Cross Bones graveyard

‘I have heard of ancient men, of good credit, report that these single women were forbidden the rites of the church, so long as they continued that sinful life, and were excluded from Christian burial, if they were not reconciled before their death. And therefore there was a plot of ground called the Single Woman’s […]

The fabulous and somewhat odd life of Hortense Mancini

Ortensia Mancini was born in Rome in 1646, the fourth of the five celebrated Mancini Sisters, daughters of the sister of Cardinal Mazarin, the chief advisor of the young King Louis XIV of France and reputed lover of his mother, Anne of Austria. After their father’s death in 1650, the Mancini girls were brought to […]

Marie Antoinette painted by Boze

Marie Antoinette painted by Joseph Boze. This rather unflattering and flat faced portrait was commissioned by her husband Louis XVI in December 1784 to the tune of 2,400 livres, which is peanuts compared to the 18,000 livres that Madame Vigée-Lebrun received for her painting of the Queen with her children.

Before the Storm is out now!

Yes, that’s right! My third novel, Before the Storm is available to download to your Kindle or Kindle app from Amazon US and Amazon UK right now! ‘Unable to attract suitably aristocratic suitors in London, a group of beautiful, wealthy and extremely ambitious English heiresses decide to try their luck in Paris instead. Although they […]

Marie Antoinette in a super fashionable redingote gown

A beautiful drawing of Marie Antoinette from around 1780. It is not known who drew this portrait but it was sent as a present from Axel de Fersen to his beloved sister Sophie. A redingote, as worn here by the Queen was a very popular style of dress in the 1780s – the name comes […]

A flamboyant lady

A gorgeous portrait by John Singleton Copley of Abigail Bromfield, Mrs Daniel Dennison Rogers, painted in around 1784. I’ve loved this painting ever since I came across it while studying for my degree. I love the drama, the shimmering colours, the rich colours of the sunset in the background, the wildness of the sky and […]

A visit to the Petit Trianon in 1784

A beautiful painting by Nikklas Lafrensen le Jeune of the fête given by Marie Antoinette at the Petit Trianon on Monday, 21st June 1784 in honour of Gustave III, King of Sweden. I adore the graceful way that the guests stroll around the illuminated Temple of Love. This painting was part of Gustave’s private collection, […]

Marie Antoinette shocks France with a dress!

Detail from one of the most famous portraits of Marie Antoinette, which was painted by Madame Vigée-Lebrun in 1783. This portrait depicts the 27 year old Queen of France in her favourite outfit, a simple ruffled muslin gown, tied at the waist with a gauze sash and teamed with a ribbon bedecked straw hat. She […]

Before the Storm, 18th January 2012

Just a quick announcement that Before the Storm, my third novel of iniquity and POSH DOOM in eighteenth century England and France will be released for Kindle on Wednesday, 18th January! I’ll be celebrating the release with a very special giveaway! Based on The Buccaneers by Edith Wharton, Before the Storm is a tale of […]

The marvellous Merveilleuse

Nothing could be more French than to allow current affairs to influence fashion (just look at the hairstyles concocted by Rose Bertin for Marie Antoinette and her coterie – battleships, babies being born and balloons taking off are just a few examples) and the outrageously dressed Merveilleuses are the finest example of this. Les Merveilleuses […]

Inside Christ Church, Spitalfields

I’ve written about Christ Church, Spitalfields before but couldn’t resist writing about it again as it is such a stunning building and people don’t often seem to go inside to appreciate just how beautiful and harmonious the interior is. Christ Church was built between 1714 and 1729 by Nicholas Hawksmoor and I think displays his […]

Before the Storm cover!

I am just too excited about this to keep it to myself but HERE at last is the front cover art for my next novel set during the French Revolution, Before the Storm, which will be out next week! How utterly beautiful is this painting? I was seriously stunned when I opened the email and […]

Imperial family life in Vienna

You don’t have to look far to work out where Marie Antoinette got her taste for informality and a cosy, intimate ‘normal’ family life, that the snobs of Versailles disapproved of so thoroughly. This charming painting by the Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria (‘Mimi’) shows the Imperial family at their leisure on St Nicholas’ Day […]

Marie Antoinette’s sister in law, Isabella of Parma

A portrait of the Princess Isabella of Parma. She had the most amazing name – are you ready for this? Princess Isabella Maria Luisa Antonietta Ferdinanda Giuseppina Saveria Dominica Giovanna of Parma. Cor blimey. She was born in Madrid on the 31st December 1741, the daughter of Louis XV’s adored eldest daughter, Louise-Élisabeth, who was […]

A quick visit to the Ten Bells, Spitalfields

The Ten Bells is right next to Christ Church in Spitalfields and directly opposite the entrance to the now trendy and bustling Spitalfields Market. There has been a pub on the corner of Fornier Street and Commercial Street since 1752, but the Ten Bells as we know it now has only been in existence since […]

Marie Antoinette and her children at the Tuileries

A charming miniature of Marie Antoinette with Madame Royale and Louis-Charles, painted in early 1790 by François Dumont. It was almost certainly commissioned in 1789 but was not destined to be completed until the family were already imprisoned in the Tuileries and such happy, bucolic pleasures were a distant memory.