Mirror with Textile Fragment

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c. 1850

This documented souvenir highlights a major piece of world history.  The Ridgelys extended stay in Paris in the fall and winter of 1847-1848 coincided with one of the most tumultuous periods of the 19th century.  In 1848, political uprisings swept the Continent, and in France the reign of King Louis Philippe was brought down amid rioting during the February Revolution. 

Teenaged Charles Ridgely (1830-1872) recorded in his journal: “Thursday, February 24, 1848 - In the morning about 11 o’clock, saw the troops stationed in the place de la Concorde fire repeatedly upon the people a  short time after, news was brought of the king’s having abdicated.  Mr. McHenry and myself entered the palace with the crowd and saw a melancholy scene of plunder and devastation; from thence we went to the Palais Royal, the fine furniture and ornaments of which were collected in different parts of the enclosed square and served for bonfires…” Charles was able to take away small mementos including some wood (later transformed into a mirror frame) and a piece of the livery from the Palace.  His mother Eliza dutifully inscribed for posterity paper tags that are still attached to these objects: “Fragment of Livery picked up at the Tuileries by Charles Ridgely of Hampton when Louis Philippe left in 1848” and “Little mirror made from a fragment picked up in the Palace of the Tuileries on the 24th of Feb. 1848.” 

Wood, glass, metal, cloth. H 12.1, W 10.2, Cloth: L 14.9, W 10 cm
Hampton National Historic Site, HAMP 11681