Tag Archives: French Revolution

Four Candles: c. 1780s

wertmuller_marie_antoinette_and_children

Marie Antoinette walking with two of her children in the park of the Trianon, Adolf Ulrik Wertmüller, 1785 Nationalmuseum Stockholm

Walking one day in the park of the Trianon, gay and exquisite, the queen came unexpectedly upon a rough-looking man, totally unknown to her. A woman of high and unbreakable courage, Queen of France and full of confidence in her charmed destiny, she was seized, nevertheless, with a sensation of inexplicable terror. The man was the brewer, Santerre. Later, at the time of her execution, he was in charge of the National Guard of the City of Paris. . . .

Madame Campan [the Queen’s friend and lady-in-waiting] related the following anecdote: “Four candles were placed upon the queen’s dressing- table; the first one went out of itself; I soon relighted it; the second, then the third also, went out. At this the queen, pressing my hand with a movement of alarm, said to me, ‘Misfortune makes one superstitious; if that fourth candle goes out, nothing can keep me from regarding it as an evil omen’; the fourth candle went out.

“Someone remarked to the queen that the four candles had probably been made in the same mould, and that a defect in the wick was naturally to be found at the same place, since they had gone out in the order in which they had been lighted. The queen would listen to nothing; and with that indefinable emotion which the bravest heart cannot always overcome in momentous hours, gave herself up to gloomy apprehensions.

La reine se couchait très-tard, ou plutôt cette infortunée princesse commençait à ne plus goûter de repos. Vers la fin de mai, un soir qu’elle était assise au milieu de la chambre, elle racontait plusieurs choses remarquables qui avaient eu lieu pendant le cours de la journée; quatre bougies étaient placées sur sa toilette; la première s’éteignit d’elle-même, je la rallumai : bientôt la seconde, puis la troisième, s’éteignirent aussi ; alors la reine, me serrant la main avec un mouvement d’effroi, me dit: “Le malheur peut rendre superstitieuse; si cette quatrième bougie s’éteint comme les autres, rien ne pourra m’empêcher de regarder cela comme un sinistre présage….” La quatrième bougie s’éteignit.

On fit observer à la reine que les quatre bougies avaient probablement été coulées dans le même moule, et qu’un défaut à la mèche s’était naturellement trouvé au même endroit, puisque les bougies s’étaient éteintes dans l’ordre où on les avait allumées.

Memoires sur la vie de Marie-Antoinette, Reine de France et de Navarre, Mme. Campan, 1886

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  On Bastille Day one’s thoughts often turn to the doomed Queen of France. Hindsight is, of course, keenly precise and there were many stories told in retrospect, of the omens presaging the fall of the Ancien Regime. We have previously read of the Queen’s terror at the mysterious prophecy of a cartomancer. One wonders a little wistfully what would have happened had the Royal family successfully made their way to safety at the fortress of Montmédy. Would the Revolution have failed or was their  rendezvous with Madame Guillotine written in the stars?

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

Hail Storms, Dancing Kangaroos, and a Guillotine: A theatrical benefit: 1793

A tinsel-trimmed portrait of popular early 19th-century actress Fanny Kemble. showing her as "Portia" in The Merchant of Venice.

A tinsel-trimmed portrait of popular early 19th-century actress Fanny Kemble. showing her as “Portia” in The Merchant of Venice.

BENEFITS

[From the St. James’s Chronicle.]

Mr. Baldwin,

As I observe that many of our eminent performers are greatly at a loss to draw out a proper bill of fare for their benefits, suited to the present enlightened dramatic taste, I have taken the liberty to offer the following as a model; and I have no doubt but that he or she who follows it, will find it greatly to their advantage.

Mr. ____’s Night.

By desire, the Tragedy of

MACBETH.

Macbeth—By a Gentleman, being his first appearance on any stage.

In the first scene will be introduced.

A real Hail Storm.

End of Act. I. (for that night only) the two Kangaroos from Exeter Change, will make their appearance in a dance.

End of Act II. A Hornpipe, by the gentleman who performs Macbeth.

End of Act III. The real Turkish Ambassador will walk across the Stage, attended by his suite.

End of Act IV. Lady Macbeth will recite Garrick’s Ode to Shakespeare, with John Gilpin’s Journey to Edmonton,

During the Play,

The Witches will sing Poor Jack, the Little Farthing, Rushlight, the Jolly Lamplighter, and other Airs, in character.

At the End of the Play

An entire New Epilogue,

By an eminent literary Gentleman;

In the course of which will be introduced,

A real River, with actual Salmon, Trout, and Whitebait.

Between the Play and Farce,

A new Interlude,

(Written for this night only,) called

Harlequin in Paris,

Or the Humours of the Guillotine;

(In which, by particular desire, Harlequin will take a flying leap through a cauldron of burning brimstone,

The like never performed in this world.)

The characters in the Interlude,

(For that night only,) all by Frenchmen.

A dance of Murderers, by the principal Performers of this Theatre.

To conclude with a procession of the Guillotine,

(As performed in Paris with universal applause, for upwards of a twelvemonth past;)

And a real Head, lately imported in an American bottom.

End of the Interlude,

A Solo on the Violin,

By

A CHILD OF SIX MONTHS OLD.

To conclude with

The Cries of London

And

The Tombs in Westminster Abbey.

To which will be added,

A FARCE,

And other Entertainments,

As will be expressed in the Bills of the Day.

The Spirit of the Public Journals for 1797, Stephen Jones, Charles Molloy Westmacott, editors, 1802

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil has seen entirely too many bills announcing just such eclectic entertainments.  Theatrical amateurs (such as the gentleman playing Macbeth above, perhaps an echo of Robert “Romeo” Coates.) were the terror of the London scene, but the amateurs’ financial contributions to management’s coffers made up for any dramatic shortcomings. There is an amusing description in Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby about the many “bespoke” or benefit evenings given in honour of the actress Miss Snevellichi.

Just to be Relentlessly Informative, Garrick is David Garrick, who, in some cases, rewrote Shakespeare, including a slightly happier ending for Romeo and Juliet. From the late 1790s several kangaroos were kept at the famous menagerie housed at Exeter ‘Change. One of the males would sometimes wrestle with the keeper, and often got the better of him. Theatres competed to produce the most realistic effects and scenery such as a real hail storm and a river stocked with fish. An account from 1831 tells of a realistic earthquake staged in a New York theatre, accompanied by thunder, lighting and “the stench of…sulphur.” An “American bottom” is not, as might be expected, a cheeky reference to a reality television star, but an American cargo ship.

An example of a theatrical benefit play-bill.

An example of a theatrical benefit play-bill.

 

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,”where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes.

 

 

A Ghostly Murder Victim Appeals to Count Axel von Fersen: c. 1800

Count Axel von Fersen, who tried to help the French royal family escape in 1791.

Count Axel von Fersen, who tried to help the French royal family escape in 1791.

Our narrator is once again Mr Augustus Hare. 

Lord Ravensworth welcomed me with such cordial kindness, and has been so genial and good to me ever since, that I quite feel as if in him I had found the ideal uncle I have always longed for, but never before enjoyed. He is certainly the essence of an agreeable and accomplished scholar, with a faultless memory and apt classical quotations for every possible variety of subject. He told me, and made me write down, the following curious story:

It is going back a long time ago – to the time of Marie Antoinette. It will be remembered that the most faithful, the most entirely devoted of all the gallant adherents of Marie Antoinette was the Comte de Fersen. The Comte de Fersen was ready to lay down his life for the Queen, to go through fire and water for her sake; and, on her side, if Marie Antoinette had a corner in her heart for anyone except the King, it was for the Comte de Fersen. When the royal family escaped to Varennes, it was the Comte de Fersen who dressed up as a coachman and drove the carriage; and when the flight to Varennes failed, and when, one after another, he had seen all his dearest friends perish upon the scaffold, the Comte de Fersen felt as if the whole world was cut away from under his feet, as if life had nothing whatever left to offer, and he sunk into a state of apathy, mental and physical, from which nothing whatever seemed to rouse him; there was nothing whatever left which could be of any interest to him.

The physicians who were called in said that the Comte de Fersen must have absolute change; that he must travel for an unlimited time; that he must leave France; at any rate, that he must never see again that Paris which was so terrible to him, which is stained for ever with the blood of the Queen and Madame Elizabeth. And he was quite willing; all places were the same to him now that his life was left desolate: he did not care where he went.

He went to Italy, and one afternoon in November he drove up to what was then, as it is still, the most desolate, weird, ghastly inn in Italy the wind-stricken, storm-beaten, lava-seated inn of Radicofani. And he came there not to stay; he only wanted post-horses to go on as fast as he could, for he was always restless to be moving – to go farther on. But the landlord said, ‘No, it was too late at night; there was going to be a storm; he could not let his horses cross the pass of Radicofani till the next morning.’ – ‘But you are not aware,’ said the traveller, ‘That I am the Comte de Fersen.’ – ‘I do not care in the least who you are,’ said the landlord; ‘I make my rules, and my rules hold good for one as well as for another.’ – ‘But you do not understand probably that money is no object to me, and that time is a very great object indeed. I am quite willing to pay whatever you demand, but I must have the horses at once, for I must arrive at Rome on a particular day.’ – ‘Well, you will not have the horses,’ said the landlord; ‘at least to-morrow you may have them, but to-night you will not; and if you are too fine a gentlemen to come into my poor hotel, you may sleep in the carriage, but to-night you will certainly not have the horses.’

Then the Comte de Fersen made the best of what he saw was the inevitable. He had the carriage put into the coach-house, and he himself came into the hotel, and he found it, as many hundreds of travellers have done since, not half so bad as he expected. It is a bare, dismal, whitewashed barracky place, but the rooms are large and tolerably clean. So he got some eggs or something that there was for supper, and he had a fire made up in the best of the rooms, and he went to bed. But he took two precautions; he drew a little round table that was there to the head of the bed and he put two loaded pistols upon it; and, according to the custom of that time, he made the courier sleep across the door on the outside.

He went to bed, and he fell asleep, and in the middle of the night he awoke with the indescribable sensation that people have, that he was not alone in the room, and he raised himself against the pillow and looked out. From a small lattice window high in the opposite whitewashed wall the moonlight was pouring into the room, and making a white silvery pool in the middle of the rough boarded oak floor. In the middle of this pool of light, dressed in a white cap and jacket and trousers, such as masons wear, stood the figure of a man looking at him. The Comte de Fersen stretched out his hand over the side of the bed to take one of his pistols, and the man said, ‘Don’t fire: you could do no harm to me, you could do a great deal of harm to yourself: I am come to tell you something.’ And Comte de Fersen looked at him: he did not come any nearer; he remained just where he was, standing in the pool of white moonlight, halfway between the bed and the wall; and he said, ‘Say on: tell me what you have come for.’ And the figure said, ‘I am dead, and my body is underneath your bed. I was a mason of Radicofani, and, as a mason, I wore the white dress in which you now see me. My wife wished to marry somebody else: she wished to marry the landlord of this hotel, and they beguiled me into the inn, and they made me drunk, and they murdered me, and my body is buried beneath where your bed now stands. Now I died with the word vendetta upon my lips, and the longing, the thirst that I have for revenge will not let me rest, and I never shall rest, I never can have any rest, till I have had my revenge. Now I know that you are going to Rome; when you get to Rome, go to the Cardinal Commissary of Police, and tell him what you have seen, and he will send men down here to examine the place, and my body will be found, and I shall have my revenge.’ And Comte de Fersen said, ‘I will.’ But the spirit laughed and said, ‘You don’t suppose that I’m going to believe that? You don’t imagine the you are the only person I’ve come to like this? I have come to dozens, and they have all said, “I will,” and afterwards what they have seen has seemed like a hallucination, a dream, a chimæra, and before they have reached Rome the impression has vanished altogether, and nothing has been done. Give me your hand.’ The Comte de Fersen was a little staggered at this; however, he was a brave man, and he stretched out his hand over the foot of the bed, and he felt something or other happen to one of his fingers; and he looked, and there was no figure, only the moonlight streaming in through the little lattice window, and the old cracked looking-glass on the wall and the old rickety furniture just distinguishable in the half-light; there was no mason there, but the loud regular sound of the snoring of the courier was heard outside the bedroom door. And the Comte de Fersen could not sleep; he watched the white moonlight fade into dawn, and the pale dawn brighten into day, and is seemed to him as if the objects in that room would be branded into his brain, so familiar did they become – the old cracked looking-glass, and the shabby washing-stand, and the rush-bottomed chairs, and he also began to think that what had passed in the earlier part of the night was a hallucination – a mere dream. Then he got up, and he began to wash his hands; and on one of his fingers he found a very curious old iron ring, which was certainly not there before – and then he knew.

And the Comte de Fersen went to Rome, and when he arrived at Rome he went to the Swedish minister that then was, a certain Count Löwenjelm, and the Count Löwenjelm was very much impressed with the story, but a person who was much more impressed was the Minister’s younger brother, the Count Carl Löwenjelm, for he had a very curious and valuable collection of peasants’ jewelry, and when he saw the ring he said, ‘That is a very remarkable ring, for it is a kind of ring which is only made and worn in one place, and that place is in the mountains near Radicofani.’

And the two Counts Löwenjelm went with the Comte de Fersen to the Cardinal Commissary of Police, and the Cardinal also was very much struck, and he said, ‘It is a very extraordinary story, a very extraordinary story indeed, and I am quite inclined to believe that it means something. But, as you know, I am in a great position of trust under Government, and I could not send a body of military down to Radicofani upon the faith of what may prove to have been a dream. At any rate (he said) I could not do it unless the Comte de Fersen proved his sense of the importance of such an action by being willing to return to Radicofani himself.’ And not only was the Comte de Fersen willing to return, but the Count Carl Löwenjelm went with him. The landlord and landlady were excessively agitated when they saw them return with the soldiers who came from Rome. They moved the bed, and found that the flags beneath had been recently upturned. They took up the flags, and there not sufficiently corrupted to be irrecognisable was the body of the mason, dressed in the white cap and jacket and trousers, as he had appeared to the Comte de Fersen. Then the landlord and landlady, in true Italian fashion, felt that Providence was against them, and they confessed everything. They were taken to Rome, where they were tried and condemned to death, and they were beheaded at the Bocca della Verità.

The Count Carl Löwenjelm was present at the execution of that man and woman, and he was the person who told the Marquis de Lavalette, who told Lord Ravensworth, who told me. The by-play of the story is also curious. Those two Counts Löwenjelm were the natural sons of the Duke of Sudomania, who was one of the aspirants for the crown of Sweden in the political crisis which preceded the election of Bernadotte. He was, in fact, elected, but he had many enemies, and on the night on which he arrived to take possession of the throne he was poisoned. The Comte de Fersen himself came to a tragical end in those days. He was very unpopular in Stockholm, and during the public procession in which he took part at the funeral of Charles Augustus (1810) he was murdered, being (though it is terrible to say so of the gallant adherent of Marie Antoinette) beaten to death with umbrellas. And that it was with no view to robbery and from purely political feeling is proved by the fact that though he was en grande tenue, nothing was taken away.

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire:  Henry Lidell, 1st Earl of Ravensworth was Augustus Hare’s mother’s first cousin. Hare lived and travelled extensively in Italy and wrote several guide books about the country’s attractions.  As one can deduce from his relation of this ghost story’s pedigree, he was an inveterate name-dropper.

Count Axel von Fersen, who was devoted to Marie Antoinette and tried to help the French royal family escape in the ill-fated flight to Varennes in 1791, was very popular with the ladies. While some—particularly sentimental females with three names—believed that he was a “parfait gentil knight,” it seems plausible that his devotion to the doomed Queen was expressed in the usual way. But Mrs Daffodil regrets the umbrellas. It was a sordid, shabby way to die.

For other stories related by that master raconteur Augustus Hare see “Saved by the Bell (wire)” and “The Ensign Sees a Horror.”  You will find a story of Marie Antoinette’s death warrant here.

Mrs Daffodil invites you to join her on the curiously named “Face-book,” where you will find a feast of fashion hints, fads and fancies, and historical anecdotes

You may read about a sentimental succubus, a vengeful seamstress’s ghost, Victorian mourning gone horribly wrong, and, of course, Mrs Daffodil’s efficient tidying up after a distasteful decapitation in A Spot of Bother: Four Macabre Tales.

 

The Death Warrant of Marie Antoinette: 1912

Marie Antoinette Death Warrant

In honour of the 220th anniversary of the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette, a story of the discovery of the

DEATH WARRANT OF MARIE ANTOINETTE

Washington, D.C.

After having been buried for over forty years in the accumulated dust and dirt of an out of the way attic the long lost death warrant of Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI, has just come to light in this city.

The finding of this document, together with a number of perfectly preserved autographs of great persons of the court of Louis Quinze, adds another chapter to the history of the one of the most remarkable documents connected with the French Revolution—the last authentic record in the life of the unfortunate Marie and her son, the Dauphin.

After the execution of the beautiful Queen on that fatal Wednesday, October 16, 1793, the document which had ordered the death dealing embrace of “Madame Guillotine” was returned to the public archives of the infant republic in the Temple, supposedly to remain there with the other dread reminders of the time when France passed through the greatest crisis which has ever beset a nation.

But fate ordained otherwise.

Henri Samson, executioner of the Queen, passed one day through the Temple gazing at the documents marking the pathway of blood the Revolution had left through France, the sanguine road traced by the sharp knifed instrument of which he had been the pilot. By change his eye fell on the warrant of the “Widow Capet.” Scarcely realizing what he was doing, the executioner lifted the glass covering the document case, folded the official record of the death of a Queen in three places and put it in his pocket as a memento of the last hour of the Austrian wife of the King, to whom he had previously sworn fealty.

With the warrant Samson took three small pieces of paper lying near by, thinking that they contained the Queen’s autograph. In this he was mistaken, for the slips were later found to be covered with the scrawled signatures of lords and ladies of the  court, together with the names of the Dauphin, his sister Therese, and his aunt Elizabeth, sister to the King.

The executioner’s action in taking from the archives of the republic documents of public interest has never been satisfactorily explained and the official records of the Temple indicate only that the death warrant of the Queen was discovered to be missing from its accustomed pace and “was not to be found, even after long search.” No mention is made of the autographed slips of paper, which probably were considered of little appreciable value at this time.

The story of the valuable documents from the time they were abstracted from their glass covered resting place to the present moment is vague and indefinite. History mentions the disappearance of the warrant and chronicles now and again its reported discovery—now here, now there. But up to the present time nothing authentic has been heard of the papers.

Some weeks ago, however, William H. Freeny, foreman of a tailoring establishment in this city, while rummaging through the trunks in his attic discovered some old papers carefully pressed and placed between the pages in an old atlas. The fact that they were in the upper tray of a trunk which had belonged to his father-in-law, Armand Laag, a native of Ville, France, convinced Freeny that they were probably connected with the history of the Laag family and he asked his wife if she knew anything about them.

Mrs. Freeny replied in the negative and suggested that they might find out something about them by looking further among her fathers’ belongings. An old diary begun by the elder Laag several years before he left France, in 1873, came to light. In it was detailed the fact that the papers—listed as “the death warrant of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, and various autographs of the Dauphin, his sister, aunt and ladies and gentlemen of the court of Louis XVI” had been presented to Armand Laag in 1860 by the son of Henri Samson, the executioner, who had found them among his father’s effects.

The papers, the diary continued, had been given Laag as an appreciation of a service which he had rendered Samson, fils, and had been placed in the old atlas for safe keeping. The excitement of the events of 1870 and the succeeding years and the emigration of Laag to his country are supposed to have driven all recollection of the warrant and autographs out of his mind, because Mrs. Freeny never remembers having seen the documents before they were rediscovered by her husband.

Strange to say, after all the years which have passed since the writing and signing of the death warrant and the affixing of the signatures to the small slips of paper, all four documents, if such they can be called, are in excellent condition.

The warrant itself is about 6 by 10 inches in size and appears to be written and printed on paper of exceptionally strong fibre. The printing and handwriting are almost as clear and legible as when first placed upon the paper and even a small blot near the top of the sheet is distinctly visible. The first line of writing above the printed word “Requisition” is blurred, but close examination discloses the words: “Archives de la *** l’Etat.” The word between “la” and “l’Etat” is indecipherable.

Below this line is the file number (“Carton No. 120”) and beneath that appears printed: “Requisition to the commanding general of the Parisian armed force.”

The remainder of the document, translated, reads:

“IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC.

The prosecuting public attorney of the Revolutionary Criminal Court, established at Paris by the act of March 10, 179e, in execution of the judgment of the court of this day, requires the commanding General of the Parisian armed force to give assistance and to put on foot the public force necessary for the execution of said judgment rendered against Marie Antoinette Lorraine Autriche (Austrian), widow of Louis Capet, and which condemns her to the penalty of death, which execution shall take place to-day at 10 A.M. in the Place de la Revolution in this city. The commanding General is required to send the said public force from the court house yard on the said day at 8 A.M. precisely.

Given at Paris on the twenty-fifth day of the second years of the French Republic, one and indivisible. (Old style, Wednesday, October 15, 5 o’clock in the morning.)

Public Prosecuting Attorney

(Signed) A. J. Fouquier.

The document is stamped with the seal of the “National Legislation Section of the Archives.”

Although 119 years old the document is remarkable well preserved, due no doubt to the fact that it has been kept in a dark place during the greater part of the time. Three well formed creases and one slight crease mar its surface, but otherwise the sheet of paper, a trifle yellow from age, is as perfect as on the day it was signed by Fouquier. The ink is still black and the printing has not faded in the least.

The three slips of paper which were found in the same book as the warrant were apparently taken from the archives of the Temple at the same time as the larger document. Two of them are about three by four inches, while the other is only a small slip containing the single signature of the “Comtesse Valois de la Motte,” surrounding whose varied career the elder Dumas wove the tale of “The Queen’s Necklace.”

The signature of the “Countess” is, as one would expect from such a clever criminal, firm and determined. The letters are well formed and the very writing appears to breathe character and determination. The “Motte” ends with a lengthy flourish, as do both “d’s” another contribution to the theory of Lombroso and other criminologists that the more ornate a signature the less oral the writer.

The autographs on the two other slips of paper are fully as interesting as is that of the condemned Countess. Only three of the writers, however, have gone down in history. These are Louis Charles Capet, the Dauphin; [Marie] Therese Capet, his sister, and Elizabeth Capet, his aunt and sister of the King.

There are two signature of the little Dauphin, one on each slip. Both of them are scrawled the in the childish hand of the little Prince, and in one of them the “p” in Capet was missing and inserted over a caret. The childish letters were evidently formed with great difficulty one at a time and in some cases they do not even join one another. The “l” at the commencement of one signature is more like a “k” than its proper self, while the “r’s” resemble the “t’s”. The young King-to-be was also a little careless about the placing of the dots over his “I’s,” for in both autographs the dot is over the first loop of the “u” in Louis, instead of over the letter to which it belongs.

The signature of Therese, his sister, however, is well formed and indicates the character of all women of the Capetian line. Although but a child when the autograph was put to paper, the daughter of Louis XVI, was as able a penwoman as her Aunt Elizabeth, only the “t” in Capet being malformed. The Princess Elizabeth’s hand is bold and easily read, the final “t’ being complete with a heavy swing and downward stroke of the pen which is carried onto the crossbar.

Among the other signatures on the slips are those of “David” (who believed that the importance of his position, whatever it was, warranted his surrounding his name with a flamboyant flourish), Daujon, Saurens, Stady, Channette and others which are undecipherable. Practically the same signatures appear on both the larger slips—Therese and Elizabeth Capet being the only ones who inscribed their names but once. The Sun [New York, NY] 21 July 1912: p. 1

Mrs Daffodil’s Aide-memoire: Mrs Daffodil cautions her readers that she has no idea if the story of the document’s theft by the executioner and its “rediscovery” in Washington, D.C. is true or not. Marie Antoinette was a romantic and sympathetic figure, rather like Mary, Queen of Scots. Stories of her relics were often the subject of imaginative reporting in the early 20th century press, while mementoes of the doomed Queen–perhaps of the correct age, but creative provenance–were avidly sought.

Some of the characters mentioned:

Princess Elizabeth, “Madame Elisabeth” [1764-1794] was the sister of King Louis XVI, excuted during the Terror. 

Jeanne de Valois-Saint-Rémy, “Comtesse de la Motte” [1756-1791], was the central figure in the Affair of the Diamond Necklace.  

Commissioner Daujon of the Commune shielded the Royal family by not allowing revolutionaries carrying the Princesse de Lambelle’s head on a pike into the Temple, where the Royal family was staying. 

Antoine Quentin Fouquier de Tinville [1746-1795], who signed the warrant, was the prosecutor in the trials of Charlotte Corday and Queen Marie Antoinette. 

Charles-Henri Sanson, France’s state executioner

One wonders if “David” was Jacques-Louis David, the artist, known for his Revolutionary sympathies.