Thursday, 20 August 2015

The Frascati

While posting yesterday's trouvaille, I realised that many hints to actors, plays, places are quite obvious to me, but maybe not to everyone else. (I remember the puzzled look on Monsieurs face when discussing the find)

I think I'll start a wee series, with short introductions to places and sights, for future reference and less footnotes ;-)

The Frascati

Thanks to the generous online access of the Rijksmuseum we can enjoy this lovely engraving in high resolution, without travelling to see it in their archives.

As you can see, it's an opulent place. Elegant. Where one goes to see and be seen, and to enjoy delicious food. Debucourt gives us an impression of the place in 1807.
The French Wikipedia Page also offers us a first hand report from an English visitor in 1802, who was quite smitten by the place.
I would love to find in some archive or other some documents telling us what they've had on offer, and how pricey it was. I interpret from it being frequented by the readership of the Journal des Dames et des Modes (what wasn't cheap), that the prices correspond, and we can use the Florian or LaDurée as a modern equivalent. The original Frascati was demolished in the 19th century, the name though lives on with an Italian Deli in the middle of Paris.

The description of the Rijksmuseum illustrates it beautifully as well: "In 1789 the Italian Garchi Café Frascati opened near the Paris Opéra. This became a spot where sophisticated Parisians went not only to enjoy perfumed ices, lemonade, punch and tea, but also, and more importantly, to be seen. On 4 August 1806 the Journal des Dames observed, ‘Last Thursday, Frascati glittered as never before. Its rooms were filled with ladies dressed up as if going to the theatre.’"

Sabine, the wonderful scholar behind Kleidung um 1800 also found a reference in the German publication Journal des Luxus und der Moden, April 1802, where a correspondent describes the splendours of Paris to the magazine's readership.
As I love to see whenever the Journals interlock and shed different bits of light on a subject, I would like to share her find: 


  1. Thank you very much for not only sharing snippets from the past with us, but also working out a "map", where people would go or talked about around the year 1800.
    This is giving the dresses their surrounding and their meaning. If we get to know the people and their daily lives, fashion suddenly reveals it's roots.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the "Journal Journey into the Year 1811" last year...and I guess it's safe to say, that those journals have really made a difference for our research since then.


  2. You are most welcome. I love love love it whenever some evidence overlaps and lights different angles. Thank you for your find in the JdLudM :-)