On October 16, 1793, the 38-year-old Marie-Antoinette met her end. An Austrian archduchess who became queen of France while still a teenager, she was subjected to a two-day mock trial and found guilty of conspiring with foreign powers against the French Republic.
It was widely believed that the queen had brought about the kingdom’s financial ruin in a time of economic crisis. Exhibit A: the Petit Trianon, a private country estate on the grounds of Versailles filled with glittering furniture and other decorative objets, which was cited as an example of her extravagance and debauchery.
“It is possible that the Petit Trianon cost immense sums,” she admitted to the Tribunal, “perhaps more than I would have wished. Little by little we were led into undertaking more expenses.”
More about these objects on The Getty Iris: Three Reasons to Love Marie-Antoinette
Queen Marie-Antoinette, about 1789, Pierre-Michel Alix after Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun. Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington
Side Chair, 1780–81, Jacques Gondoin, designer; frames by François-Toussaint Foliot; carved by Toussaint Foliot. The J. Paul Getty Museum
Wall Light, 1781, model by Claude-Jean Pitoin, designer; casting and chasing attributed to Louis-Gabriel Feloix, metalworker. The J. Paul Getty Museum
Chair, about 1787, frame by Georges Jacob; carved by Pierre-Claude Triquet and Jean-Baptiste-Simon Rode. The J. Paul Getty Museum