Primary Resources

This resource gallery has been developed to be used for pre visit preparatory work and for post visit reference. You will find a range of primary documents and material here that links to the themes in each unit. By clicking on any image below you can access background information on the source and also find out where it came from and where it is currently held.

Back to Resource listing

The Boudoir


A Boudoir is a lady’s private room or chamber and comes from the French word bouder means to pout or to sulk – hence a boudoir is an intimate space that a lady used as a personal retreat. Its uses ranged from sleeping, bathing, reading, entertaining close friends to sewing or embroidery and it was often placed at the end of a suite of rooms, as is the case at Fota, where the boudoir, bedroom, dressing room, bathroom and sitting room are grouped together.
A sequence of self contained rooms, one opening off the next, was known as an apartment and was a regular feature in the design of large houses until the late 18th century. The sequence might be made up of an ante room which was fairly public, a withdrawing room which was a private sitting room and a bedchamber which could also perform the role of sitting room and a closet, or boudoir. Only intimate friends would have been invited into the boudoir or closet. The complicated etiquette associated with the use of apartments relating to social status or intimacy with the family determined how far a visitor could penetrate into the sequence of rooms. In earlier times this led to many opportunities for power play.

Open Resource