Tuesday's Treasure: The Dauphin's Chest

This lovely, little chest was made for Marie Antoinette's second child, the dauphin, Louis Joseph, on the occasion of his birth. The interior of the chest is lined with white taffeta. The exterior is decorated in an allegorical style with mythological subjects and scenes of people rejoicing. The figures of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette crowned by Cupids have been painted on the lid.

One can't gaze upon this chest and not wonder about the treasures that once filled it.  Did a heavily pregnant Marie Antoinette place lace bonnets or silver rattles inside?

As he grew, did Louis Joseph use it to store his beloved toy soldiers or wooden horse?

Did you know...

...Some of Louis Joseph's brother's toy soldiers are on display at the Musee Carnavalet in Paris?

...Louis Joseph was born at Versailles on October 22, 1781?

...After the birth of Louis Joseph, Louis XVI was reported to have been seen strolling around the palace with a beaming smile upon his face.  He would often say, "The dauphin, my son..."

The dauphin's full name was Louis Joseph Xavier Francois de France?

...Louis Joseph was the twenty-sixty dauphin of France?

...Louis Joseph was said to have been an exceptionally sweet, loving, and intelligent child?

...Marie Antoinette wrote of her son, "One hip is higher than the other and the vertebrae of his back are out of place and protruding."

...Louis Joseph was a sickly child and spent much time in bed, in pain.

...Poor, sweet Louis Joseph died of tuberculosis on June 4, 1789.  The king and queen were bereft.

Birth of Louis-Xavier-François, Dauphin of France
by Jean Pierre Julien Dupin, 1781
Allegory on the birth of Louis Joseph,
featuring Marie Antoinette seated.

Allegory of the birth of Louis Joseph
by François Guillaume Menageot
Portrait of the Royal Family of France, circa 1782.
Marie Antoinette holds the dauphin, Louis Joseph, as her husband,
Louis XVI gazes into her eyes. The royal couple are surrounded by the
king's brothers - Provence and d'Artois and their wives.
Kneeling is Madame Royale.

Marie Antoinette and her children. 
The dauphin, Louis Joseph is standing
and pointing at an empty crib to
remind viewers of the recent death of his
sister, Sophie Beatrix.

Marie Antoinette with her children
Princess Marie Therese Charlotte of France
and Dauphin Louis Joseph of France,
by Adolf Ulrik Wertmuller, 1785.
The queen strolls trough the gardens at her beloved
Petite Trianon clutching the wrist of the four years old.


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