While this ensemble follows the aristocratic fashion for children – cutaway tailcoat, trousers with a front flap, double-breasted straight waistcoat with lapels – the striped cotton fabric used is very simple. The explanation may lie in the modest living conditions of the Royal Family at the Tuileries, and later when they were incarcerated in the Temple. Made for a child some 1.20 metres tall – aged 7 or 8 – it probably dates from 1792 or the first months of 1793, at the end of the Dauphin's stay at the Tuileries or the beginning of his imprisonment. The proportions of the coat are striking: it measures 30 cm at its widest point, which raises questions as to the real silhouette of the child.
These three garments were preserved by Jean-Baptiste Cléry, Louis XVI's personal valet during his imprisonment in the Temple, and later by Cléry's family, who kept them until 1882. After being sold several times, they definitively became part of France's public collections in 2003.
Notice's author : Pascale Gorguet-Ballesteros