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Did this fan belong to Marie-Antoinette ?
Cette page en français

    Thankyou to those who answer our questions !   Please scroll down : there is an interesting answer down there !
When strolling on the Internet, I found this fan picture. "Une fois n'est pas coutume" (Once doesn't make an habit)  do we say in French :  I have shamefully stolen this jpg to the preceding borrower ...) 


NB. The fan seems open in the wrong way? Is the photo inversed ?  

On January 8, 2002, "Before being beheaded, the Queen will offer her fan to Chauveau Lagarde. This fan is on display in the office of President of the Bar" stated Pierre-Olivier SUR (then Board Member of the Order, author of a History of lawyers in France, Dalloz, 1998) during a presentation of the lawyers history of to the Bar Training School students.
It appears that this fan would be the one pictured above, having stayed for a very long time in the office of President of the Paris Lawyers. It was reported so by the Togo lawyers  ( lev = & lawyer LEV2 = quote): "in the barrister's office, the portrait of Pope Clement IV faces the fan Marie Antoinette gave her defender Claude François Chauveau-Lagarde".

A novel was even published in 2008,  with this fan as a starting point. (François-Xavier GAUROY et Ambroise LIARD Sous la Terreur, Timée Editions.)

L'Union des Jeunes Avocats (Union of Young Lawyers)

then indicated that the plot "is built around a symbolic object which is in the office of the President of the Paris Bar : a fan, given by Marie Antoinette to her defender;  Chauveau-Lagarde, in testimony of gratitude for his defense before the Revolutionary Court (...) The novel is nourished by historical anecdotes describing the Revolutionary tribunal, this simple antechamber to the guillotine that was sitting in the current courthouse in Paris. "


 Claude François Chauveau-Lagarde (1765-1841) will survive the Revolution.  But in defending the unfortunate sovereign, he took a risk which certainly could have deserved him this modest gift !

 This fan, by its general characteristics, could be from the 1780's, but the fringes lead to situate it rather by or after 1790. So is the fan we show on the left. This one is more elaborate with its steel guards and sticks and its central medallion showing Hector leaving Andromache and Astyanax (Iliad Book XII, copy based on Antoine Coypel painting -Fine Arts Museum of Tours, Gobelin tapestry ...)

  No need to say that the fan of the Queen (if so it is) was very modest after the splendor of Versailles.  But we are almost surprised that her executioners had left her the use of such an object, ordinary but all in all certainly not essential. 



Our questions are simple:

 Have you ever seen this fan  ?
Is its story indisputable ?
 What are the sources ?
 All your opinions are welcome !

Soon after this page was posted, we received an email from  Florence  Bruyant ( historian of Art,, author of various works and articles about  fans, especially on "Careers in Paris éventaillerie  (1723-1776).  She questioned the credibility of this gift. "We must remain cautious with regard to the" fetishism "surrounding the queen, including the many fans that belonged to her. In my opinion, this fan is a common one. According to the biographies of the sovereign, she had during her detention only what was is strictly necessary". Bruyant said : "if we suppose a  gift, it would have occurred rather at the moment  of the incarceration."    However, it is a fact that "the queen used to offer fans to people she met".
So such a gift remains plausible. Therefore, do we add, as long as we do not consider that it is  
" the Fan of Marie-Antoinette ", but only a fan given by Marie Antoinette.

        Visiting the Bar

  End of January 2011 we have got an outstanding contribution from Mr. Daniel Crépin, a collector, researcher and member of the Cercle de l'Eventail
, who, thanks to Mr. Ozanam, archivist of the Bar of Paris, was able to see the object in person and to subsequently share some photos, along with some information. This one, unfortunately, will be an occasion for  new questions!

        We thank them both. But first, a picture!
(Difficult to take, the fan being framed and supposed not to be moved)

    Eventail de MA

        This picture helps us to make some initial observations:

        1) As we expected, the picture that we had "stolen" (after other "thieves"!)  had been reversed;
        2) The fan, which we now see better, is of a common kind during the 1780s. The fringes seem however to date it at the end of the decade, even circa 1790;
        3) Nothing in the decoration of the fan (inscriptions or specific patterns) may lead us to connect the object to the royal family.

        Fortunately (do we think at first ...), a copper plate
piously affixed to the frame will give us some certainty.  So here's an enlargement


        Reading the plate, alas, engenders new questions
instead of giving answers.

        The version  we report above (that of Me Sur  in 2002) was highly consistent, as  according it the object hjad been passed from the hand of the unfortunate sovereign to the hand of her young defender, and (so we thought), from his family to the professional group whose honor had so been defended in those difficult circumstances. This version seemed strong, as it was confirmed by other sources also  from the "Palais de Justice".

        Instead, here come  this
uncertain "tradition"  involving the Marquis de Marigny, the wife of an attorney at the Chatelet, and after a hiatus, a relatively recent barrister, Me Etienne Carpentier  (who was in charge during World War II).
Our friendly correspondent, Daniel Crépin, obtained from Mr. Ozanam, Archivist of the Bar Council, a number of indications.

        Indeed, from Madame Galland, the wife of an attorney at the Chatelet, which would have assisted the queen in the famous "affaire du Collier", the fan would have passed to her daughter and then to her granddaughter Madame Tesmoingt. Upon the death of the latter, 12 February 1896, her husband would have  given the fan to M. and Mme Paul Bizé, grandparents of the Bâtonnier Carpentier, donor.

        From what said Daniel Crépin, according  to Mr. Ozanam words and to his own research, to which we modestly join ours, we can try to give an assessment of the situation.

        This fan is said to have been presented by the queen to a "marquis de Marigny".  This was the name and title of the brother of Madame de Pompadour (Louis XV's mistress),  but he died in 1781.  But it could be the Viscount Charles Louis Bernard de Marigny, who after a distinguished career in the French Navy
(including in Brest, birthplace of the author of these lines ...) was appointed deputy governor of the Dauphin in 1792 and was still alive in 1793.

        Alas,  Crepin
says, we do not find a trace of  a "Galland, attorney at the Chatelet".  Anyway  a man in this place would have had no reason for being involved in the "Affaire du Collier".  But we have found in the Histoire de Marie Antoinette (Frères  Goncourt, G. Charpentier, Paris, 1879) under note 424, a list which contains a 'wardrobe servant "of this name (in bold below). This is obviously a lesser condition "attorney at the Chatelet", but there is no fool job!
        424: We have to give here a list of people forming the Housee of the Queen, with the figures of their wages, to August 10, published for the first time by us from a manuscript preserved in the National Archives.

        "_Arriéré Dû to  August 10th, 1792 to persons employed in the House of the  past Queen :
              Jublin, Attorney General; pledges 1.800 .-- Beauvillier, wife of La Roche-Aymon (Bernardine), lady of the palace, wages, 6000 .-- Saulx-Tavanes de Castellane (Gabrielle-Charlotte Eleanor), Lady of the Palace; pledges to 6.000 .-- Bertaut Chimeaux spouse BIBAUT Misery (Julie Louise), first maid hired from 18.042-50 .-- Noll, Thibault widow (Mary Elizabeth), the first maid, pledges,  18.042-50 .-- Genet Campan-Bertholet spouse (Jeanne-Louise-Henriette), first maid 6.415 .-- Quelpée La Borde spouse Regnier Jarjayes, maid, 7.915 (...)- Holland,  room boy, from 7.975-10 .-- Bazin,  room boy, from 3.055-10 .- Galland, wardrobe valet, 1.507 .-- Schulte, tailor (...)

     Let us add also that we have found in the index of the "Minutier Central" of
Paris notaries a record of a marriage contract Tesmoingt-Galland, which could give credence to the tradition as it is set. We let our friends in Paris research further ...

        In summary
(in the present state of our knowledge ...)
         1) The fan in the office of the
Bar of Paris President has in itself nothing royal, but was probably made in the years preceding the death of Queen Marie-Antoinette;
         2) Nothing seems to justify the passage almost officially announced to the hands of the celebrated lawyer Chauveau-Lagarde;
         3) There may be a Vicomte de Marigny in this story, but not a Marquis;
         4) A "wardrobe valet" named Galland could have received the fan more easily than a so named prosecutor at the Chatelet;
         5) Everyone seems to "go up in rank", including the modest fan. It was, after all, the purpose of the Revolution!
         6) The bâtonnier Etienne Carpentier was a man of honor and of good company :  not only
he donated this fan, but, as we learned when researching,  he "continued service" in the very difficult times of  WWII as an interim successor and namesake when Me Jacques Charpentier, the current Bâtonnier, entered into resistance against the occupier.
Of course, if we could learn something more about this fan... we would be delighted. Do not hesitate to email !!!! (address on Home Page)

... and do not forget the other questions 

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