Author Topic: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina  (Read 191796 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #135 on: March 25, 2011, 03:38:55 AM »
Yes, Ferdinand was already old by then, still ugly, and presumably carrying on with his disgusting habits....

On the other hand, aside from the material benefits (and Lucia was already a rich woman anyway, being her father's sole heiress and her hsuband was rich too)  there was nothing much to make her want a union with Ferdinand.  By the way, it was mentioned that Lucia, in her 40s when she married Ferdinand, still retained much of her beauty. I have seen a couple of her younger portraits, and yes, she was very beautiful. IMHO, a lot prettier than Maria Carolina at approximately the same age (she wasn't one of the prettier sisters at any rate).
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #136 on: March 28, 2011, 11:47:54 AM »
Sotheby's has an auction on 14 April called 'Noblesse Oblige' (http://www.sothebys.com/app/ecatalogue/fhtml/index.jsp?event_id=30625#/r=index-fhtml.jsp?event_id=30625|r.main=event.jsp event_id=30625/) in which there is an interesting portrait of Ferdinando gazing soulfully at a bust of Lucia, by Jaques Berger, which very much illustrates his state of delighted infatuation.

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #137 on: March 31, 2011, 11:25:46 AM »


I've seen this portrait by Francesco Liani of Maria Carolina before, but hopefully this shows a bit more detail than the usually pretty small reproductions.  It's interesting that the dressing table behind her shows an ink pot, quill, and letters rather than the more conventional toilet items such as appear in Zoffany's portrait of Queen Charlotte - I don't think Maria Carolina was uninterested in dress, but she certainly wanted her role with more than purely 'womanly' pursuits clearly depicted.  The dress is full court dress with hoops and is fur trimmed, but has no gold or silver embroidery; the only jewellery she is wearing are large pearl earrings with diamond surrounds.  There are no robes of state or royal diadem, and the table has a mirror and stool so is clearly a dressing table rather than a writing desk.  So the portrait seems to deliver a mixed message of formality and informality, neither one thing nor the other.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #138 on: April 01, 2011, 08:57:42 AM »
I need to update a program in my laptop  because I can't view the Sotheby's catalogue above.

I think the portrait shown above captures her personality..... Any idea what year it was done? She had lovely arms!

Maria Carolina's bathroom at Caserta Palace is featured here (at the end )...

http://www.pozzi-ginori.it/storia-2/mc_3.swf
« Last Edit: April 01, 2011, 09:03:29 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #139 on: April 01, 2011, 10:53:36 AM »
Quote
Any idea what year it was done?

I believe it was painted in 1775 - she would have been 22. 

Her bathroom looks gorgeous - very civilized.

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #140 on: April 02, 2011, 05:17:27 AM »
Here is Ferdinando with the bust of Lucia, if you're having difficulties:


Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #141 on: April 13, 2011, 11:30:52 PM »
Oh, thank you so much CountessKate, for the portrait and the info (age) of Maria Carolina's portrait!  You're right, Ferdinand seemed so "enamoured" of Lucia!

===============

Excerpts from a book (Naples in 1799) by Constance Giglioli:
 
"Ferdinand was born to be ruled by others not so much that he had a yielding character as that he hated to be disturbed, hated scenes, difficulties, opposition, mental effort ; and to avoid these things let others govern in his name. If he could have fallen into good hands, there would perhaps have been no great harm ; but in an evil day for him and for Naples he was given to wife, when he was seventeen, Maria Carolina of Austria, daughter of the great Maria Theresa, sister of Marie Antoinette, of Pietro Leopoldo, Grand-Duke of Tuscany, and of the Emperor Joseph II. of Austria, and she lived to be his ruin and that of the Bourbon dynasty at Naples, and the scourge of the kingdom she insisted on governing.

The new queen, still in her teens, was devoured by the ambition to shine among the crowned heads of Europe, as her mother had shone and Catherine II., the famous Empress of Russia. The king, embarrassed by his conscious ignorance, and dazzled and subdued by the brilliant qualities and high spirit of his wife no less than by her violent temper, soon became to her like clay in the hands of the potter, and the queen, " consummate mistress," as Hugh Elliot called her, " in the experienced management of every female wile and snare," now by flatteries and concessions, now by furious scenes and tears, led or drove him whatever way she chose.  

He complained of these things occasionally in his letters to his father, where he gives a ludicrous picture of the part he was forced to play in these domestic scenes. The queen, after some six years, and the birth of two daughters, became at last the mother of a son, and acquired thereby the right, most ardently desired, to a seat in the Council of State ; after which event she considered it superfluous to have any more children. She was destined, however, in the lapse of some five-and-twenty years, to have no less than seventeen a course of things which interfered intolerably with her extreme love of activity and amusement, for which she took her revenge in outbursts of ungovernable rage against the author of her misfortunes.

The queen tacitly encouraged as much as possible all these tastes that kept the king out of public affairs and allowed her to rule in his name. She gradually substituted for the policy of Carlo III. that of the royal family from which she came. The tendency of Carlos III had been towards friendship with the kindred houses of France and Spain and enmity with England. The young queen aimed at withdrawing altogether from the Spanish tutelage, drawing closer to Austria, and looking, as time went on, to the English navy for protection by sea. This personal policy of Maria Carolina led her to disaster, and caused the ultimate ruin of the Bourbons of Naples. The queen never sought to identify herself with the country of her adoption ; and as her sister, Marie Antoinette remained always F Autrichienne at her French Court, so Maria Carolina at Naples was Austrian, nor dreamed of being anything else. All one can see in her is personal interest, and personal passion still stronger than interest. The country merely supplies the instruments or the objects of her private desires and revenges. The kingdom, in the gross, she regards as the " patrimony " of her children, and she intrigues and fights over it with the instincts of a mother-tiger rather than of a queen. She gave much to the poor, and at the same time heaped wealth and presents on swarms of utterly unworthy people spies, informers, favourites, and persons of whom she made use in ignoble and underhand ways, besides ministers and others whom she honoured lavishly in public.

Ferdinand found himself placed in the dilemma of having to choose between offending his father at Madrid or his wife at home, and naturally chose to break with Madrid if only he might hope for peace within his domestic walls. The lelters in which, with many transparent falsehoods and equivocations, he lays these matters before his father are characteristic and very amusing.

It is remarkable how the many descriptions and portraits given of the queen by various contemporary diplomatists and others, English, French, and Italian, correspond, almost down to the use of the same images and phrases, through a long series of years.

It is said, by people who should know, that diaries and letters of the queen, now in the keeping of the royal house of Italy, were withdrawn from the archives, by special request, lest the publication of their scandalous contents should give pain to the reigning house of Austria. Meanwhile, we are not seriously at a loss, for want of these documents, to know what to make of Maria Carolina. The exact extent of her private immorality matters little to us in comparison with her failure and her crimes as a queen.

Gorani, for instance, the Lombard adventurer, seems to  know her very well when he writes thus in his open letter to Ferdinand 1 : " Since, Sire, you have never studied, you have a great idea of the learning of the queen . . . she is an absurd pedant who has read a few books without in the least understanding them, and who has no real knowledge, no talent, no virtue. ... If this woman were nothing else but licentious and pedantic she would be merely contemptible . . . but upon her lover, upon her favourites, she lavishes the blood of your people." The queen, he says, is execrated by all her subjects, "who accuse her, and justly, of all the evils which they suffer." Gorani seems rather to have admired Ferdinand than not in those days, as a man who, however deficient in education, might at least have been open to reason and good influence. It is no wonder, he says indulgently, that Ferdinand should be covered with relics and charms, and that during thunderstorms he should walk about his apartments ringing a little bell taken from the Holy House at Loreto. But that the queen, with all her pretensions to philosophy, should be taken, on and off, with fits of superstitious devotion, he considers as a strong proof of the real inferiority of her understanding."

============

The whole book can be read at:

http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/constance-h-d-giglioli/naples-in-1799-an-account-of-the-revolution-of-1799-and-of-the-rise-and-fall-of-ala/page-2-naples-in-1799-an-account-of-the-revolution-of-1799-and-of-the-rise-and-fall-of-ala.shtml

I have yet to read the whole book to see if the author is fair enough (in the other sections) to Maria Carolina....

What does anyone think?







« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 12:01:21 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #142 on: April 14, 2011, 12:49:56 AM »
Re: Giglioli's book on Naples

The author also criticizes Ferdinand (liar and coward) but not as much as Maria Carolina. I do agree that MC was too fond of "applause" and that her intelligence was greatly overrated. She, more or less,  merely copied her brothers' reforms. She did seem to have intellections pretensions but not much intelligence of her own (sister Mimi had to plot for her re: Tanucci's ouster). I also concur that she also trusted too much foreigners (i.e. Acton), and did not govern very well.  MC claimed she has been thrifty but it seemed that she was extravagant to her favorites as well (Tanucci's annual salary was 10,000 ducats while Acton's was at least 30,000 ducats). To be fair, if she was extravagant to her favourites, she was said to be also generous to the poor.

What is most striking as well is that MC's ambitions cost Naples 22,000,000 ducats in deficit by 1790. That is around 286,000,000 liras or 858,000 sterling pounds (more or less) at that time. What is also ironic is that a great sum of money was spent to build Naples' fleet but the same proved to be useless in defending Naples.

That she could be unpleasant is uncontestable, but I am more interested in how she fared as a ruler rather than her (supposed) affairs and other vices. I also think it's also extremely unrealistic to expect her NOT to be loyal to Austria.

 
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 01:20:52 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #143 on: April 14, 2011, 05:39:46 AM »
The book seems the pretty standard view of 1903.  I'm not convinced by the portrait of either Ferdinando or Maria Carolina as especially heinous rulers - no, they weren't brilliant, but they didn't mismanage any worse than the highly sophisticated economy, France, and the favoritism to 'foreigners' was the standard criticism of the time and could be levelled at any number of rulers.  Naturally the point of view is that of the revolutionaries against the government and Ferdinand as usual gets the let out of being a pathetic coward governed by his virulent wife, and Maria Carolina the standard treatment of ambition, not as clever as she thought she was, etc. etc. 

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #144 on: April 14, 2011, 08:22:26 AM »
Thank you!

No truth then as to the (alleged) explosive/scandalous letters and diaries of Maria Carolina that had to be withdrawn from the royal archives?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2011, 08:24:07 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #145 on: April 14, 2011, 09:41:19 AM »
Quote
No truth then as to the (alleged) explosive/scandalous letters and diaries of Maria Carolina that had to be withdrawn from the royal archives?

Well, proof of "explosive/scandalous letters and diaries" based on "It is said, by people who should know" would hardly stand up in a tabloid newspaper today, let alone a serious historical work!  As evidence, it is utterly meaningless.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #146 on: June 06, 2011, 04:54:09 AM »
Reading (some parts of) the memoirs of Henry Swniburne, I wasn't very surprised about his recollection that Maria Carolina had an unpleasant voice, etc. What surprised me was the fact that Ferdinand, perhaps out of jest or to get back at his wife, actually escorted one of MC's favourites to sit right next to her at a banquet, saying that was his (favourite's) place.  I'm not convinced that Ferdinand (despite what some authors claim) he loved her and they had a strong marriage but this instance is just too much!  It seems to me that he disrespected MC (or at least didn't care to protect her from rumours) and didn't care that the whole world knew!
« Last Edit: June 06, 2011, 05:10:23 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #147 on: June 06, 2011, 08:21:41 AM »
Reading (some parts of) the memoirs of Henry Swniburne, I wasn't very surprised about his recollection that Maria Carolina had an unpleasant voice, etc. What surprised me was the fact that Ferdinand, perhaps out of jest or to get back at his wife, actually escorted one of MC's favourites to sit right next to her at a banquet, saying that was his (favourite's) place.  I'm not convinced that Ferdinand (despite what some authors claim) he loved her and they had a strong marriage but this instance is just too much!  It seems to me that he disrespected MC (or at least didn't care to protect her from rumours) and didn't care that the whole world knew!

It certainly doesn't seem to be consistent with his behaviour over Acton, whom he apparently suspected of being Maria Carolina's lover and threatened to kill together with the Queen.  But as for respect, didn't Ferdinand tell his servants after their wedding night that Maria Carolina "slept like the dead and snored like a pig"?  The relationship undoubtedly improved, but it doesn't seem very likely to have begun on a basis of mutual esteem or affection, and it certainly didn't end that way.

Offline prinzheinelgirl

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 478
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #148 on: June 07, 2011, 05:04:33 AM »
It certainly doesn't seem to be consistent with his behaviour over Acton, whom he apparently suspected of being Maria Carolina's lover and threatened to kill together with the Queen.  But as for respect, didn't Ferdinand tell his servants after their wedding night that Maria Carolina "slept like the dead and snored like a pig"?  The relationship undoubtedly improved, but it doesn't seem very likely to have begun on a basis of mutual esteem or affection, and it certainly didn't end that way.

I don't know CountessKate. It seems to me that Ferdinand was "inconsistent", depending on how it suited him? I don't know much about Ferdinand's "jealousy" over Acton. But in the case that I rleated above,  Swinburne said Ferdinand was complaining loudly of his wife's "jealousies" and said that his life was very hard, saying he couldn't go anywhere he pleased. Then, Maria Carolina's friend (Duchess of San Severo) had a quarrel with her, then had her revenge and told Ferdinand about his wife's (supposed) gallantries.  Which pleased Ferdinand (so tortured about his wife's "jealousies"-- real or imagined) so that he can "torture" MC. So he set about doing that, going as far as escorting Guarini (the favourite) to MC's side at the table, saying that was his place. MC was livid but could not do anything but "swallow" the situation. As soon as she could, MC then had him removed to Turin, where she furnished a house for Guarini. MC went as far as giving a magnificent set of porcelain, originally a present from Joseph to her, plus a fine diamond star and cross.

Swinburne also mentioned that MC's allowance was (only) 50,000 ducats/year so she cannot be very generous. In this case, Maria Amalia's allowance was larger (about 55% more) than MC (plus access/privilege to making second requests from available means, aside from her annual allowance).  Do you know how rich was Naples compared to Parma? It seems to me that Naples was at least 10x bigger than Parma in land area and in population, and their allowances had quite a big variance.    
« Last Edit: June 07, 2011, 05:17:31 AM by prinzheinelgirl »
kindness is the magic elixir of love

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: King Ferdinando I of the Two Sicilies and his wife Maria Carolina
« Reply #149 on: June 07, 2011, 05:24:51 AM »
It certainly sounds like both were rather manipulative in their relationship - it's very interesting to see that Ferdinand was jealous when it suited him to be so.  Perhaps it was his way of trying to assert himself occasionally in the marriage when he felt his wife to be particularly dominant. 

Quote
Swinburne also mentioned that MC's allowance was (only) 50,000 ducats/year so she cannot be very generous. In this case, Maria Amalia's allowance was larger (about 50% more) than MC. Plus access/privilege to making second requests from available means, aside from her annual allowance.

It's difficult to tell what the actual value of the allowances made to the two queens was.  Marie Antoinette never seemed to have enough money however much it was, Maria Carolina seemed to do all right on hers.  Of course both had access to court patronage, which was a huge resource, one which Marie Antoinette squandered on her friends such as the Princesse de Lamballe and the Polignac family who really had no need of it.   While Maria Carolina unquestionably had her political favorites, I don't think she channelled the resources at her disposal into personal favorites in the same way Marie Antoinette did.