LOUIS XVI: LAST INTERVIEW OF THE KING OF FRANCE
(Last Farewell to His Family)
KüCHLER, 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. Below: FATI INIQUI.
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.
Signed: C.H.K. / C.H. KUCHLER. FEC.
In metal case of issue.
Ref: Hennin 312/463; Pollard 1; Jones (French Revolution) 11/16.
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.