The Jailor and His Prisoner or the Taking of the Bastille


Marquis Delaunay was born and raised in prison, his father running the Bastille, so he could truly call that place home; he could also call himself a hereditary governor of the fortress; for, like his father before him, Delaunay headed its small garrison. On 14 July 1789 Marquis de Pellepore, a famous libellist (1) and a former prisoner, came to the Bastille, not to storm it, but rather to defend his former jailor from the revolutionary crowds. Apparently the relationship between Delaunay and Pellepore was a cordial one, the former providing his prisoner with ink and paper, as well as supplementing his guest’s meager diet with fruits and sweets, the latter reciprocating with music lessons to his host’s daughter. Sadly there wasn’t any room for this quaint little story in the painting of Charles Thévenin, The Arrest of Delaunay. This picture you can see today at Musée Carnavalet.

(1) In 1782-1783, while residing in London, Pellepore wrote a couple of pornographic works, Les Passes-temps de Toinette and Les Petits soupers de l’hôtel de Bouillon. In both of these long narrative poems Marie-Antoinette features as the protagonist; so, from 1784 till 1788 Pellepore was locked up.

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This entry was posted in Libertines, Marie-Antoinette, The French Revolution. Bookmark the permalink.

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