|Auguste de Morny was the son of Queen Hortense by the Comte de Flahaut, and therefore the illegitimate half-brother of Napoléon III. An important figure of the Second Empire, he gave unfailingly sound advice to the Emperor, who made him first a count and then a duke. A speculator and a man of pleasure, his salon was usually full of financial sharks and ‘actresses’. However, he ran the Corps Législatif brilliantly, preparing the way for a constitutional régime.
Both patronising and affectionate, he at times all but dominated his half-brother, who was a little frightened of him. Always sensitive about their relationship, the Emperor was horrified to learn that de Morny had hung a portrait of their mother in his drawing-room. Early in 1853 he sent Eugénie to ask him to remove it. ‘The less you boast about your parentage, the more you’ll be treated as a brother,’ she advised him, and they remained friends for the rest of his life.
The one statesman who might have ensured the long-term survival of the Second Empire, his death (from an overdose of aphrodisiac pills, it was unkindly rumoured) was a great loss to the Emperor. ‘He had it in him, if he had been honest, to have become a very great man,’ was the verdict of Lord Cowley, the British ambassador.
condition: The tones of the print are a little limited and murky in places.
price: not for sale
|Back to list...