Historical and Commemorative Medals
Collection of Benjamin Weiss

LOUIS XVI: LAST INTERVIEW OF THE KING OF FRANCE
 (Last Farewell to His Family)

KCHLER, Conrad Heinrich: France, 1793, Bronze, 48 mm
Obv: Busts of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette    LUD. XVI D:G. FR. ET NAV. REX. MAR. ANT. AUSTR. REG.  (Louis XVI, by the Grace of God, King of France and Navarre, Queen Marie Antoinette of Austria).     Below: FATI INIQUI.  (Of Unfair Fate)
Rev: Louis saying his farewell to his family. His children, Louis Charles, Duke of Normandy (afterward the Dauphin) and Marie Therese Charlotte, Duchess of Angouleme, kneel before him, pulling at his coat. His hat is thrown heedlessly to the floor. His wife, Marie Antoinette, rests her head on his breast. To the right, Madame Elizabeth sobs into her handkerchief. To the left, the guillotine awaits the morrow. On a scroll above, a quotation from the lamentations of Jeremiah (Ch. 1, v. 12)    AN EST DOLOR PAR DOLORI NOSTRO (See If There Be Any Sorrow Like Unto My Sorrow).
Exergue:  NATUS XXIII AUG. MDCCLIV. SUCC. X MAY MDCCLXXIV DECOLL. XXI JAN. MDCCXCIII.
Signed:  C.H.K. / C.H. KUCHLER. FEC.
Housed in metal presentation shell of issue.
Ref:  Hennin 312/463;  Pollard 1;  Jones (French Revolution) 11/16;  Weiss BW170

Louis XVI (1754-1793) King of France (1774-1792) was the son of Louis, dauphin of France, and grandson and successor of Louis XV. In 1770 he married Marie Antoinette, daughter of Emperor Francis I and Empress Maria Theresa. In 1789, during the French revolution, the royal family was moved from Versailles to the Tuileries Palace. Later they were captured and brought back to Paris and imprisoned. Louis was charged with treason and guillotined on January 21, 1793. Having lost his elder son in 1789, Louis left two children: Louis Charles (Louis XVII), and Marie Therese Charlotte, Duchess of Angouleme. The poignancy of the reverse of the king's medal shows Kuchler's artistry at its very best. The medal has been named "The King's farewell" and was intended to exploit the popular revulsion of feeling in England at the execution of the King and Queen of France.

The medal, which is housed in a metal shell, was struck in England by Matthew Boulton at the Soho Mint. Although many medals commemorating these last days of Louis XVI were struck in England, only one was produced in France, but this was probably never distributed.

LINK to eyewitness account of the Execution of Louis XVI (from eyewitnesstohistory.com)

LINK to other medals by Kuchler struck by Matthew Boulton at the Soho Mint (from collection of Bill McKivor)

LINK to the Soho Mint (from The Gentleman's Magazine)

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