Lot n° 63
15 000 - 20 000 EUR
Important bronze urn patinated with the figure...
Important bronze urn patinated with the figure of the dolphin Louis-Joseph-Xavier of France, eldest son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Covered vase shaped urn, in patinated bronze, divided into three parts. Round screw lid, surmounted by a large fleur-de-lys in high relief. Body decorated in high relief with the interlaced figure "LXD", surmounted by the royal crown formed by two dolphins and fleur-de-lys, enriched with a branch of lily and a branch of immortal linked by a ribbon bearing the order of Saint Louis. At the base, in a belt, "VIXIT", and below, "MDCCLXXXIX". It rests on a square base surmounted by a pivot pedestal. B.E. HT. : 34.5 cm. Diam : 12 cm. The number "LXD" makes it possible to attribute it undoubtedly to the Dauphin "Louis Xavier de France", eldest son of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, born in Versailles on October 22, 1781. Blinded France remains indifferent to the event. The deputies, insensitive to the King's mourning, insist on discussing political issues. Louis XVI, collapsed with grief, sighed: "So there are no fathers in this chamber of the third state! ». During times of turmoil, any hesitation is a sign of weakness. And it is no exaggeration to say that Louis XVI misses his appointment with History during those dark hours when he mourns his son. The day after the death, doctors and surgeons proceed with the embalming, according to the royal tradition. In their report, they note that "the vertebrae were black, decayed and worm-eaten in all their points". The heart is set apart. Washed in alcohol, stuffed with herbs and surrounded by cloth, it is placed in a double box of lead and vermeil. It is then transported with great pomp to the Abbey of Val-de-Grâce, where the princely hearts have been kept since the time of Queen Anne of Austria. As for the dolphin's remains, they will be taken on 13 June to Saint-Denis, the royal necropolis near Paris, "with all the decency and honour due to him". But without the great ceremony that the climate of the time would have judged as an excessive expense. Later, Marie-Antoinette confided to her brother the Emperor Leopold II: "At the death of my poor dear little dolphin, the nation did not only seem to have a glimpse of him. From that day on, the people were delirious and I never stopped devouring my tears. ». Provenance: - Collection of the late Mr Henri Chasles, sale in Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Maître Lair- Dubreuil, 16-18 December 1907, lot n°806. - Acquired at the Chasles sale by Ferdinand-Philippe-Marie d'Orléans (1844-1910), Duke of Alençon. History: This urn contained at the time a "trunnion" of blond hair, on a central hub, which has unfortunately disappeared. At the time, reliquaries containing locks of hair were very common in memory of the dear departed, especially in the high aristocracy. Most often, miniatures, medallions, bracelets, rings, small boxes... were used to protect them. A much more detailed history is attached to the file that accompanies this important historical souvenir (catalogue of the sale, drawing of a painting, details of the urn, minutes of 5 June 1789...).
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