Here is a story that Andy Warhol would have thoroughly enjoyed.
An iconic image of regency France, or France in the time of Napoleon, is David's portrait of Madame Recamier, the famous society hostess. In 1800 David portrayed her as the ideal post-revolutionary woman: in the Classical gown (or negligee) of a citroyen, at ease with the non-monarchical state. She is so Enlightened, she can't even be bothered to wear shoes while she lounges on her chaise. How ancient Roman, no, how French nouveaux!
Well, when Harriet Lady Bessborough was in France, she decided to drop in on the icon that was Juliette Recamier. To her surprise, she found Madame exactly as she pictured her. Madame Recamier was in her skimpy white gown lounging in bed. Just like the painting! The only difference, Harriet noted, was that this time she was surrounded by men. How utterly scandalous! What would Lady Spencer say?! Harriet thought the whole thing was too ironic and decided to drop in on her again when she wasn't so
exposed imposed. The second time, it was the same thing; Madame Recamier in bed, surrounded by men, her "beautiful white shoulders exposed and perfectly uncovered to view - in short, completely undressed and in bed." Harriet, who had a history being shocked by French aristocrats' blatant sexuality, asked if Madame was indisposed. Out of the graceful pink lips came, not the sweet voice of a Muse, but the shrill protests of big-mouth attention seeker. To Harriet's prudish horror, Madame Recamier proclaimed to everyone in the room that she was not indisposed and she was not pregnant either (if that's what you mean you cheeky Brit!).
Obviously Harriet was not hip with the times.
42 minutes ago