Sir Joshua Reynolds 1723 - 1792 ... attributed to.
Mademoiselle de Sombreuil ...Portrait miniature
A rare miniature of Mademoiselle de Sombreuil.
Signed ..not sure who by.
One of the most haunting and bizarre stories to come down to us from the French Revolution is that of Mademoiselle de Sombreuil, the daughter of the former Governor of the Invalides, Charles François de Virot, Marquis de Sombreuil.
Mademoiselle de Sombreuil was born Jeanne Jacques Marie Anne Françoise de Virot at the château de Leychoisier on the 14th February 1768 and was known within her family as Marie-Maurille. Her life was unremarkable and probably no different to that of any other aristocratic girl of the time until the 16th of August 1792 when her beloved father was imprisoned in the Abbaye along with other members of the nobility who had sided with the royal family during the fall of the Tuileries. Marie-Maurille courageously demanded to share her father’s imprisonment and so was at his side on the 2nd September when a makeshift tribunal and mob arrived at the Abbaye as part of the infamous Prison Massacres.
When the Marquis de Sombreuil was called before the tribunal, his brave daughter went with him and implored their captors and the ‘judges’ to be lenient, reminding them of her father’s many years of faithful service and old age. Finally she informed them that if they wished to harm the Marquis, then they would have to kill her also.
It is at this point that accounts of what happened next vary. The legend goes that the jeering guards, who were seated upon a pile of corpses belonging to those that they had already slaughtered, then filled a glass with the blood of their victims and handed it to Mademoiselle de Sombreuil, telling her that her father would be spared if she drank the ghastly beverage.
A very small portrait miniature