"Tonton de Blanc the Marie Antoinette of Louisiana" by Andrew LaMar Hopkins
My latest masterpiece is titled "Tonton de Blanc the Marie Antoinette of Louisiana" 11 x 14, Available. At a Christmas party I met a ancestor of the fabulous Tonton de Blanc who told me her fascinating story of this amazing lady. I thought at that time I needed to paint her. Tonton de Blanc was the Queen of beauty and fashion of late 18th century Saint Martinville, Louisiana. In my painting Tonton is standing in her Saint Martinville home holding a basket of fruit. The room is furnished with Louisiana made Creole furniture, like the Mahogany Cabriole Leg Armoire to the right and the Louisiana mahogany one drawer side table to the left. On the Creole table is a 18th century cobalt and ormolu Sèvres porcelain vase of garden flowers.
Over the table is a oil portrait French Queen Marie Antoinette by court painter Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun. While in France Tonton de Blanc was in the Court of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI. On top pf the armoire are wallpaper hat boxes. The French doors have a Toile de Jouy and lace drapery treatment. Tonton stands on a imported marble floors that includes yellow Royal Siena marble. Tonton de Blanc had one of the prettiest complexions in the world, all lily and rose, and what care she took of it ! She never went into the yard or the garden without a sunbonnet and a thick veil.
Yet for all that her jealous critics said she was good and sensible, and would forget everything, even her dressing to help anyone in trouble. Tonton de Blanc was Louisiana Aristocracy and the Queen bee of fashion of 18th century Saint Martin. She designed fashionable hats made by milliners using local materials like split palmetto finished off with silk flowers and ribbons. After Tonton debut her fashions in the saint Marin church ,The next Sunday you could see as many hats as the milliner had time to make, and before the end of the month all the women of Saint Martinville were wearing palmetto hats furnished at a high 18th century cost of $25.00 each! You can read more about Tonton de Blanc in "Strange True Stories of Louisiana" by George Washington Cable.