10 March 2012
Her name has been scorned amid cruel myths down the centuries. Marie Antionette is the tragic yet romantic inspiration for this elegant dolls house room box by Ericka Van Horn. ...
The Archduchess of Austria's ruling family, with both German and French descendents in her bloodline, Marie Antionette, or Antoine as she was fondly called, was born into a life of pomp and riches. She was the 15th child of Maria Teresa, Queen of Hungary and Empress of the Holy Roman Empire. Her father, Francis Stephen of Lorraine was charming, urbane, lazy and pleasure-loving, all traits he passed on to his daughter.
Brought up to think of herself as much French as Austrian, Marie Antionette was both embraced and distained in equal measure upon her arrival in France. She made her entrance in a splendid cortege of 57 carriages. Her trousseau alone cost the equivalent of 3/4 of a million pounds today.
When she was married at the age of 14 to the Dauphine and heir-apparent of France, Louis XVI, it was with the knowledge she would likely never see her homeland again.
Marie Antionette's life was one of contradiction, with a luxurious lifestyle ending horribly at the guillotine at the ae of 38. Her naivety may have sealed her fate from the moment she entered married life. Surrounded by the intrigues of teh French court, who watched and judged every aspect of her behaviour.
She was truly one of the most maligned and misunderstood monarchs. Even her personal involvement in humanitarian enterprises was often overlooked or derided, and she was frequently and deliberately misquoted. Though historians have known better for centuries, it is still popularly believed that she uttered the insensitive words: "Let them eat cake" upon hearing peasants' complaintthat there wasn't enough bread. There is no evidence she ever uttered that infamous phrase. On the contrary she was a generous patroness of charity.
Ericka Van Horn has chosen to represent Marie Antionette as the ill-fated queen in all her regal splendour surrounded by opulent wealth and riches, a rare moment alone with her beloved dogs and her treasures.
Creating the Vignette
- The scene is created in a Bespaq room box. It was already pre-painted in white and gold.
- The back panel was removed and replaced with a 3" box behind a window Ericka created
- A photo of the gardens of Versailles was placed inside along with LED lights to simulate sunlight.
- Flickering crystal sconces and a chandelier add to the effect especially after dark.
- The special doll was commissioned from Todd Kueger of TK Designs.
- The dress is a gown of white silk taffeta with antique silk and cotton lace.
- The figure is fully clothed including undergarments, corset, stockings and leather slippers.
- Hairstyles of the period were dramatic, Marie Antionette supports a suitable powdered and curled wig.
- The couch she sits on is by Kelly Curtis.
- The 3 delightful pug dogs were sculpted by Canadian artist Karl Blindheim.
Accessories fit for a Queen
Ericka laughs: "One of the reasons I really loved making this room box was because it gave me a chance to collect pretty things from other miniature artists."
Wigs and Jewels.
Displayed on a gilt table Ericka transformed from a Bespaq piece. The Jewels were created by IGMA Fellow Lori Ann Potts.
Hats & Shoes.
The handmade shoes by IGMA Fellow Sylvia Roundtree and Dominique Ochsenbein. The green Cavalier hat is by Joyce Bernard .
Let them eat cake.
Standing on Ericka's gold-leafed tables, the cakes are by several different miniature artisans including Jackie Dunn, Lori Tonetti, Ann Caesar, Leslie Burgess, and Emmaflam & Miniman.
Ericka Van Horn can be reached at her website: www.evminiatures.com (you will have to copy and paste this address into your web browser.
This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.
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