Lecture | Richard Taws on the Dauphin and his Doubles

Posted in lectures (to attend) by Editor on January 29, 2014

This evening’s installment in the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies:

Richard Taws | Proofs of Life: The Dauphin and his Doubles in Nineteenth-Century France
Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies, Keynes Library, London, 29 January 2014

The next event of the spring term for the Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies will feature Richard Taws (UCL) presenting on ‘Proofs of Life: The Dauphin and his Doubles in Nineteenth-Century France’ on Wednesday 29 January 2014 from 6.00 to 8.00pm in the Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD.

This paper will consider the authenticating agency attributed to images of the dauphin Louis-Charles, the son and heir of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, as they circulated globally in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Louis-Charles died at the age of ten in the Temple prison in 1795, yet rumours soon spread that he had been freed in a secret royalist escape plot and continued to live somewhere, most probably in the French colonies or North America. During the course of the nineteenth century the numerous images of Louis-Charles produced before, during and after the French Revolution were invoked regularly as the primary standard of proof against which to judge the many imposters who subsequently came forward from around the world, accompanied by lurid tales of adventure, to announce themselves the ‘lost’ dauphin. The appropriation of eighteenth-century images of Louis-Charles by these pretenders, as well as the paintings, prints and photographs they had made of themselves, were, in a rapidly transforming media ecology, closely connected to competing claims about the utility of different media in the production of the French past.

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