ANONYMOUS (France) Portrait of Talleyrand (1754-1838) ca. 1860 [R/V] - x +

CN: PHOT1860tall

MT: albumen print on paper mounted on card (8x5 / C:10x6)

TX: inscribed with fountain pen at lower center of margin in French <Talleyrand>, inscribed with pencil at rear upper left <Talleyrand>

PR: Maison Alphonse Giroux, Paris

DN: Mr. Megakles Rogakos - 2009

CM: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, 1 st Sovereign Prince of Beneventum (2 February 1754 - 17 May 1838), the Prince of Diplomats, was a French diplomat. He worked successfully from the regime of Louis XVI, through the French Revolution and then under Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe. Known since the turn of the 19th century simply by the name Talleyrand, he is widely regarded as one of the most versatile and influential diplomats in European history. § Talleyrand had a reputation as a voluptuary and a womaniser. He left no legitimate children, though he is believed to have fathered illegitimate children. Four possible children of his have been identified: Charles Joseph, comte de Flahaut, generally accepted to be an illegitimate son of Talleyrand; the painter Eugène Delacroix, once rumored to be Talleyrand's son, though this is doubted by historians who have examined the issue (for example, Leon Noel); the "Mysterious Charlotte", possibly his daughter by his future wife, Catherine Worlée Grand; and Pauline, ostensibly the daughter of the Duc and Duchess Dino. Of these four, only the first is given credence by historians. Aristocratic women were a key component of Talleyrand's political tactics, both for their influence and their ability to cross borders unhindered. His presumed lover Germaine de Staël was a major influence on him, and he on her. Though their personal philosophies were most different, (she, a romantic; he, very much a baroque sensibility), she assisted him greatly, most notably by lobbying Barras to permit Talleyrand to return to France from his American exile, and then to have him made foreign minister. He lived with Catherine Worlée, born in India and married there to Charles Grand. She had traveled about before settling in Paris, as a notorious courtesan in the 1780s, for several years before she divorced Grand and married Talleyrand in 1802. Talleyrand, largely indifferent, tried to prevent the marriage, but after repeated postponements, was obliged by Napoleon to carry it out to preserve his political career. Rumors about her stupidity, though unfounded, continue to circulate to this day. Talleyrand's venality was celebrated; in the tradition of the ancien régime, he expected to be paid for the state duties he performed—whether these can properly be called "bribes" is open to debate. For example, during the German Mediatisation, the consolidation of the small German states, a number of German rulers and elites paid him to save their possessions or enlarge their territories. Less successfully, he solicited payments from the United States government to open negotiations, precipitating a diplomatic disaster (the "XYZ Affair"). The difference between his diplomatic success in Europe and failure with the United States illustrates his capacities and limitations - his manners, behavior, and tactics made sense in the context of the Old World, but were perceived as antiquated and corrupt by the more idealistic Americans. After Napoleon's defeat, he ceased using his imperial title "Prince of Benevento", referring to himself henceforth as the "Prince de Talleyrand", in the same manner as his estranged wife [ Bernard, p.266, 368 fn ]. § Talleyrand was a great conversationalist, gourmet, and wine connoisseur. From 1801 to 1804, he owned Château Haut-Brion in Bordeaux. He employed the renowned French chef Carême, one of the first celebrity chefs known as the "chef of kings and king of chefs." His Paris residence on the Place de la Concorde, acquired in 1812 and sold to James Mayer de Rothschild in 1838, is now owned by the Embassy of the United States. Near the end of his life, Talleyrand became interested in Catholicism again while teaching his young granddaughter simple prayers. The Abbé Félix Dupanloup came to Talleyrand in his last hours, and according to his account Talleyrand made confession and received extreme unction. When the abbé tried to anoint Talleyrand's palms, as prescribed by the rite, he turned his hands over to make the priest anoint him on the back of the hands, since he was a bishop. He also signed, in the abbé's presence, a solemn declaration in which he openly disavowed "the great errors which […] had troubled and afflicted the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, and in which he himself had had the misfortune to fall." Many, however, have doubted the sincerity of the conversion given Talleyrand's history. He died on 17 May 1838 and was buried at his Château de Valençay. Today, when speaking of the art of diplomacy, the phrase "he is a Talleyrand" is used to denote a statesman of great resource and skill [Gérard Robichaud, Papa Martel, University of Maine Press, 2003, p.125 / Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), H.M. Stationery Off., 1964, p.1391].

[Megakles Rogakos 12/2009]