Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mission Statement - the purpose of this blog

Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, "Marie Antoinette en gaulle", 1783.
 Private Collection.

So much about the chemise a la reine is speculative and shrouded in the mythos of Marie Antoinette. And unlike the thousands of other extant 18th century garments in museum and private collections, there are only two extant chemise gowns that are currently in known museum collections. This is an exceptionally rare garment, and except for one brief study done on the gown housed at the Manchester Galleries by Nora Waugh, no one has actually researched or documented either dress in full.
In the research I've done so far, I've realized that there is so much confusion regarding this style of gown, so much of it tied to Marie Antoinette (where the name "chemise a la reine" comes from), but that very little of that information is based on the historical record. It was a notorious dress in its day, but no one has ever addressed the question of WHY other than "well, Marie Antoinette wore it! And she was notorious!" What I've discovered so far is that there's way, way more to it than just "Marie Antoinette."
I have been given permission by Dr. Miles Lambert of the Manchester Gallery in England to study the extant chemise gown in their collection.  However, travel is expensive, and travel for research purposes is no different.  So, I turn to you, Internet Friends, to help achieve the goal of flying from my home in California, to the city of Manchester, UK, to study this unique garment in person in the Fall of 2012.  The money raised will go to paying travel costs, and any remainder will be applied toward publishing my findings in 2013.  I want to make this valuable information available to the general public, in particular students of historic clothing and costume, and it all begins here!  
Your help is greatly appreciated!


  1. I have to say, I am really looking forward to following your research project. I find this subject really fascinating and I'm glad someone is finally going to do a comprehensive study.

  2. Hi,

    I was a french student in history of art, my master degree's topic was "La chemise à la reine dans la peinture de Vigée Lebrun" si i made a lot of research about this topic if you want and because i love your blog's idea i can send you on email my master degree (but it would be in french).
    Now i study in order to became a costume movie (or theater and opera) and i am really interest your purpose ^_^

    1. Hi Marie,

      I would love to read your master's thesis! Please send it to

      Thank you so much for your generous offer! :)