Maybe you didn’t know that Louis XVI (1754-1793) is the only King of France ever to be executed, and his death brought to an end more than a thousand years of continuous French monarchy. And now, a piece of bloodstained cloth from the beheading of Louis XVI following the 1789 French Revolution is set to be auctioned from Coutau Begarie auction house, in Paris on April 3.
The 9cm x 13cm cloth comes complete in its own miniature coffin, and will be accompanied by a handwritten note that reads: “The precious blood of Louis XVI, 21 January 1793.”
During his reign from 1774 to 1792 he had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of the French Revolution. He was suspended and arrested as part of the insurrection of 10 August 1792 just one month before the constitutional monarchy was abolished and a republic declared. He was tried by the National Convention, found guilty of high treason, and executed by guillotine on 21 January 1793. The stained cloth claims to come from the time of the execution, catching the blood of the recently beheaded king.
Parisians are said to have clamoured to take a souvenir from the beheading, such as bloodstained cloths and strands of his hair.
Despite some doubts that the blood on the cloth belongs to Louis XVI, it seems that history enthusiasts can hardly wait for the opportunity of bidding for it.