Author Topic: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte  (Read 28258 times)

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Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #15 on: September 18, 2005, 01:43:42 AM »
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Mathilde is a very interesting character.  There is a lot of information on her.  She was almost brilliantly intellectual and artistic, as were many in her extended family, but she was also, IMO, cold and calculating. She grew up in a bad situation.  She hated her father for his constant money grubbing and her mother was emotionally and physically distant, with practically no relationship at all with her daughter.  Mathilde's uncle, the King of Wurttemburg, once told Catherine (Mathilde's mother), something to the effect of, "dress her better and show her some devotion."  She was still being dressed as a girl when she was a young woman.  


I had no idea Catherine was such a cold person.  She is always portraited as a loving and loyal wife who didn't abandon her husband after the fall of the French Empire :-/

Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2005, 01:55:05 AM »
From the abcgallery:

Mathilde married in 1841 and separated from her husband in 1846.  As Prince Christopher said, the Demidoff family welcomed the match as it would raise their position in the society and bring them closer to the Romanovs.  

Even though Tsar Nicholas I liked his cousin very much, he was not too happy about her marriage to Anatole (maybe he thought he wasn't good enough).  The court would honor Mathilde and humiliate Anatole at the same time by inviting her but not her husband to receptions.  Mathilde didn't know and attended.  Demidoff was angry and soon returned to unmarried style of life.  

When Mathilde fled her husband with her lover, she took her family's jewels, which were sold to the Demidoffs, as well as Demidoff's diamonds.  

The stolen diamonds would play an important part in the return of the Second Empire.  In November 1848 Mathilde placed Anatole’s diamonds as collateral for a bank loan of FF 500,000 with the proceeds given to her cousin, Louis-Napoleon, in his bid to win the election for the Presidency of France. The Bonapartes were returned to power and Mathilde was elevated to the second most important lady of the Second Empire under Napoleon III.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crazy_wing »

Offline Prince_Christopher

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2005, 08:07:56 AM »
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I had no idea Catherine was such a cold person.  She is always portraited as a loving and loyal wife who didn't abandon her husband after the fall of the French Empire :-/


She is described differently by different people.  I'm really not so sure about her character myself.

Her husband described her as a "noble woman, one of the finest figures of the Imperial epoch."  Although his judgement was clouded by the pensions she received from the Tsar and from the King of Wurttemburg.

From The Bonapartes by David Stacton:

Mathilde had a sharp eye and an even sharper tongue.  One of her recreations was to describe in her journal the minute details of her mother's physical decay, the wrinkling face, the breasts that were beginning to slop down, the increasingly deformed body, and the symptoms of a cardiac condition.  "I knew little of her," said Mathilde after her death, "and she, nothing of me."

Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.
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Offline Prince_Christopher

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2005, 08:15:17 AM »
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Napoleon III on the hand always seemed to get rejected!  He proposed to QV's step niece, Adelheid of Hohenlohe and got rejected too.

Jerome with his daughter Mathilde


From what I've read, Mathilde always kept a soft spot in her heart for Napoleon III.  When the engagement was being spoken about by the adults around them, Louis, who was 13, gave Mathilde a small turquoise and silver ring for her 16th birthday, which she kept for the rest of her life.

She also never cared much for Empress Eugenie, referring to her, in her presence, simply as elle.
Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.
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Offline kmerov

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2005, 09:18:53 AM »
Thanks guys for all your pictures and info.  :)

Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2005, 03:46:38 PM »
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From what I've read, Mathilde always kept a soft spot in her heart for Napoleon III.  When the engagement was being spoken about by the adults around them, Louis, who was 13, gave Mathilde a small turquoise and silver ring for her 16th birthday, which she kept for the rest of her life.

She also never cared much for Empress Eugenie, referring to her, in her presence, simply as elle.


Wait, who is Louis?  You mean Napoleon III?  He is younger than Mathilde?

Offline Prince_Christopher

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #21 on: September 19, 2005, 05:47:14 PM »
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Wait, who is Louis?  You mean Napoleon III?  He is younger than Mathilde?


Oops!  Sorry! :-[

Thanks for pointing out the mistake, Crazy Wing.  I was typing with one hand and holding the book with the other, and reading at the same time.

"Louis" was referring to Napoleon III.  In the book I was reading, he was being referred to as "Louis Napoleon", and I got carried away.

Mathilde was not older than Napoleon III, he was born in 1808 and she in 1820.  In the paragraph I was reading, it also talked about Mathilde's 13-year-old brother, "Plon Plon", and I got the line of thought confused.
Anyone who has a library and a garden wants for nothing.
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Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2005, 02:39:18 PM »
Thank you for clearing up.  I always had the feeling that she was close to NIII's age.

Offline gogm

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2006, 06:20:10 PM »
Liljones started a thread about Eugenie de Montijo. This would be a good time to start one about Mathilde Bonaparte, Countess Demidoff. It was said that Napoleon III considered marrying cousin Mathilde.





Second most well-known portrait of her:


Most well-known portrait of her:


She is striking in this pencil(?) or charcoal(?) rendering:


In 1836:


Photo portrait in grand dress:


A more casual portrait:


Wikipedia has this summary about her:
 
Mathilde Bonaparte, (May 27, 1820 – January 2, 1904), was a daughter of Napoleon's brother Jerome Bonaparte and his second wife Catharina of Württemberg.

Born in Trieste, Italy, Mathilde was raised in Florence and Rome. She married the Russian Prince, Anatole Demidoff di San Donato on November 1, 1840 in Florence. Anatole was raised to the station of Prince by the Grand Duke of Tuscany shortly before the wedding to fulfill the wishes of Mathilde's father and to preserve Mathilde's station as Princess. Anatole's princely title was never recognised in Russia. They had no children.

The marriage between these two strong and prominent personalities was stormy. Prince Demidoff insisted on keeping his mistress, Valentine de St. Aldegonde, that, of course, was fiercely resisted by Mathilde. In the end, Mathilde fled the household for Paris with her new lover and with Anatole's jewellery. The jewellery constituted the dowry that Anatole was forced to bankroll for his father-in-law so formed the property of Anatole. Nonetheless, the terms of the separation announced by the Tribunal in Petersburg forced Anatole to pay annual alimony of 200,000 french francs. Anatole vigorously pursued the return of his property that led Mathilde and her strong circle of literary friends to mount highly personal and unfair counter-attacks using the public media. In the end, Anatole's descendants never recovered Anatole's property since Mathilde's last'-will-and-testament was altered towards the end of her life.

Princess Mathilde lived in a mansion in Paris, France where she was a prominent member of the new aristocracy during and after the Second French Empire as a hostess to men of arts and letters. Referring to her uncle Napoleon I, she once told Marcel Proust that: "If it weren't for him, I'd be selling oranges in the streets of Ajaccio."

Throughout her time in France, she maintained ties with the Imperial court in St. Petersburg however, following the death of Prince Demidoff in 1870, she married the artist and poet, Claudius Marcel Popelin (1825-1892).

She died in Paris in 1904 at the age of 83.

Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2006, 09:20:03 PM »
Mathilde Bonaparte was briefly engaged to Napoleon III.  

The jewels Mathilde Bonaparte took were actually part of her dowry.  Because Plon-Plon was not able to give a handsome dowry, he made Anatole the owner of the jewels.  Mathilde fled with the jewels, which were later used for bank loan to support NIII in winning the French presidency.  

Mathilde disliked Eugenie very much and actually objected NIII's wedding to her, perhaps due to jealousy.  She later also spread lies about Eugenie.  She saw herself superior to Eugenie as she believed Eugenie was a gold digger and superficial.  


« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 05:58:45 AM by Svetabel »

Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2006, 09:29:58 PM »
The man Mathilde fled with was Emilien, Count of Nieuwerkerke, a handsome Dutch.   They became lovers in 1844 and their relationship lasted till 1869 but he was always unfaithful.  He was a "failed sculptor" but was made director of the Louvre and superintendent of museums.  


« Last Edit: October 15, 2010, 05:58:56 AM by Svetabel »

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2006, 10:03:39 PM »
I only recently became interested in her and started collecting information on her. I just bought the pencil/charcoal rendering of her posted in #1 in postcard form as well as an article on her famous salon and am ordering the bio on her.

She really seems like a royal ahead of her time. She reminds me of GDss Elena Pavlova in terms of surrouding herself with a very artistic and cultured circle--not to mention the unhappy marriage.
They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #27 on: May 01, 2006, 10:16:31 PM »
Her homeoutside of Paris was Breteuil. When Louis-Napoleon became president, Mathilde's salon quickly became famous and attracted many artists and writers. Each summer, from 1849 to 1853, she lived at Breteuil, surrounded by her friends. She arranged a boudoir, trimmed with cushions and selected porcelains, where she read the last novels and poems. Under her roof she had installed a workshop, with fabric walls, where paintings and sketches were hung. It is there that she lived with the sculptor, Nieuwerkerke. In evening, she often received visitors: Exelmans, Castellanne, Lucien Murat all came to bring the last news of Paris to her. At the castle of Saint-Cloud, not far from Breteuil, the Louis-Napoleon gave festivals that Mathilde chaired.





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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2006, 10:18:05 PM »
Princess Mathilde





Prince Demidoff

They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Princess Mathilde Bonaparte
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2006, 10:19:17 PM »
Mathilde and her father Jerome



They also serve who only stand and wait--John Milton
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