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King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette, escorted by soldiers, arrive at a masked ball held to celebrate the birth of their son, the Dauphin. Etching by Jean-Michel Moreau the younger, 1782, after P.L. Moreau-Desproux.

  • Moreau-Desproux, Pierre Louis, 1727 or 1736-1793.
  • Pictures

About this work


An event on 23 January 1782 celebrating the birth of Louis Joseph, Dauphin of France, on 22 October 1781. The King and Queen, escorted by soldiers, enter a room attended by people in fancy dress and opening on to another room where a masked ball is taking place. In the foreground are actors playing characters in the commedia dell'arte. Right background, musicians

"The birth of the Dauphin (heir to the French throne) to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette of France in October 1781 was a significant event, and the king spared no expense in the planning of a feast, masked ball, and fireworks in the city of Paris to honor his new son. To accommodate the banquet and ball, the civic organizers spent two months building a temporary structure adjacent to the Hôtel de Ville. The temporary gallery, shown as the setting of this print, was painted with simulated colored marbles, lapis, and gold, while crystal chandeliers were hung with flowers. On the day of the feast, the queen rode throughout the city, and then arrived at the banquet hall to meet the king, where she dined with seventy-eight guests. Accounts relate, however, that few people actually received their food because the waiters could not get to the table. The ball, which took place two days later, was intended for invited guests, but, according to contemporary accounts, a throng of uninvited commoners inundated the hall, heading straight to the buffets. The king and queen made an unexpected appearance (the scene shown here), causing further uproar"--website of RISD Museum, Rhode Island, accessed January 2020


[Paris] : [publisher not identified], 1782.

Physical description

1 print : etching, with engraving ; platemark 52.6 x 39.9 cm


Le bal masqué. Fêtes données au Roi et à la Reine, par la Ville de Paris le 23 Janvier 1782 à l'occasion de la naissance de Monseigneur le Dauphin. Inventé par P. L. Moreau de l'Ordre du Roi, architecte de sa Majesté, m.tre général des bâtimens de la ville en 1782. Dessiné d'après nature et gravé par J.M. Moreau le je. dessin.r et grav.r du Cab. du Roi, de son acad. R.le. de peint. et sculp. et de celle des scien. et arts de Rouen. auli. de sa Mté. le Roi de Prusse &c.


[Edition bearing blind stamp, bottom centre of sheet: "Chalcographie du Louvre. Musées nationaux"].


Wellcome Library no. 3223749i



  • French

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