Vellum manuscript DS in French, signed “Marie-Antoinette,” one page, 15.25 x 10.5, November 20, 1789. A debt acknowledgment related to expenses from six years prior, in part (translated): “Marc Antoine Francois Marie de la Tour, administrator of the Royal Treasury, in charge of our household expenditures has paid for the year 1783 the amount of 32,000 livres to our lady-in-waiting for our tissues and clothes.” Marie Antoinette certifies below with three autograph lines: “Receipt of the amount of thirty two thousand livres given to us in our hands during the year seventeen eighty three. Marie-Antoinette.” Countersigned by her secretary Beaugeard. A scarce paper seal depicting Marie Antoinette’s coat of arms is present to the lower left. Affixed to a slightly larger sheet and in very good to fine condition, with rippling and toning (primarily to the edges) and a tear to the left blank area.
This document dates to just weeks after Marie Antoinette and the royal family were forced to return to Paris from Versailles during the French Revolution, and placed under house arrest at Tuileries Palace. Most notably, the 32,000 livres paid for “tissues and clothes”—equivalent to about $300,000—reinforces the legend of the queen’s extravagant spending. Documents boasting multiple lines of Marie Antoinette's handwriting are quite scarce, and her autograph is always desirable.
Terms and abbreviations used in our descriptions.