The Grand Veneur de France

The Grand Veneur de France

It’s early morning and the clouds are just waking up. They part slowly… sleepily to allow room for the burgeoning sunshine to warm the grass. The Grand Veneur de France has set out on his steed to view the land and direct the proceedings for the hunt this coming afternoon.

A Stallion whinnies in the background, eager to leap into a gallop on the languishing lands. Steadying him, The Grand Veneur takes a rare moment of rest, surveying the quiet and still before the air fills with hounds howling and gentlemen racketing.

During the Ancien Régime, the Grand Veneur de France held position as the grand huntsman, directing Imperial hunts for the king and his excessive followers. There was much fan-fare to be organised with some entourage numbers heading into the hundreds, required for a hunt to occur. One such hunt was during the Neopoleonic Reign, not a single element of luxury was ommited for the guests. Illuminations, Perfume and marvellous food for guests was arranged, as well as some 150 hounds to accompany the party. What a party it must have been! Of course, I do not endorse hunting but to discover it in a romantic way through the history books, one can only imagine the splendour of such an outing. Here in the Yorke Peninsular at Yondah, my mind went wandering to these times. For as far as my eye could see there was land, ravaged by the wind with a crisp saltiness in the air. The sunshine flirted with me, peeking in and out the clouds as I embodied this role of Grand Veneur de France.

Slipping into my vintage 1910 riding pants, accompanied by this whimsical raincoat from Dulcie’s Vintage, instantly my mind opened to the depths of imagination and romantic day dreams. It’s what happens when we dress up, we can traverse with no boundaries. We can live in another time and place for moments in our day. It is an essential creative entrance to an escapist reality that moves and inspires me every day to use clothes as my paint and my body as the canvas.

“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”
John Lubbock, The Pleasures of Life

Photographer, Model, Stylist, Words by Sophie Armstrong.

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