🇫🇷 Gobelins tapestry of the famous 1787 Elizabeth Vigée-LeBrun portrait of the French Queen Marie-Antoinette with her children: Princess Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte, 1st Dauphin (Crown Prince) Louis-Joseph-Xavier and on her lap Prince Louis-Charles (the last Dauphin). The tapestry was made in 1899 and gifted by the French Government to the Russian Czarina Alexandra in 1902. The black & white photograph shows it in its original location, the Corner Drawing Room of the Alexander Palace in St Petersburg, Russia. The original Vigée-LeBrun portrait now hangs in the Queen's Grand Couvert or Public Dinning Room in the Queen's State Apartment at the Palace of Versailles, France. Tragically the empty cradle represents the loss of Princess Sophie who died in infancy earlier that same year. The 1st Dauphin died in 1789 on the eve of the French Revolution and the 2nd Dauphin died at the age of 10 during his imprisonment at the end of the French Revolution. Only the Princess Marie-Therese-Charlotte was the only surviving member of that Royal Family given the deaths of her siblings and parents in the Reign of Terror.
“The happiest and most important event for me”: so Marie Antoinette described the birth of her son in a letter to her friend, Princess Charlotte of Hesse-Darmstadt. Such a jubilant reaction was not confined to the baby’s mother. The baptism, according to custom, was performed in the afternoon following the birth. The child was named Louis Joseph for his Bourbon forefathers, and his Habsburg godfather (and Uncle) with the additional names of Xavier and Francois. The king wept throughout the ceremony. Soon, and Madame Campan noted, he was framing his conversation so that the words “my son the Dauphin” could be introduced as frequently as possible.”