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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution

Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution

by Will Bashor


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Marie Antoinette's Head: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution

Winner of the Adele Mellen Prize for Distinguished Scholarship

Marie Antoinette has remained atop the popular cultural landscape for centuries for the daring in style and fashion that she brought to 18th century France. For the better part of the queen’s reign, one man was entrusted with the sole responsibility of ensuring that her coiffure was at its most ostentatious best. Who was this minister of fashion who wielded such tremendous influence over the queen’s affairs? Marie Antoinette’s Head: The Royal Hairdresser, The Queen, and the Revolution charts the rise of Leonard Autie from humble origins as a country barber in the south of France to the inventor of the Pouf and premier hairdresser to Queen Marie-Antoinette.

By unearthing a variety of sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, including memoirs (including Léonard’s own), court documents, and archived periodicals the author, French History professor and expert Will Bashor, tells Autie’s mostly unknown story. Bashor chronicles Leonard’s story, the role he played in the life of his most famous client, and the chaotic and history-making world in which he rose to prominence. Besides his proximity to the queen, Leonard also had a most fascinating life filled with sex (he was the only man in a female dominated court), seduction, intrigue, espionage, theft, exile, treason, and possibly, execution. The French press reported that Léonard was convicted of treason and executed in Paris in 1793. However, it was also recorded that Léonard, after receiving a pension from the new King Louis XVIII, died in Paris in March 1820. Granted, Leonard was known as the magician of Marie-Antoinette’s court, but how was it possible that he managed to die twice?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493000630
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 06/01/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,288,512
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Will Bashor has a doctorate in International Studies from the American Graduate School in Paris. He is currently a professor of Global Issues at Franklin University. As a member of the Society for French Historical Studies, he presented at their annual meeting presented by Harvard University in Cambridge in 2013. Visit him at

Table of Contents

Family Tree vii

Map viii

Chronology x

Cast of Historical Characters xi

A Note on Sources xv

A Note on Titles of Nobility xvi

Prologue xvii

Part 1 The Mania

1 Léonard the Magician 2

2 The King's New Mistress 20

3 The Court of Versailles 29

4 Captivating a Queen and Her Subjects 48

5 "Le Pouf Sentimental" 65

Part 2 The Queen's Confidant

6 A Hairdresser's Gossip 80

7 The Queen's Temperament 97

8 The Monsieur's Theater 109

Part 3 The Clouds of Revolution

9 The Fatal Banquet 124

10 The Flight of the Royal Family 142

11 The Other Léonard 162

12 The Fatal Message 173

13 Léonard in Exile 183

Part 4 The Struggles to Survive

14 Sorrowful Events 198

15 The Queen Is No More 211

16 Leonard Resumes the Comb 222

17 Sixteen Years Later 238

18 Leonard's Final Ruse 47

Afterword 257

Acknowledgments 261

Selected Bibliography 263

List of Illustrations and Credits 269

Endnotes 277

Index 291

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