In pictures: treasures of French royal family to be auctioned off in Paris
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Some 200 artefacts belonging to the descendants of France’s defunct royal family are going under the hammer at Sotheby's Paris on September 29. FRANCE 24 visited the exhibition three days before the auction.
This rare display of French regal paraphernalia can be seen at Sotheby’s showroom in Paris, only a stone’s throw away from the Elysée palace. The lots - paintings, furniture, mementoes, watercolours, mementoes, dinner sets - give a glimpse into the life of the dynasty that reigned over France for nearly a thousand years.
The exhibition also includes three items that have been designated “national treasures” by the French Ministry of Culture to prevent them from leaving the country.
A 17th-century portrait of King Louis XIII and a portrait of the Duchesse d'Orléans by celebrated French painter Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun were pre-empted by the Banque de France, according to Le Figaro newspaper.
“We are surprised that this sale is taking place. Those items had initially been given to a foundation for safekeeping because they are part of France’s history. It would be a pity to see an artefact like the Order of the Saint-Esprit necklace going we don’t know where”, François, a 40 year-old manager, told FRANCE 24.
The Sotheby’s auction is the latest chapter in a dispute that broke out in 1999 following the death of the Comte de Paris. The late Henri d’Orléans (1908 – 1999) disinherited some of his five children and gave his artefacts to the Fondation Saint-Louis. His descendants recovered the art works only in September 2013, after a ruling by the district court of Paris.