A Moment for Louis XVI

As it is now 5:15 am in the city of Paris, in a few hours there will be an opportunity to either celebrate or mourn depending upon your ideology. Two hundred and eighteen years ago, Louis Auguste de France,better known as Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre was executed on the 21st of January 1793; the maddening crowds who had  gathered to see the only king of France executed, let out “shouts of joy” at 10:30 am.

The King was dead.

I am only an armchair historian, dilettantish at best; but I am romantic, Louis’s tale is tragic, I merely want to honor his death.


Louis XVI

portrait rondel

1787

Philippe-Laurent Roland

1746-1816

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Often remembered as the king who wished to be a locksmith, Marie Antoinette’s star burnt much brighter, her image more glamorous , it is easy for the casual historian to overlook Louis XVI. From the accounts I have read, he was a man of intelligence and devotion to God, his country, and his family. His indecisiveness has been recently attributed to symptoms of clinical depression; as the spouse of a psychologist, I am eager to look into this.

But as I said I am not a historian, for now, I will just present images of the late king.


Louis XVI, King of France

painted porcelain

18th century

Louis XVI

aged 22

b.23rd august 1754

d.21st January 1793

King of France and Navarre 1174-1791

King of the French 1791-1792

painted 1776

Joseph-Siffred Duplessis

1725-1802

Musée national du Chåteau et des Trianons

Versailles

Recquiscat in Pace

As King of the French, the king and his image underwent many humiliations;this engraving from happier times, 1775, was defaced in 1792, the king now known as Louis Capet is seen wearing the phrygian cap of the sans-culotte. It’s an unfortunate image.

source

Ultimately the king and his family endured being separated from one another when the comfort of family was most needed.

Louis XVI at the Tour du Temple

Jean-Francois Garneray

1755-1837

Death of Louis XVI,King of France

English Engraving

1798

If interested, and you are fluent in French, there is a site devoted to the late king.

Musically the memory of the king lives on,the following Funeral March for the Death of the King LouisXVI by Pavel Wranitzky carries the torch for his majesty.

Pavel Wranitzky

1756-1808

Over two centuries ago Louis Capet was having his prayerbook fetched at six o’clock in the morning.

Say a little prayer for the man.

Respectfully submitted,

Babylon Baroque


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20 Responses to “A Moment for Louis XVI”

  1. Beautiful post Thank you for supporting the late King!

  2. Thanks for this memorial

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      As an American, I am dismayed that more of my countrymen do not at least recognize the late king’s generosity in supporting our own ,far less bloody revolution. We owe him gratitude if nothing else.
      Thank you,
      Leonard

      • The Queen advised against it. In the end la Fayette betrayed his soveriegn, his troops laid siege to the bastille and he gave the key to that fortresse to Washington, (where it may still be seen.) While the United States di not have a terror there were casualties. We owe the king his life and his desendants a Kingdom. Richard, a committed American monarchist

      • babylonbaroque Says:

        Hello richard,
        Clearly you are far more knowledgable, I appreciate the info. I have neglected the dear King for too long, will remedy that soon.
        Where are the keys?
        Thank you and take care,
        Leonard

  3. I’m a beauty blogger and freelance makeup artist and a lover of French history. My blog is Baroque in Babylon. What a fun coincidence!

  4. Hi Leonard,
    I enjoyed the post very much. Beautiful images. Certainly his murder shook all of Europe, and the reactionary Nicholas I of Russia should have learned from this, setting the stage for that revolution over a century later.
    Speaking of the era, there is currently in production of the Scarlet Pimpernel (another one!) happening now, so the events resonate today.
    Warmly,
    P

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      Hi Philip,
      Thank you,
      and yes the house of cards started falling with such ugly consequences. I don’t know nearly enough Russian history, pretty much contained to the last tragic Czar, need to brush up.
      Will have to look into the newest Scarlet , thanks for the tip,
      LG

  5. Lara Henderson Says:

    I prayed for His Majesty on this most sad day. Good King Louis XVI prayed that his blood would cause his nation no misfortune; yet France would never know peace in her government. Bloodsheds, revolutions, reigns of terror. I believe France was punished for this regicide against a good Christian King, husband and father. May good King Louis XVI rest in peace.

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      I too said a prayer for the King, always happy to hear from those who share my sympathies.
      Take care ,
      Leonard@babylonbaroque

  6. Jonathan Fong Says:

    Great post, Len. There’s a good movie waiting to be made about him (though I did enjoy “Marie Antoinette”).

  7. Lovely post and tribute to the late King. His story as well as that of his wife Marie Antoinette also appeals to my romantic royalist sensibilities. What did you think of Coppola’s movie of the queen. I thought it captured perfectly life at Versailles- the beauty, the ritual, the stuffiness, the boredom, the spectacle…

    And have you seen the 1936 film Marie Antoinette with Norma Scherer playing the queen? It is quite wonderful. The costumes are sort of ancien regime meets Las Vegas.

    Best, Kelly

    • Hi Kelly,
      As I said to my chum Jonathan I enjoyed the Coppola film, the shoe scene made me a bit queasy , but overall it captured a pretty lightness that we associate with the Queen. Clearly Frasier sold her soul but it was a tasty confection.
      I love the Scherer MA for many of the same reasons.Gotta love a touch of Vegas!
      Thanks for visiting,
      Leonard

  8. I feel I have to say something here Len, old chap which you may well not like.

    Am I the only one to find all this outpouring of sentiment a little misguided. Louis’ France was an acutely oppressive and dictatorial regime with an indifference to the suffering of the masses. The king in France was by definition an autocrat and democracy, while being supported in the fledgling United States, had no space in Louis’ France.

    I suppose it is as well to bear in mind that in France itself 14 July is a national holiday and I should imagine not many tears or prayers are shed on 21 January.

    There, I have said my peace, now let Louis’ faithful and reactionary hoards descend.

    • babylonbaroque Says:

      Well you know my sympathies, and i readily admit they may be romantic, but I am always happy to hear your comments, most particularly as I know how thoughtful you are.
      I like to think the King was experimenting with a concept (democracy)for the very reason that it wasn’t possible under an absolute monarchy.
      I understand the Queen was familiar with humanist writers such as Rousseau.Great change was about, I don’t think they were unaware, but who would have thought that such terror was possible, to kill a King.
      Thank you for saying your peace, you know how I value your opinion.
      Take care my friend,
      Len

  9. Len you are a Prince of diplomacy. In future I will only whisper ‘Vive La Revolution’ from behind a very elaborately embroidered hankie. Thus spake the illegitimate heir of minor English Aristocracy. :-)))))

  10. babylonbaroque Says:

    John,
    Comments like that are why I am crazy about you!
    You are the best,hardly illegitimate at all,

    LG

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