- Museum number
- Object: Mademoiselle de Beaumont, or the Chevalier D'Eon.
Portrait of Charles Genevieve Louis Auguste Andree Timothee D'Eon de Beaumont (called the Chevalier D'Eon), full-length, facing the viewer, split down the middle between male and female, the female half holding a fan and fashionably dressed with an embroidered dress and his hair powdered and curled, the male half with one hand on his hip and dressed in uniform with a sword hanging at his side, illustration to the London Magazine (1777)
- Production date
Height: 180 millimetres
Width: 112 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Published the month after the Chevalier d'Eon's departure from London for France, this print appeared in 'The London Magazine', vol. xlvi, p. 443 and illustrated an article titled 'Memoirs of Mademoiselle D'Eon de Beaumont' (pp. 443-6). The image sums up the public debate over his sex which had overshadowed his life in London since 1771. Following several years of betting, during which d'Eon had refused to announce his sex, a case was brought to the court of the King's Bench in summer 1777. The Court was asked to rule definitively on whether d'Eon was a man or a woman, for the purposes of settling the many outstanding bets. At the London Guildhall on 2 July 1777, the judge Lord Mansfield ruled that d'Eon was a woman.
This followed on a declaration by Louis XVI in 1776 that d'Eon had been female since birth, an announcement negotiated by the playwright Beaumarchais, who had been sent to London to deal with d'Eon. The female identity, however, does not seem to have been imposed on d'Eon by Beaumarchais: on the contrary, d'Eon himself had claimed to be female when questioned by a representative of the French authorities in 1772 (see 1902,1011.7149).
The print is clearly meant to evoke the Chevalier rather than to be an accurate portrait. It represents a youth (or a pretty girl) rather than the 49-year-old man that d'Eon actually was at this period, and the facial features bear no resemblance to those of d'Eon's printed portraits (see 1888,0716.372 and 1950,0520.86). For a comparable print showing d'Eon as half male and half female, see 1871,0812.4488.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2019 21 Sep-17 Nov Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum, Dorchester, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2019 15 Mar-26 May, Bolton Museum, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2018-2019 14 Dec-3 Mar, National Justice Museum, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
2018 25 Sep– 2 Dec, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Desire, love, identity: exploring LGBTQ histories
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number