- Museum number
- Object: The trial of M. D'Eon by a jury of matrons
The Chevalier d'Eon (left), wearing a military hat and the order of St. Louis around neck, stands, partly draped, on a pedestal before a jury of twelve ladies (right) who are to decide upon d'Eon's sex, a matter which has for several weeks deeply engaged "the polite and stock-jobbing world". 1 June 1771
Etching with some engraving
- Production date
Height: 107 millimetres
Width: 169 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- This plate was originally made for the 'Town and Country Magazine', iii. 249 (1 June 1771), but was also used in the 'Hibernian Magazine', i. 263 (July 1771). It is the earliest clear example, in the British Museum's collection, of the Chevalier d'Eon's sex becoming a matter of public interest and speculation.
There seem to have been no discussions of this question before October 1770, when Louis XV wrote to one of his generals noting that M. du Châtelet, the new French ambassador to Britain, believed that d'Eon was a woman. This was the first of an increasing number of rumours that grew in polite society throughout late 1770 and early 1771 and then, inevitably, made it into the press. By the first days of March 1771, bets had started to be placed on whether d'Eon was a man or a woman. By 15 March £800 had changed hands on the issue and, by the second week in May, the London Evening Post reported that a total of £60,000 had been wagered. For growing suspicions that the Chevalier himself was a party to the betting, and benefitting financially from it, see Y,4.568.
This print is one of several different satirical compositions published during June and July 1771 at the height of the excitement over the issue. For other impressions of this print, see 1868,0808.9959 and 1851,0308.221. For examples of other compositions on a similar theme from the same date, see prints with registration numbers 1868,0808.4456 to 1868,0808.4460.
- 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