[Autographs & Manuscripts]
A Remarkable Collection of 75 Autograph Letters from Comte d'Artois (later Charles X) to Comte Vaudreuill, Written Between 1789 and 1805
Sizes vary, many with wax seals or remnants of wax seals.
Just three days after the infamous storming of the Bastille, Charles Philippe de France, comte d'Artois—brother of King Louis XVI and brother-in-law of Queen Marie Antoinette—hastily fled the kingdom. What followed was an exile of more than 26 years across the different courts of Europe, from which the comte d'Artois acted as a spokesman for the declining French monarchy. While in exile, he corresponded with his faithful friend, Joseph Hyacinthe François-de-Paule de Rigaud, comte de Vaudreuil, who had also left France in July, 1789. The comte d'Artois travelled first to Savoy, and then settled with his wife's family in Turin, Italy. Due to tremendous distress and financial needs he was constantly on the move, seeking help from various European courts.
The archive brings to life the comte's life in exile—from the everyday to the profound. In a letter dated December 25, 1792, reacting to the news of the daily executions in Paris, he summarizes the situation to his friend: 'It is more appalling than ever. The unfortunate King is being tried at present and beyond a doubt will be condemned. Perhaps the Convention will wish to keep him as hostage, but it is still very doubtful that the Convention can shield him from the rage of the people'. Several months later, after the king had indeed been executed and after learning about 'the cruel death of the queen [Marie-Antoinette]', the comte forewarns his friend: 'I hope for nothing but vengeance'.
Written from numerous cities such as Liege, London, Dusseldorf, St. Petersburg, Namur, Rotterdam, and Edinburgh, these letters offer a formidable report of the tumultuous events that took place in France during this period, and mirror his brother and sister-in-law's difficult situation, especially in the years 1792 and 1793.
In 1814, after two decades of exile, the comte returned to France. Following Napoleon's abdication in 1815, the Bourbon monarchy was restored, and Charles' brother ascended the throne as Louis XVIII. After Louis' death in 1824, Charles became King and was crowned Charles X.
An invaluable first-person source of information regarding one of France's and Europe's most troubled periods.
Property of Roger Ross and Eric Bongartz. 20% of proceeds from the sale of this lot will be donated equally to Healthcorps and the National Ataxia Foundation.
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