Category Archives: 18th Century

Film Review: A Royal Affair

Film producers, as a species, are notoriously risk averse creatures, which is why it's always a special joy when a film that doesn't have dollar signs written all over it slips through the net. This is just such a film, based as it is on one of those pieces of history that is bafflingly, criminally […]

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How the Revolution exposed the dark side of the art of Johann Zoffany

A few weekends ago I went to the Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition (sadly now closed) on 18th century painter Johann Zoffany (1733-1810). Zoffany is largely known for his ‘conversation pieces’, intimate family portraits created for his noble and royal patrons, with his subjects engaged in lively, charming interaction with each other. This sort of […]

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Théroigne de Méricourt: ‘The fatal beauty of the revolution’. Part Two.

When we left Théroigne de Méricourt at the end of part one, she was beginning to sense a new energy in the streets of Paris in the spring of 1789. Like so much of social and political life at the time, this energy seemed to coalesce and find its fullest expression at the heady Palais Royal, where Théroigne […]

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Théroigne de Méricourt: ‘The fatal beauty of the revolution’. Part One.

If the Austrian Emperor’s interrogator, François de Blanc, hadn’t already heard so much about the revolutionary prisoner, Théroigne de Méricourt, it’s unlikely a man like him would have believed much of the story she spun him. Stripped of the myth and legend that already surrounded the key events of her life, even the version of […]

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Marie Antoinette on Trial: Your Cut-Out-and-Keep Guide to Reading the Trial, Part 4

In the last part of the guide to Marie Antoinette’s trial, I looked at the way she dealt with the completely unexpected and totally secret interrogation which was sprung upon her two nights before the trial proper was to begin. The challenge that faced her on the morning of 14th October was very different. This […]

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