Sunday, November 21, 2021

King Louis XV: The Jeffrey Epstein of the 18th century? | Parc-aux-Cerfs' Virgins & Sex

14-year-old Marie Antoinette & Louis XV

We first, indirectly, learned about King Louis XV's (open) nympholepsy via Vladimir Nabokov but not Nabokov's Lolita but Nabokov's Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle. Nabokov wrote:

“Of the many ancestors along the wall, she pointed out her favorite, old Prince Vseslav Zemski (1699-1797), friend of Linnaeus and author of Flora Ladorica, who was portrayed in rich oil holding his barely pubescent bride and her blond doll in his satin lap.”

Brian Boyd annotated on Ada Online that the bride being referred to is Princess Sofia Temnosiniy and per Ada’s family tree, Princess Sofia Temnosiniy was approximately 14-years-old when she married 72-one-year-old Prince Zemski. 

François Boucher's Girl Reclining

In addition, the Prince’s son, Peter Zemski, married Mary O’Reilly. Boyd wrote: 

“John Rea [NABOKV-L, 30 November 2004] suggests that Mary O’Reilly may also echo Mary Louise O’Murphy (or Marie-Louise or Louison Morfy or O’Morphy, 1737-1814), who became mistress to Louis XVI of France [...]. She is said both to have been [Giacomo] Casanova’s mistress first, or to have been noticed by him, and to have been at fifteen the model for [François] Boucher’s famous painting, Girl Reclining [...].”

Casanova shared in Histoire de ma vie that when he spied 13-year-old O’Murphy in the nude, he found her so alluring that he commissioned a nude portrait of the nymphet. 

It’s not clear how King Louis XV discovered O’Murphy. One theory he that he saw Casanova's commission and requested to see the original. Another theory is that she was recruited by Madame de Pompadour - the king’s official chief mistress. Reportedly, King Louis XV impregnated O’Murphy, but she had a miscarriage at 15 but gave birth at 16 to the king’s illegitimate child.

And per Nancy Goldstone's AirMail post "The View from Here: It wasn’t all cake and Versailles for Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France…" (September 18, 2021), O’Murphy wasn't the only nymphet King Louis XV procured, because he kept a brothel, Parc-aux-Cerfs, of nymphets. So much so that Goldstone dubbed King Louis XV the possible Jeffrey Epstein of the 18th century:
While we are on the subject of who might actually have been responsible for the abject poverty and unrelenting misery that would eventually explode into the French Revolution (and who has to date gotten off scot-free from any blame for the deplorable conditions under which the general population labored), may I just make a small, quick case for the repellent Louis XV, the Jeffrey Epstein of the 18th century?

For nearly 50 years prior to Marie Antoinette’s arrival, Louis XV reigned over France and, during that time, pursued a corrupt, predatory, entitled, and contemptuous agenda. Government bored Louis. He spent his days hunting and spending lavishly on ostentatious entertainments, luxury goods, and sex. (He conveniently kept a brothel called Parc-aux-Cerfs, which specialized in young women, on the palace grounds.) Aristocratic privilege flourished during his rule, and the gap between the wealthiest 1 percent (who paid no taxes) and everyone else grew.

Geri Walton elaborated on Parc-aux-Cerfs in the post "Parc-aux-Cerfs and Tales of Louis XV’s Harem" where she wrote that, in addition to O’Murphy, Madame de Pompadour procured a bevy of beautiful virgins for the the king:

[...] organized a constant stream of very young beauties to entertain the bored King in his bedroom. The beauties were housed at a small house in Parc-aux-Cerfs purchased in 1755 by the King. This house was later described by some people as a seraglio. The King did not visit the beauties at the little house but rather had them escorted discretely to and from the palace when he requested a rendezvous, and, from all accounts, most people at the time had no idea anything inappropriate was happening.

The bevy of beauties that Madame de Pompadour supplied and supervised were low-class but supposedly virginal women. 

In addition, Goldstone wrote that 60-year-old Louis XV attempted to seduce 14-year-old Marie Antoinette:

When [14-year-old] Marie Antoinette first arrived, Louis XV kept showing up at her private apartment first thing in the morning, angling to get into her bedroom, and often pulled her onto his lap, demanding a kiss, until she figured out how to avoid him.

Incidentally, King Louis XV reminded me of Emperor Augustus whom I wrote about in The Allure of Nymphets due to his passion for deflowering virgins:

Matt Ridley related in the New York Times Notable Book The Red Queen that, Augustus, the first emperor of the Roman Empire from 27 BC to 14 AD, had “a passion for deflowering girls” and according to Roman historian Suetonius, the virgins were procured by Augustus’ wife. 

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