Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Royal memorabilia from the Abbey St Louis-du-Temple Vauhallan

The Abbey of St Louis-du-Temple at Limon in the commune of Vauhallan near Meudon has a special connection with the last days of the French royal family.  The community of Benedictine nuns was founded in 1816 by a prominent member of the exiled royal family, Louise-Adélaïde de Bourbon-Condé, daughter of the prince de Condé, and was originally located in the Temple precinct.  

The modern abbey, which was begun in 1950, contains a small museum of prints, portraits, letters and memorabilia arranged around the foundress's tomb.  Many of them were personal gifts to the congregation during the Restoration from Marie-Thérèse of France, duchess of Angoulême.  

Museum of the Abbey St Louis-du-Temple Vauhallan :
Above:  Relics of Louise-Adélaïde de Bourbon-Condé, foundress of the abbey
Below: Cabinet containing a statue and memorabilia of Marie-Antoinette

Here are some highlights:

Portraits of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette

Two oils by Jean-Baptiste-Francois Battaglini, the first a copy of Danloux's painting of Louis XVI  writing his Testament, now in Versailles, and the second depicting Marie-Antoinette in the Conciergerie.   The two pictures were bought by the duchesse d'Angoulême at the Salons of 1819 and 1822 respectively and presented to the Convent.

Rug created by Marie-Antoinette and Madame Élisabeth 

The work, which was intended for the Throne Room of the Tuileries Palace, was begun in 1791 and probably continued in the Temple. It is described as a tapisserie  but it is stitched on canvas, so in English it would be a needlepoint. 

 The  canvas and wools were furnished by Mademoiselle Dubuquoy-Lalouette, a long-standing royal supplier, who was also able to bring out the worked squares and keep them safe until the Restoration.  I thought at first it was just a little thing; but it isn't - it is absolutely massive.The duchesse d'Angoulême planned to divide the various portions between the chapel at Versailles, the Chapelle Expiatoire,  the Church of St. Geneviève and the nuns of the Temple. Not all the pieces reached their destinations. Apart from this one, there survives a large piece at Versailles which Mlle Dubuquoy assembled and supplied with an embroidered edge:

A small very well-preserved framed fragment was sold by Drouot in December 2008.
Drouot, Sale of 17th December 2008 [Lot 111]

There are various other pieces of needlework by either Marie-Antoinette or the duchesse d'Angoulême, including this chair cover:

 A jug used by Louis XVII in the Temple


Website of the Abbey St-Louis-du-Temple http://www.abbaye-limon-vauhallan.com/

"Eductour" with photos, Office de Tourisme de Savigny sur Orge

Account of a visit to Vauhallan by the Association Louis XVII

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