...I'm an old boudoir full of faded roses,
Where there's a whole mess of outdated fashions,
Where the plaintive pastels and the pale butcher's pale,
Alone, breathing the smell of an open bottle...
Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil
When Res Mirum was launched in January 2015, the curio jewellery that makes up the collection is made up of three lines; one of them is the Boudoir line. Emblematic of an era, it is the singular atmosphere of the boudoirs of yesteryear that the line seeks to retranscribe. But the idea that we commonly have of boudoirs may not be entirely in line with reality... Let's take a little leap in time to unravel some of their mystery.
THE HISTORY OF THE BOUDOIR
We are at the beginning of the 18th century in France. Until then, the rooms of the houses are not dedicated to a particular function; dining rooms, kitchens, bedrooms... are not really defined yet. One must in the same room during the same day, set up a table to eat, then remove the table and arrange the room to serve as a reception area, and move the furniture again to transform the room into a bedroom.
Not very practical, when you know that the big names in modular furniture kits do not yet exist 🙂.
But from now on, a small architectural revolution is being prepared: the distribution of rooms, which will clearly define the role of the bedroom, bathroom, dining room... and in this small upheaval, a desire for intimacy is born; the need for a space where the occupant can withdraw in complete tranquillity, to go about his personal business... and so, the boudoir is born.
THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD BOUDOIR
The origin of the word boudoir is not certain: the idea of a room where one withdraws to "sulk" is probably a little too simple. Rather, it could be a connection with "boude" or "boudie", which meant "navel" and "belly", suggesting a protective, intimate place. But it could also come from the English word "bower" meaning a private practice.
LE BOUDOIR CABINET OF CURIOSITIES
Thus, the boudoir has the vocation at the beginning, to be an intimate place, created in the image of the owner, man as well as woman! And unlike other rooms that are becoming more standardised, it has no defined function; it can sometimes be a library, a study, a curiosity cabinet... it often has a niche with mirrors and a bed covered with a fabric that matches the window curtains.
FROM ARABESQUE TO ORIENTALISM, VARIOUS STYLES
The boudoir is designed with a pronounced concern for comfort, but also for the decor. The styles of the time are expressed with maestro; the influence of nature is very present, with the arabesque, rocaille, grotesque styles; but one also finds there sometimes the exoticism of the orientalism current or China, and the symbols of love through in particular cherubs, cherubs or putti, Venus and Cupid. In any case, it is a comfortable and very richly decorated room, furnished with furniture, porcelain, paintings, to the taste of its owner.
Among the personalities who loved boudoirs were Marie-Antoinette, who had the boudoir of the Petit Trianon fitted out, as well as the silver boudoir and the Turkish boudoir in Fontainebleau; the latter was later much appreciated by Empress Josephine.
Turkish Boudoir © RMN - Fontainebleau castle - Adrien Didierjean
DRIFTS INTO A COURTESAN'S BOUDOIR
And then little by little... the boudoir becomes more feminine, and this place comes to nourish male fantasies. A number of literary works from the second half of the 18th century portrayed a room in which people played sexual games, and came to see it as a place of libertiness-so much so that at the turn of the 19th century, in popular imagery, the boudoir became the courtesan's lair. Even today, the image of the boudoir as a place of frivolity, promiscuity and superficial occupations remains...
But in fact, few boudoirs that we can study today had this licentious destination, and it must be said that the majority of boudoirs that had this destination were... designed by men, and that, moreover, most of the literary works dealing with this tendentious aspect of the boudoir were also... written by men!
THE BOUDOIR OF RES MIRUM
Inspired by luxuriously ornamented textiles; carpets, fabrics, brocades, tapestries and hangings... and the omnipresent paintings, Res Mirum has created the Boudoir line. Thus, the jewels of this line take up the frames of the paintings, with forms sometimes influenced by the orient or China, inside which are represented tapestry motifs with peony, acanthus, lily...
Joséphine Grimm, " Entre pièce intime et espace fantasmé : formes, décor et usages du boudoir de 1726 à 1802 ", thesis of the École nationale des chartes, 2019.
Pendant Acanthus70,33$ – 92,60$
Bracelet Lyon Lugdunum80,87$
Peony ring Paeonia69,15$
Pendant peony Paeonia70,33$ – 92,60$
Pendant Lyon Lugdunum70,33$ – 92,60$
Ring Lyon Lugdunum62,12$
Lilium Flower Ring67,98$ – 73,84$
Acanthus Earrings Acanthus87,91$
Pendant lily Lilium70,33$ – 92,60$
Lilium Lily Bracelet86,74$