A House of Bourbon Holiday

Floral beauty in the Marie-Antoinette pattern by Bernardaud, a nod to the House of Bourbon

Marie-Antoinette, one of The Historic Table patterns of the House of Bourbon now produced by Bernardaud.

My latest post on The Diary of an Improvateur features a literary design escapade I’ll be taking next month when I visit Bernardaud in Limoges during my trip to France for Maison & Objet. The manufacturer’s Historic Table patterns include one bought by Louis XV for Fontainebleau, for instance and Marie Antoinette’s pattern. These reach back to a time when the House of Bourbon was lauded for luxurious accouterments.

Shop Like You Queen It

Since the holidays are truly upon us, I decided to peruse Lidy Baar’s French Garden House for a few goodies that reflect a hint of that je ne sais quoi that made Marie Antoinette and her courtiers so memorable. And since our M.O. here at Productrazzi is one for me/one for you, I chose must-haves for your chateau along with gift ideas for those Francophiles on your holiday shopping list.

Make Mine a Bourbon

A Louis XVI-style cane settee.

A Louis XVI-style cane settee.

This Louis XVI-style cane settee makes my heart go pitter-pat. The combination of the caning and hand-carved twining ribbons, French scrolls and floral roses at its crest make this a sublime example of the Louis Seize style. It seats two comfortably and sells for $2875.

French Garden House sells this Louis XV-style daybed sofa

A Louis XV-style daybed sofa.

It’s no secret that Marie Antoinette saw her grandfather-in-law as a carousing ladies man so this Louis XV-style daybed sofa is just the ticket for an afternoon delight, don’t you think? The upholstered daybed has an undulant frame with elegant hand-carved French scrolls and a floral rose crest at the top. The lovely piece sells for $5520.

Antique Limoges plates at French Garden House

Antique Limoges plates: hand-painted and gold-encrusted to add luxuriant French flair to your table.

Would someone bring on the cake? These antique Limoges plates are hand-painted and gold-encrusted to bring even the most contrarian of queens her just desserts. Made in Limoges, France, by Charles Ahrenfeldt, they are festooned with raised impasto gilt enamel in Rococo details of intricate swags and scrolls. The set sells for $1240.

A 19th-century French Repousse tiara available from French Garden House.

A 19th-century French Repousse tiara available from French Garden House.

This 19th-century French Repousse tiara with pink faceted cut-glass stones would have been right up Marie Antoinette’s allée for those afternoon strolls in the garden at Petit Trianon. The apex of the gilt-brass tiara holds a Fleur de Lis, the symbol of all things Bourbon. The glass jewels on the Ormolu piece are prong-set and the bauble sells for $995.

antique miniature portrait of Marie Antoinette

An antique miniature portrait of Marie Antoinette.

Paying homage to the capricious Queen is as easy as adding an antique miniature portrait of Marie Antoinette to your décor. The collectible is hand-painted after Marie-Antoinette à la rose by the Queen’s favorite portraitist Élisabeth Louise Vigée Lebrun. The miniature of the French queen, which sells for $340, is painted with tiny brushstrokes in bright, vivid colors.

Make Theirs Bourbon Chic

vintage Baccarat whiskey decanter

A vintage Baccarat whiskey decanter.

They don’t call it the House of Bourbon for nothing: give the liquor-drinker in your inner circle a vintage Baccarat whiskey decanter and maybe he or she will ply you with royal cocktails. The vessel is made from the gloriously heavy and elegant crystal for which Baccarat has been lauded since 1765 when King Louis XV created the “Compagnie des Cristalleries de Baccarat.” The exquisite paneled design creating the stunning shape makes this a world-class piece of crystal for your palace or a friend’s castle. And it will only set you back $325.

European linen Damask embroidered napkins, available through French Garden House.

European linen Damask embroidered napkins, available through French Garden House.

These European linen Damask embroidered napkins will be your crowning achievement when your guests sit down at your luxuriant table during your next fête. Given there is embroidered damask in one corner and a crown motif on another, you can salute the monarchs in your world by placing these beauties crown forward (or not for a chide). The beuties sell for $20 each.

A 19th-century gilt brass Madonna tiara crown from French Garden House.

A 19th-century gilt brass Madonna tiara crown from French Garden House.

We’ll never be royals but that doesn’t mean we can’t decorate like them. This 19th-century gilt brass Madonna tiara crown declares, “I’m queen for a day everyday!” Holding round cabochon stones in a deep red, the gilded brass sets a luxurious tone with stunning scrollwork and ornamentation. The bottom band has delicate floral bouquets and heart motifs, and the lovely accessory sells for $825.

Bonne Nuit embroidered accent pillow

Say goodnight in French style with this Bonne Nuit embroidered accent pillow.

Few bedrooms have seen as much action as those owned by the Bourbon kings and queens so make a courtly statement in your boudoir when saying good night with this Bonne Nuit embroidered accent pillow. Made of natural linen in Europe, the small ruffled edge adds a gracious touch. It sells for $60.

We’ll have one more post featuring holiday gifts early next week and then that’s a wrap for 2015, design devotees, so make like a Francophile and snag some Parisian panache for your home and your friends! That’s a royal edict!

Text of A House of Bourbon Holiday © design blogger Saxon Henry, all rights reserved. Saxon Henry is an author, poet and journalist based in New York City. Books include Anywhere But Here, Stranded on the Road to Promise and Four Florida Moderns. She also maintains The Diary of an Improvateur as a platform for her literary travel and design adventuring, and is a columnist on Architizer.

2 thoughts on “A House of Bourbon Holiday

  1. Thank you so much for this beautiful post, Saxon. Bernardaud’s Marie Antoinette pattern is simply divine! Your upcoming trip sounds absolutely wonderful.

    • I am glad you are happy with it, Lidy. It’s always a pleasure to feature treasures culled by your refined eye! I am very excited about my trip. I’ve not been to France in two years and that’s far too long to be missing the remarkable country! Happy holidays!

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