Thursday, 2 February 2012

The White Queen of Ballet

19th century history of fashion book illustration of Henri III 
and Louise
Image source: Wikipedia
The fountain chariot that carried Louise, her ladies and musicians in Le Ballet Comique de la Reine, 1581.   
Image source: Wikipedia

Louise of Lorraine (1553 -1601), queen consort of France, for once not overshadowed by her terrifying mother-in-law, Catherine de Medici, stepped out of a fountain chariot.......
to dance in the first exquisitely staged ballet de cour at the wedding of her sister to her husband's boyfriend. After the Valois monarchy became extinct on the assassination of Henri III, she spent her widowhood dressed in white mourning, cloistered like a nun in black-draped rooms in beautiful Chenonceau, loyal to a piously filtered memory of her erratic, cross-dressing husband, with whom she had shared a loving friendship, inconsolable and childless.
Louise of Lorraine, queen consort of Henri III,
c.1580. Image source: Wikipedia