Hearse in Paris 1780

by Thomas
(Netherlands)

Dear,

Hopefully this is the right place to ask this question. I can't seem to find the answer elsewhere in the internet.

I'm making a video of a hearse in Paris in 1786. Members of the church guided the transportation of thousands of bones to the underground catacombs.

However, I don´t know how a church member would look.
Perhaps you can help?
I hope you can.

Kind regards
Thomas

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Sep 07, 2012
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Churchgoers in 1786 probably wore their everyday clothes...
by: Elizabeth Elwell-Cook

Dear Thomas,

Thanks you for your very interesting enquiry! It's required a little checking up on the society and culture of Paris at the time, so I hope you'll forgive the time taken to reply.

The general conclusion reached by several colleagues, with backgrounds in French history around the time of the Revolution, and even one with experience as an undertaker (!), is that people of this period in Paris were often very poor.

Depending on the class of people you wish to portray, the Parisian lower classes (anything below a merchant or gentry) of the 1780s, were barely able to buy bread, and often only had one set of good clothes, if they more than one set at all. They would have had one shirt on, and one off, just to keep the insides of their clothing "clean". Mourners could certainly not have afforded to have a special set in black. This is especially true because at this time black dye was incredibly expensive as well!

So, your best bet would probably be to look for pictures of everyday Parisians of the mid-1780s. Think market scenes, which is what I looked up...

Thomas, it sounds like you have a wonderful project going there! If you're stuck for finding something appropriate to hire, your budget allows, and you have the time before shooting, I'd be glad to help out with making some costumes for you. Please feel free to email me directly!

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