Page 230. " the placing of the Maillard bonbons in openwork silver baskets "

1916 Vintage Advert - Maillard Chocolates & Bon Bons

 

 Henri Maillard, who died in 1900,  was a confectioner and restaurateur who emigrated to America from France in the 1840’s.  His first New York premises were at the lower level of the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Later, when the business was under the management of Henri’s son Henry Maillard, premises were opened on Fifth Avenue at 35th Street (1908) and on Madison Avenue at 47th Street (1922). The company failed during the Great Depression.

Click here to see a picture of the interior of the Fifth Avenue (35th Street) store.

Page 233. " the Venus of Milo "
Venus de Milo
Public DomainVenus de Milo - Credit: Alexandros of Antioch

Aphrodite of Milos is an ancient Greek marble, better known as the Venus de Milo.  Aphrodite is an ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty.  Venus is her Roman equivalent.  The statue was created sometime between 130 and 100 BC.  It is thought to be the work of Alexandros of Antioch.  It is on display at the Louvre in Paris.

The Aphrodite of Milos was discovered by a Greek peasant in 1820, inside a buried niche within the ancient city ruins of Milos (now Tripiti) on the island of Milos.  It was found in two main pieces - the upper torso and the lower draped legs.  After some bureaucratic bumbling, it was bought by the by the French ambassador to Turkey, who had it removed to the Louvre.

Page 233. " Verbeckhoven 'Study of Sheep,' "
Self Portrait Eugene Verboeckhoven 1854
Public DomainSelf Portrait Eugene Verboeckhoven 1854 - Credit: Eugene Verboeckhoven

Eugène Joseph Verboeckhoven was a Belgian painter, born in 1790.  He was the son of sculptor Barthélemy Verboeckhoven, who encouraged his son’s artistic career and provided him with exacting training in the anatomy of animals. 

The younger Verboeckhoven devoted himself almost exclusively to animal subjects.  He painted sheep, horses and cattle in landscapes.  His realistic and finely wrought style was very popular among collectors in the United States, England and Germany.  He died in Brussels in 1881, leaving behind an enormous body of work. 

 

Sheep In A Meadow 1865
Public DomainSheep In A Meadow 1865 - Credit: Eugène Verboeckhoven
Page 243. " founding the Grolier Club "

The Grolier Club was founded in 1884 in New York by printing press manufacturer and book collector Robert Hoe and eight fellow bibliophiles. The men were all involved in the editing, design, production, sale or acquisition of fine books.  They named their club after the great French bibliophile Jean Grolier.  The Club’s Constitution committed it to fostering “the study, collecting, and appreciation of books and works on paper, their art, history, production, and commerce.” It would achieve this through the maintenance of a library devoted to all aspects of the book and graphic arts; occasional publication of books designed to illustrate, promote and encourage the book and graphic arts; and exhibitions and educational programs.    

Grolier Club, Manhatten
GNU Free Documentation LicenseGrolier Club, Manhatten - Credit: Beyond My Ken

Today, the Club has nearly 800 members, mostly American.  Membership is by nomination. Recommendations are made on the basis of a candidate's passion for books, generally as a collector, scholar, librarian or printer.  To date the Grolier Club was published over 400 historical works.  It has a 100,000-volume collection of books - author and subject bibliographies, histories of printing, publishing and collecting, and exhibition catalogues, bookseller and book auction catalogues.

The Club's first home was a few rented rooms at 64 Madison Avenue. In 1890 it moved to 29 East 32nd Street, where it remains today.  The present Clubhouse is on East 60th Street in Midtown Manhattan.

Page 248. " the wide silvery prospect of the Place Vendôme "
Place Vendôme
Public DomainPlace Vendôme

A square in central Paris first laid at the turn of the 18th century and named for César, duc de Vendôme.

The famous central column was raised by Napoleon Bonaparte in honour of his triumph at Austerlitz.

It is the site of the Paris Ritz.

 

Google Map
Page 249. " the score of the last Debussy songs "

Claude Debussy c 1908
Public DomainClaude Debussy c 1908 - Credit: Gaspard-Félix Tournachon
Claude-Achille Debussy was a leading French composer at the turn of the 20th century. He was born in 1862, the son of a shopkeeper and a seamstress. He began piano lessons at the age of seven, and by the age of ten had entered the Paris Conservatoire, where he spent eleven years. In 1884 he won a scholarship to the Académie des Beaux-Arts, which included a four-year residence at the French Academy in Rome. 

Debussy was experimental in his compositions. However, his insistence on doing things his own way and breaking from musical conventions earned him some criticism – his early pieces were described as "bizarre", and "courting the unusual" (which was considered a bad thing). 

Debussy is often described as an "impressionist", although he rejected the label. In a letter of 1908, he wrote "I am trying to do 'something different' - an effect of reality...what the imbeciles call 'impressionism', a term which is as poorly used as possible…”

In 1894 he had achieved enormous success with the premiere of his Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun) – which was considered a revolutionary work.  His seminal opera Pelléas et Mélisande was first performed in 1902, to huge acclaim. He won widespread fame, although some critics continued to snipe at his unusual style. 

Despite a tempestuous personal life, that saw him ostracised from Parisian society for a time, his career continued to shine. He died of cancer at the age of 56, in Paris, in 1918. 

Page 249. " go to the Grand-Guignol "

Grand Guignol was a theatre, established in an abandoned church in Pigalle in 1897, which specialised in amoral, highly naturalistic horror shows.  This evolved out of some Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, Titus Andronicus being a famous example.  Its founder was Oscar Méténier, a writer and director, who wanted to produce plays exploring the darkest themes and characters of society.  This developed into horror by the early 20th Century, largely thanks to director Max Maurey and playwright André de Lorde.  Its two most famous actors were Paula Maxa and Benjamin Muratore, who both appeared in thousands of plays.  Up to six plays would be shown in one sitting; in a small, 293-seat theatre, the effects of such onstage gore were legendary.  Audience members frequently fainted, and comedies were often included in the repertoire to provide some relief.

The theatre closed in 1962.  Its gradual decline in attendance has been blamed on the emotional and psychological effects of World War Two.  As its last director, Charles Nonon said, "We could never equal Buchenwald.  Before the war, everyone felt that what was happening onstage was impossible.  Now we know that these things, and worse, are possible in reality".

Grand Guignol Online is a brilliant resource if you'd like to find out more about this extraordinary place.  Very few of the plays have been translated into English, but there is 'At the Telephone', by André de Lorde; it's worth a quick read, and is not gory!