals illuminated by led lights,

and will be a permanent installation at Versailles.

As delicate as the Sun King’s own jewels, it is the first contemporary chandelier

 ever installed at Versailles.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: Sunday, November 17th, 2013

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