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‘Égalité’ - Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of Orleans, 1786
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‘Égalité’ - Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of Orleans, 1786

Measurements: Overall: 78cm (30.75in) x 56cm (22in)



Mezzotint by John Raphael Smith (1752-1812) after Sir Joshua Reynolds. Published London,  March 1786.

Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans (1747-1793). At the death of his father, in 1785, he inherited the title of Duke of Orléans and also became the First Prince du sang, a title attributed to the Prince of the Blood closest to the throne after the Sons and Grandsons of France. In 1788 he was entrusted with the command of a French squadron at the indecisive battle of Ushant during the American Revolutionary War but disobeying his admiral allowed his opponents to escape. Despite being a cousin of Louis XVI and one of the wealthiest men in France, he actively supported the French Revolution and encouraged destabilising the monarchy. In 1792, he changed his name to Philippe Égalité. and was a strong advocate for the elimination of the present absolute monarchy in favour of a constitutional monarchy. He voted the death of king Louis XVI; however, was himself guillotined in November 1793 during the Reign of Terror. His son Louis Phillipe became King of the French after the July Revolution of 1830.