Anne Lucile Laridon-Duplessis was born in Paris in 1771 to a rich financier Étienne-Claude Duplessis-Laridon and his wife Anne-Françoise-Marie Boisdeveix. She had one elder sister, Adèle, who was widowed at an early age and then returned home to live with her parents. Lucile is known to us through her copious and highly romantic journals and was clearly an imaginative, highly strung rather mutinous girl who delighted in throwing her family into uproar by falling in love with one of her mother's admirers (and possible lover) Camille Desmoulins, a journalist who was ten years her senior and had rather a grim reputation for general philandering. Despite this he was passionately in love with Lucile and would remain devoted to her throughout their short life together.
Camille and Robespierre were best friends at the Lycée Louis le Grand and Robespierre would later be a witness at Camille's wedding and godfather to his son, Horace. A scene from La Révolution Française.
After Camille's infamous involvement in the fall of the Bastille, Lucile's father eventually gave his consent to their marriage and they were duly married on 24 December 1790 at Saint Sulpice in Paris with the groom's best friend Robespierre as a witness. Lucile wore a pink silk dress and was much admired. The young couple set up home in the Cordeliers district of Paris and lived quite lavishly thanks to Lucile's dowry. Their son, Horace was born on 6 June 1792 and had Robespierre as his godfather.
Lucile and Camille Desmoulins.
In time Camille began to turn against the Terror as championed by Robespierre and his own cousins, Saint-Just and Fouquier-Tinville and sided with Danton, who dedicated himself to bringing more moderacy to France. This was not a popular move with the Committee of Public Safety and on 4 April 1794, after an astonishing and dramatic trial, Danton, Desmoulins and their followers were guillotined. They were ultimately condemned by a false report that Lucile had been inciting her English and royalist friends to overthrow the revolution. Camille died knowing that his beloved wife was certain to be executed as well.
Lucile and Camille's apartment on the Place Odéon in Paris.
Danton at his execution from La Revolution Française
Lucile was duly arrested and executed on 13 April 1794, showing enormous courage at her execution, telling Fouquier-Tinville that she was 'less to be pitied than' him. Her last letter, to her mother (who now had the care of the orphaned two year old Horace), says: "Good night, dearest mother. A tear falls from my eye for you. I will go to sleep in the tranquillity of innocence. Lucile."
Lucile, Camille and Horace Desmoulins from the studio of JJ David.
Camille Desmoulins sketched while imprisoned in the Palais du Luxembourg.
The Place Odéon.
Robespierre, old school friend of Camille who acted as witness at the Desmoulins' wedding and then was godfather to their son Horace.
Fabre d'Eglantine, who died with Camille and Danton.
Danton by Schilly, 1793.
Mirabeau, early friend and sponsor of Camille.
Execution scene in the Place de la Concorde from La Révolution Française.
Sébastienne-Louise Gély, Madame Danton with Danton's eldest son, Antoine by Boilly.
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