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The Rule of Three

It has taken a wee bit longer to write this month's BLOG and I apologise for that ... but there's a reason. They say that unfortunate things happen in threes - well, depending on just how you define 'unfortunate' I have seen my share in the last few months. Not that I'm complaining, you understand, but there it is.

Lochie, our wonderful 12yo sheltie

First, my husband underwent a standard stress test as part of a medical and, despite feeling no symptoms, ended up with an angiogram and a stent in an artery. This was unexpected, but we were happy to get it over and done with. Then our 12 year old Sheltie, Lochie, a dear dog with a wonderful nature, succumbed to an aggressive cancer and we had to put him to sleep. It was heart-breaking and it left our 5 year old sheltie, Freddie, moping around the house looking for his pal.

Now things accelerated. I had been experiencing some health issues and ended up with an exploratory angiogram, drugs to try to stop heart fibrillation and then open-heart surgery to address an issue with one of my arteries! All this within 4 weeks. As David, my husband, said, "Better to have found the problem rather than have it creep up on you unexpectedly". Following that, I had a couple of weeks of 24/7 heart palpitations under a new drug regime was put in place. All good now, although still recovering. Oh, and we both had our two COVID jabs.

With that behind me, things have started to turn the corner. We welcomed a 10-week old sheltie puppy to the family last weekend. His name is Robbie and, as I'm sure you will know, he has created chaos in the home. Mostly fun chaos, but chaos nevertheless.

All this has meant that work in the studio has taken a back-seat, as you would expect - but I'm glad to say that I am now 'getting back into the saddle'. My main activity has been finishing and shipping my porcelain Czarina to her new owner in Holland. She was my husband's favourite doll with a lifelike presence and elegant costuming but, I'm happy to say, she now has someone who cares for her as much as we did.

I have also been working on my porcelain and fabric Marie Antoinette dolls.

Porcelain Marie has been with me for a while, so I decided to 'spruce her up'. She wears a magnificent gown and, like the Czarina, has a real presence. I shall be putting her onto the site very soon. I have used her as the model for fabric Marie, my work on her having been accelerated by a special request from a customer. Same dress, wig etc. but smaller scale and I have to admit that I am very pleased with the outcome. She too will appear on the site very soon. I am now looking at my porcelain Louis XIV, XV and XVI dolls to bring them up to scratch and put them on the site over time.

One of the unique things about the porcelain Louis dolls is that each of them wears a medal - the Order of the Holy Spirit. And whereas I normally make my own jewellery, in this instance I actually contracted with the Parisian jeweller (still in business) who made the original full-size medals to make a scaled down version for me

The medal is shown here and is displayed on the left breast of each of the kings.

The Order of the Holy Spirit, also known as the Order of the Knights of the Holy Spirit, (or, in French: L'Ordre du Saint-Esprit; L'Ordre des Chevaliers du Saint-Esprit) was an Order of Chivalry created in 1578 by King Henri III. It was the senior chivalric order of France by precedence, although not by age (the Order of Saint Michael having been created one hundred years earlier).

The Order of Saint Michael had originally been created to rival the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece, and to help ensure that leading French nobles remained loyal to the Crown. Its membership was initially restricted to a small number of powerful princes and nobles, but this increased dramatically and at the beginning of the reign of Henry III, the order had several hundred living members, ranging from kings to bourgeois. Recognising that the order had thus been significantly devalued, Henry III founded the Order of the Holy Spirit December 31, 1578,

Louis XIV - the Sun King - porcelain

The new order would be reserved for princes and powerful nobles while the old Order of Saint Michael would be given to less eminent servants of the Crown. This order was dedicated to the Holy Spirit to commemorate the fact that Henry was elected King of Poland (1573) and inherited the throne of France (1574) on two Pentecosts.

There were strict nobility requirements and membership was limited at 100 (for French nationals). Four cardinals and four other prelates were members and were called commandeurs, the other members were called chevaliers.

Oh well. the puppy is chewing at the cord connecting my sewing machine so I will have to stop here. Until the next edition, during which time there will be more dolls on the site, I promise :), as always, keep safe, stay well.

Victoria, Lady of Finavon


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