Chemise Post #17: Lafayette is riding a *what?* (NSFW)

A while back I mentioned delving into the topic of the chemise à la reine and its *ahem* racier associations. I figured what better day to do that than a Saturday, when people aren’t likely to be checking this blog at work?

But just in case, I have put the image behind the cut.

Marie-Antoinette leading General Lafayette on a phallus with ostrich legs, c. 1790.

Marie-Antoinette leading General Lafayette on a phallus with ostritch legs, c. 1790.

Pretty ridiculous, non? Let me help explain what’s going on here: That’s General Lafayette (yes, the same General that played a huge role in the American Revolution) astride an ostrich shaped like a phallus. Maire-Antoinette is obviously encouraging the General to ride gallantly into… Er… Well, you can probably infer the rest by the presence of Cupid floating overhead.

The anonymous artist was making a couple of different clever puns, playing off the similar sounding sounding “l’autriche” (ostrich) and “l’autrichienne” (Austrian woman), both of which Marie-Antoinette had been labeled since day one at Versailles. (Side note: I think the standard reference of “Austrian bitch” is also implied, what with the identical spelling of “-chienne” and “chienne = bitch.”)

You can read more about this particular image, and other similar images of Marie-Antoinette, here.

6 Responses to Chemise Post #17: Lafayette is riding a *what?* (NSFW)
  1. Evis says:

    I belong to the happy few who can look at things like this at work, yes even collect them in my work computer. It’s research ;)

  2. The legs don’t look like ostrich legs. They look more like cropped horse legs. That might have been due to a lack of ostrich knowledge by the artist, though, and it’s apparent by the shape that it’s meant to look like an ostrich.

    • Sarah says:

      Yes, especially the feet, look like hooves. I’m not sure if it’s just that the artist didn’t know what ostrich legs looked like, or if there’s meant to be another layer of innuendo in there (satyr hooves, maybe?).

  3. avantgarbe says:


    I was not expecting that! The matter-of-fact description is cracking me up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>