Archive for August, 2012
Forgive me for lingering in 18th century Prussia a little longer; I’ll return soon to Englands mountains green, but this is just too charming…
Remember back in the early days of your youth, when you escaped math by doodling in your exercise book? Eyes, swirls, patterns, lips, faces, doodles of a slightly indecent nature and random scribblings were of much more interest than the rule of three and algebra. It was like blogging, in a way.
So you can imagine my delight when I came across the following page of Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz’s (wife of Frederick Wilhelm of Prussia, she of the maternity gown, dental hygiene kit and cute pink pointed shoes) exercise book from 1789:
Ladies wearing hats! Bewigged gentlemen! Flower baskets! Some things never change – thanks the Gods; it’s those little tidbits which connect the past with the present (she did have a thing for noses, didn’t she…?)
Duchess Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1776-1810), wife of Frederick William III. of Prussia, was one of the most famous beauties of her time. Even Napoleon, so the legend goes, melted into a (small) puddle of sap upon meeting the lovely Louise in 1806. She also had a good head on her shoulders; when she died, Napoleon commented that Frederick William had lost his “best minister”. It’s easy to see why she was celebrated:
Louise was a style icon, always ahead of the latest fashion trends. Remember her maternity gown (ca. 1800)?
Quite naturally, Louise took great care of her appearance. She was praised for her complexion and her big blue eyes, and her smile was often mentioned as being particularly lovely. Such loveliness doesn’t come without effort, as this picture of Louise’s dental set proves. It dates back to the year of her death, but we can assume that she had owned a similar one previously.
Now that’s some thorough dental health care!
Here are Louise and Frederick William. Politically, her husband wasn’t one to write home about, underestimating the French threat until it was far too late. But at least they made a rather dashing couple, if I may say so.
(Look at her cute pink pointed shoes! Wheee!)