Madame Tallien

Method Steel engraving and stipple
Artist [Anonymous]
Published [c. 1880]
Dimensions Image 163 x 110 mm, Plate 220 x 158 mm, Sheet 378 x 285 mm
Notes A bust-portrait of Therese Tallien in an oval frame, turned slightly to the right but facing forward. She is wearing a dark coat with a scarf tied into a ribbon, and a large feathered hat on top of her short curly hair.

Therese Tallien or (1773-1835) was born in Madrid into a rich, aristocratic family. She was known as a lively and beautiful woman. She was married to the Marquis de Fontenay at only fourteen years old, who took her to Paris, and with whom she had an unhappy and distant marriage. He eventually divorced her when the French Revolution broke out, and left the country with her jewels. Therese was interested in the Revolution, but eventually also made plans to leave for Spain, as being an aristocrat in France was not safe at the time. Unfortunately she was captured before she was able to sale from Bordeaux, and imprisoned. This is when she met Jean Lambert Tallien, a national commissioner, who fell in love with her and was able to get her released. Therese did not agree with many of Tallien's cruel actions as a commissioner, but returned to Paris with him, and worked to get other state prisoners released through his connections. This got her arrested again, and this time she met and quickly befriended Rose de Beauharnaus, who would later be known as Napoleon's wife Josephine. According to Therese, it was a letter she sent to Tallien accusing him of not trying to prevent her upcoming trail, that motivated him to bring Robespierre to his fall. She finally married Tallien shortly after being released, and soon gave birth to a daughter, named Thermidor. The marriage did not last long however, as Therese never loved Tallien, and when he gave an order to shoot all royalist soldiers that were still imprisoned, she decided to throw herself into the life of a fashionable socialite and had several affairs. Therese introduced her friend Josephine to Napoleon, after he had made advances to her first, but he later tried banning his wife from seeing Therese, as she was deemed a bad influence, her having many relationships and several children from different men. The two always remained friends however, and Josephine often would sneak out to visit her. Eventually Therese divorced Tallien and in 1805 she remarried the Duke of Caraman, later Prince of Chimay, with whom she had a happy, peaceful marriage.

Condition: Slight overall time toning. Large margins, short tears to edges of sheet.
Framing unmounted
Price £75.00
Stock ID 46854

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