Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Appearance of Marie Antoinette as Recorded in Old Prints

Francesco Bartolozzi after painted miniature by Pierre-Noël Violet
Her Majesty, Marie Antoinette, Queen of France
Royal Collection, Great Britain

John Raphael Smith
Marie Antoinette d'Autriche, Queen of France
British Museum

Anonymous German printmaker
Marie Antoinette, Königin von Frankreich
ca. 1774-1800
hand-colored etching
Royal Collection, Great Britain

Louis Gautier-Dagoty
Marie Antoinette, Reine de France
ca. 1776
hand-colored mezzotint and etching
Royal Collection, Great Britain

Anonymous English printmaker
Maria Antonietta, Queen of France
(illustration for London Magazine)
British Museum

from My Arizona Class

"The young girl who had spoken of the past as not necessary to us, was so bright and clever that she was worth making explanation to.  I asked her why she considered queens (as such) cruel, and she gave fluently Catherine of Medici, and the massacre of St. Bartholomew, and "Bloody" Mary (poor, unhappy Mary!) and Catherine of Russia, and – Marie Antoinette – quite as though they did not differ.  . . .  On this, I told them of Marie Antoinette in her own home, as Wraxall's and Mozart's memoirs and other such dispassionate early sources shew her; a wholesome, frolicksome young girl, submissive even to childishness to an unusually firm-natured mother who trained her and her sisters in womanly and simple habits; for royal Austrian life always, to-day as in the day of Maria Theresa, is extraordinarily domestic and sensible.  At fifteen this young girl was married, or rather given in exchange to France.  She was merely the seal on a contract, and no more care taken of her feelings then nor for seven years after she reached Paris than if she had been just the wax of a State seal.  . . .  We who look back can see, close to this, the last scene in that life.  Once more the French have taken from her everything that was hers; friends, husband, children: even her clothing.  And we see the beautiful woman, "the daughter of the Caesars," borrowing a black gown of woollen from the jailer's wife, and making a bit of muslin into the widow's cap with which to cover her hair – still thick and young, but gray from agony; the Queen of France, the daughter of the Empress of Austria, sewing and making ready through the night to go decently covered in the morning to have her head cut off.  The hands Mozart had guided on the piano, in her happy girl-home, were tied behind her back, and no way left her to steady herself as she was jolted in a springless cart over the cobble stones of old Paris to the guillotine."

– Jessie Benton Fremont, published in The Young People's New Pictorial Library of Poetry and Prose (1888)

J. Curtis
Marie Antoinette d'Autriche, Reine de France
ca. 1780-1800
stipple-engraving and etching printed à la poupée
Royal Collection, Great Britain

Léopold Flameng after I.F. Wartell
British Museum

Anonymous German printmaker
Maria-Antonette, Königin von Frankreich
ca. 1790
etching and engraving
(book frontispiece)
British Museum

Robert Sayer (publisher) after Joseph Boze
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre
British Museum

Jean-François Tourcaty after Pieter Joseph Sauvage
Marie Antoinette
stipple-engraving and etching
British Museum

La Panthère Autrichienne
British Museum

John Murphy after Anne-Flore Millet, marquise de Bréhan
Marie Antoinette in prison
British Museum

Charles Verlat
Marie Antoinette au Temple
ca. 1882
British Museum

from Marie Antoinette's Lamentation, in her Prison of the Temple

When left forlorn, dejected, and alone,
Imperfect sounds my pensive Soul annoy;
I hear in every distant mingling tone
The merry BELLS – the boist'rous SONGS OF JOY!
Ah! then I contemplate my loathsome Cell,
Where meagre GRIEF and scowling HORROR dwell!

The City's din – the TOCSIN'S fateful sound –
The CANNON thund'ring through the vaulted Sky –
The curling smoke, in columns rising round,
Which from my Iron Lattice I descry,
Rouse my Lethargic Mind! I shriek in vain,
My TYRANT JAILOR only mocks my pain!

Yet bear thy woes, my SOUL, with proud disdain,
Meet the keen lance of DEATH with steadfast eye;
Think on the glorious tide that fills each Vein,
And throbbing bids THEE, tremble not, TO DIE!
Yet shall I from my friendless children part?
Oh! all the MOTHER rushes to my heart!

– Mary Robinson, as printed in The Oracle, 8 March 1793

François-Louis Prieur after Alexander Kucharsky
La Reine à la Conciergerie
ca. 1800-1820
hand-colored stipple-engraving and etching
British Museum

Anonymous French printmaker
Bravo! Bravo! la Reine se penetre de la Patrie
hand-colored etching
(illustration from unidentified book)
British Museum

Robert Sayer (publisher)
The Death of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre
hand-colored mezzotint
British Museum

Anarchy : a Sonnet

Furies! Why sleep amid the carnage? – Rise!
Bring up my wolves of war, my pointed spears,
Daggers yet reeking, banners fill'd with sighs,
And paint your cheeks with gore, and lave your locks in tears.
On yon white bosom see that happy child!
Seize it, deface its infant charms! and say,
Anarchy view'd its mangled limbs, and smil'd!
Strike the young mother to the earth! – Away!
This is my era! O'er the dead I go!
From my hot nostrils minute murders fall!
Behind my burning car lurks feeble woe!
Fill'd with my dragon's ire, my slaves for kingdoms call!
Hear them not, father of the ensanguin'd race! –
World! give my monsters way! – Death! keep thy steady chase!

– Ann Yearsley, as printed in the Universal Magazine, May 1796