A Victorian Gentleman in the Days of Versailles Renaissance


1867, the Third International Exposition! The Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are wined and dined by Napoleon III at Chateau Versailles. The Hall of Mirrors and the Royal Opera are lit up with gas. Twelve hundred guests are entertained by four orchestras, Napoleon waltzes with Victoria, Albert with Eugenia, fireworks to Strauss and Dufresne till three in the morning.  We can call this the beginning of the Cordial Entente — the general concept is there, Britain shows off her cheap machine goods, France lays her claim to the market of high-end products: no quarrel, yet there is some friction in the sculpture pavilion where we have a bit of a discord in the jury; finally Count Laborde prevails over his British counterpart in awarding the medal to La Bucchante. The Briton deems it injurious to religion to reward a statue which is so much more guilty of immorality because of its beauty. The Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would agree. As for the heir apparent, Prince Albert Edward works from his end on the idea of the Cordial Understanding, consuming immoderately the Parisian luxury: and here once again a humorous interpretation of the bed as throne raises a mundane object above the world of utilitarian gynecological appliances.

How to Use the Love Chair

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