Set of six 4.25″ X 5.5″ cardstock notecards (postcard style, not folded) with white envelopes, finished with a lovely shining ribbon. Unique, fun gifts for your friends (or even yourself!) We are happy to ship internationally; please contact for price.
These one-of-a-kind notecards depict six of the costumes designed by the famed French designer Jean Berain (1640-1710) and his atelier for the first great event–the “Carrousel des Galants Maures” –given by Louis XIV at his new playground, Versailles. The riders and their horses alike were decked in precious jewels and the silks, satins, ribbons and feathers dreamed up by Berain.
“The court of Louis XIV was known for its extravagant theatricals and festivities, especially the mascarades organized for Carnival. At the time the Dauphin came of age, the King decided to revive the idea of a tournament, or carrousel, which featured games of equestrian skill. This drawing records a figure from the Carrousel des Galants Maures, a tournament staged in 1685 at Versailles. Berain was in charge of the design of the event and it was a great chance for him to display his talents. The carrousel was given outdoors on two days, June 4 and 5 but unfortunately, there was a violent storm which impeded the riders from using their lances to best effect. These entertainments were extremely expensive: it is recorded that the King spent 100,000 livres on it, but the total costs were probably higher as each nobleman would have paid for his own costume. The subject of the tournament was taken from a Spanish 16th century epic recounting the civil wars in Granada between the Abencérages and the Zégris. The Dauphin led the former and the Duc de Bourbon the latter.
“A description sent to the court of Savoy on the day of the event reports on the prodigious number of precious stones observed on the costumes, even on the horses. The observer noted that it was as if the Indes orientales had ‘vomited all of its riches on that day at Versailles.’…Jean Berain had designed the costumes and had been much inspired by Gissey’s exotic costumes of 1662, but his far surpassed their splendor….The carrousel of 1685 was recorded in many journals, memoires, and archives as an event so well attended that the city of Paris was deserted.” (Ina Baghdiantz McCabe, “Orientalism in Early Modern France,” p. 243)