Tuesday, July 6, 2010

In Which We Visited the Things of Our Ancestors' Kings

...Or, How We Spent Our Fourth of July

Our Nation's Birthday was taken up by a trip to the Meadows Museum on the Campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas. There we saw the exhibit of embroideries, paintings, and furniture collected by King Carlos IV of Spain and his queen, Maria Luisa of Parma.

Miss Elodie must confess that most of her knowledge of the Royal Iconography came from the not-so-flattering paintings of the monarchs and their family by Goya.

There were, however, some lovely images of the couple created during their youth. One in particular of Maria Luisa features her in a pink gown covered with exquisite lace. The dentils are rendered most carefully and thereby even a close examination of the painting reveals an accurate replication of the needlework. Miss Elodie is a particular admirer of this type of lacework and has been known to Swoon over those specimens she has been privileged to view.

As the Captain likes to remind Miss Elodie, Carlos IV reigned during the years Louisiana was part of Spain thereby enabling me to claim a bit of Hispanic culture in my Gallic ancestry. Indeed had fate not intervened otherwise, one of the subjects of the Exhibit may well have had some direct and personal contact with my Forebearers.

Near Thibodeaux, just down Bayou Lafourche from my Ancestral Lands, stands Rienzi Plantation which, rumor has it, was to be the Palace-en-Exile for the very same Queen Maria Luisa. Bonaparte set his brother Joseph on the throne of Spain and found it inconvenient to have the Former Occupants nearby. Rather than flee to Louisiana, Queen Maria Luisa traveled to France then Rome. She may not have appreciated the heat of her former colony nor the fact that the town of Napoleonville was just up the road. Ah, C'est La Vie!

The Exhibit, titled "Royal Splendor in the Enlightenment: Charles IV of Spain, Patron and Collector" will continue only through Sunday July 18th and so a visit should be planned today!