They say that for seven years Louis XIV was seated on a silver throne of some impressive dimensions, and that in 1689, during the War of the League of Augsburg, he melted it down to pay his troupes. A beautiful story, so beautiful, it deserves a closer look.
While looking closer, we discover that the pictorial representations of the throne are inconsistent and rather qualify as the products of painters’ imagination. Checking the written sources is equally frustrating, for there the reference is made to a “kind of a throne,” or a platform, upon which Louis XIV is known to stand surrounded by his children during the reception of the ambassadorial processions, that is when receiving people from such distant and exotic countries as Siam.
So, if in the court records the references to the throne are rare, and its role in the court etiquette is nil, what is its function? Patience. We have to be patient. Patient as a boa constrictor. Patient as the throne. For seven long years the King and his throne were waiting, they were patiently waiting for this moment, and then with one stroke, with a pantomime gesture the silver throne came alive: it was sent to the foundry — the King melted his throne down, melted his throne down to pay for the war.