Mystery in Saint-Fargeau castle: where's the dead's portrait?

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M. Le Peletier - ©Public domain M. Le Peletier - ©Public domain
Saint-Fargeau castle Castle Homicide Louis-Michel Le Peletier de St-Fargeau Jacques-Louis David French Revolution Mystery

This is your reward

In the beginning of the 18th century, the family Le Peletier turned up. Among them, a pretty famous chap… Who? Louis-Michel Le Peletier de Saint-Fargeau, president in the parliament of Paris, deputy of the nobility, elected to the French National Convention. A regicide deputy, yes! He voted Louis XVI’s death… Ah, he was born in an old and important noble family: Louis-Michel, when the French Revolution came, fell the wheel turning, so he became a republican…

But the day after the king’s sentence to death, Louis-Michel was murdered in the Palais-Royal in Paris, by an old king’s bodyguards, who yelled at him: “This is your reward…” Louis-Michel was buried in the castle’s chapel then his body was translated in the Panthéon (Paris).

A gory Le Peletier

A gossip says that a painting from the famous painter Jacques-Louis David was walled up somewhere in the castle, in 1825…

The French writer Jean d’Ormesson (descendant of the family Le Peletier de St-Fargeau) wrote a lot about it… why? Because of the mystery of this strange painting who represented… Louis-Michel Le Peletier, dead on his bed, with a gory sword above him.

The day after Le Peletier’s death (he was considered like the “first martyr of the Revolution”), they displayed the painting in the National Convention hall. David, after the Revolution, took his painting and hid it in his studio. Napoleon became emperor, and he became his official painter. Then when Empire collapsed, they exiled David in Brussels… always with his painting under his arm!

The shame walled-up

But meanwhile, Le Peletier’s only daughter destroyed every things that echoed to her regicide daddy! She was a proud royalist, so, what a shame… She even disowned her name and took the one of her cousin, Mortefontaine. She bought everything, letters, books, everything concerning her father… to destroy those damning proofs…

But one piece lacked: the painting! David never sold it, but his heirs weren’t sharp customers and sold it. The legend says that Louis-Michel’s daughter didn’t destroy the painting, but walled up somewhere in the castle, during its restoration. But of course, we don’t know where!


And also!