Friday, 23 February 2007

The Bookplate of Prince TALLEYRAND

Son of Charles de Talleyrand-Périgord, count of Talleyrand (1734-1788) and Alexandrine de Damas Victoire Eléonore de Damas (1728 - ?).
His great grandmother Marie Françoise de Rochechouart (1686-1771) princess of Chalais, dau of Louis de Rochechouart, 3rd duke of Mortemart married Michel Chamillart (1689-1716) son of the Minister of Louis XIV. His uncle, the archbishop of Reims Alexandre Angélique de Talleyrand-Périgord, later archbishop and cardinal of Paris protected him.

Ordained priest in 1779, nine years later he was appointed by Louis XVI Bishop of Autun and later elected deputy of the clergy to the States General. Having become strongly involved in the revolutionary activities of the National Assembly he resigned as bishop of Autun on January 13, 1791. During the Reign of Terror, the National Convention ordered his arrest but Talleyrand had wisely already left for England and then to the United States remaining in exile till 1796.
For two years (1797-99) during the Directory under the powerful Barras and the protection of Mme. de Staël Talleyrand was Minister of Foreign Affairs. He then played a major role on the rise of General Bonaparte through the coup d'état of 18 Brumaire which led to the fall of Barras and of the Directory and the establishment of the Consulate with Bonaparte as First Consul. The latter appointed Talleyrand as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In 1803, Talleyrand bought the château of Valençay.
The Royalist plots against Napoleon continued and Talleyrand convinced the First Consul on the necessity of arresting the Duke of Enghien, then in Baden, and of his execution. After a mock trial in Paris, the Duke of Enghien was executed at Vincennes.
On the advent of the Empire Talleyrand was appointed Grand Chamberlain in 1804 and two years later was made Prince of Benevento. Plotting against the Emperor after Erfurt Talleyrand fell in disgrace with Napoleon in January 1809.
After the Restoration he served Louis XVIII and ended up as Ambassador to England.

Apparently, he used 4 different bookplates, the one shown being the largest and was used for the Library at the Château de Valençay (see, on the subject M. Benoit Junod’s notes at

Emmanuel de Waresquiel, Talleyrand ou le miroir trompeur, Somogy, 2005
Emmanuel de Waresquiel, Talleyrand, le prince immobile, Fayard, 2003
Jean-Pierre Friedman, Moi, Charles-Maurice Talleyrand, Traboules, 2003
Guglielmo Ferrero, Talleyrand au congrès de Vienne, Fallois, 1996
Jean Orieux, Talleyrand, Flammarion 1998
David Lawday, Napoleon's Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand, London, Jonathan Cape, 2006.

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