Sanson’s Account Of The Execution Of Louis XVI | History And Other Thoughts

After the execution of Louis XVI, the revolutionary journal ‘Thermomètre du jour’ published an inaccurate report of the event. The paper stated, among other calumnies, that the King had to be led to the scaffold with a pistol held at his temple and that the guillotine had struck his neck instead than his head, thus horribly mutilating him. When the executioner Charles Henri Sanson read this article, he decided to write a full account of the event to set the record straight and sent it to the newspaper. The King, according to Sanson, showed bravery and calmness of mind, which in his opinion, he derived from religion. Here’s his account:

Paris, 20 Feb. 1793; 1st year of the Fr. Rep.

Citizen,

A short absence has prevented my sooner replying to your article concerning Louis Capet. But here is the exact truth as to what passed. On alighting from the carriage for execution, he was told that he must take off his coat; he made some difficulty, saying that they might as well execute him as he was. On [our] representation that that was impossible, he himself assisted in taking off his coat. He again made the same difficulty when his hands were to be tied, but he offered them himself when the person who accompanied him [his confessor] had told him that it…

Source: Sanson’s Account Of The Execution Of Louis XVI | History And Other Thoughts.

A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life: The Pious Life of Louise-Marie de France

Originally posted on A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life.

Louise-Marie de France (Versailles, France, 15th July 1737 – Saint-Denis, Paris, France, 23rd December 1787)

Louise-Marie de France by Jean-Marc Nattier, 1748

Louise-Marie de France by Jean-Marc Nattier, 1748

Whether you knew her as Madame Septième, Madame Dernière, or Madame Louise, the tenth child of King Louis XV and Queen Maria Leszczyńska was born into a world of great privilege and it would be one that she ultimately rejected, choosing instead to forge a path of her own making.

Born into the splendour of Versailles, Louise was sent as an infant to be raised at the Abbey of Fontevraud with three of her sisters. The impact of this early decision was to have a profound impact on Louise’s life. From birth, a good marriage and respectable society life lay in store for the girl but she wanted to serve only her religion, with all efforts to arrange a marriage ending in failure.

At the age of thirteen Louise returned to Versailles in 1750 and remained there through twenty tumultuous years, witnessing births, scandals and deaths. After two decades at court and with Louis enjoying the company of Jeanne Bécu, Madame du Barry, Louise went to her father and begged leave to return to the convent as a Carmelite nun. Tormented by the king’s apparently low morals, she intended to give her life to God by way of…

via A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life: The Pious Life of Louise-Marie de France.

Foreshades of Grey (11)

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 or, Behind the Rococo Clock Face

detaildetail of Boucher’s 1756 portrait of Madame de Pompadour

Among the learned books in Madame de Pompadour’s library, there was a unique volume about the rivers of France which had been written, and some of it printed, many years before by a diligent and inquisitive eight year old boy, based on his lessons in geography and typography.

Louis XV’s Cours des principaux fleuves et rivières de l’Europe (Courses of the Principal Rivers and Streams of Europe), written in 1718, which the adult man gave to his mistress as a token of the conscientious king that the playboy of Versailles had once wanted to be, survives in the Bibliothèque nationale.

The little print shop, which was built for Louis XV in the Tuileries nearly sixty-five years before Marie Antoinette’s fantasy-farm was installed at Le Petit Trianon, had a serious educative purpose to instill…

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Foreshades of Grey (6)

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or, The Royal Stag

The king’s promiscuity was an affair of state. It made government vulnerable to abuse from the wrong kind of woman pushed on him by a court faction, with domestic or foreign policy agendas, a scenario as familiar to modern republics as autocracies of any time. He was very lucky to find the rational, loyal and responsible Madame de Pompadour, or rather, that she introduced herself to him.

louis XV

Nattier, Portrait of Louis XV of France, 1745. Oil on canvas The Hermitage, St. Petersburg
He was known as the handsomest man at Versailles; he was also the most libidinous and depressed. Here, portrayed in the year he moved his new mistress Madame d’Étioles, into Versailles, he looks disconcertingly like a chubby Dan Stevens, but Ryan Gosling would be better casting to convey his enigmatic emotional isolation.

He needed but was not obsessed with sex; he spent far…

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Marie Antoinette and the Petit Trianon – Madame Guillotine

The Petit Trianon is a sumptuous jewellery box of a house, tucked away in the Versailles park. Designed in 1762 by Ange-Jacques Gabriel and paid for by Louis XV, it was intended as a present for Madame de Pompadour – its elegant lines a perfect setting for her own delicate, exquisite beauty. Sadly, however, Madame de Pompadour died before her romantic Versailles hideaway, her maison de plaisance in fact, was completed and instead it ended up in the hands of her successor, Madame du Barry, who despite the lurid tales attached to her background, had some seriously good taste in art and furnishings going on.

However, the Trianon’s most celebrated owner is of course Marie Antoinette and it is to her memory that the building is dedicated today, which is tough cheese for its other famous female inhabitants over the years, which range from Pauline Bonaparte to the Empress Eugènie, who was obsessed with Marie Antoinette and had the Petit Trianon restored to…

via Marie Antoinette and the Petit Trianon – Madame Guillotine.