Category Archives: Events

COMING SOON: The Elbeuf Letters in Translation

A quick update on the progress of one significant part of this project: making translated extracts from the duchess’s Letters publicly available (and for free) via a fully searchable database. All translation work is now complete, and the Team are now working with the University of Exeter’s Digital Humanities Lab on the final stages of the database and website design.

The public launch date is mid-August 2021, and it will be accessed through the same address as this blog: Subscribe to this blog to get an alert, or simply check back at this address again from the second half of August.

The database, ‘Revolutionary Duchess: The Elbeuf Letters, 1788-1794’, will give unprecedented access to this remarkable source, translated into English for the first time. Features include:

-Extracts from 23 Letters and 8 shorter note entries, written between December 1788 and January 1794 and totaling over 12,000 words

-For the first time in English, access to a unique voice on key events in the French Revolution including: the Fall of the Bastille; the Great Fear; the Flight to Varennes; the fall of the monarchy on 10 August 1792; the September Massacres; and the executions of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

-Detail on the everyday, lived experience of Revolution, both in Paris and in the countryside, including: popular violence; Revolutionary political culture; emigration; conspiracy fears; and the infrastructure and impact of the Terror.

-The database is fully searchable, with embedded links in each extract giving the reader information about who and what the duchess is writing about

-The duchess’s writing can be accessed chronologically or browsed by theme. The material is also listed via the people, places and organisations mentioned in each extract.

Please keep an eye out for the launch announcement in mid-August 2021. We are looking forward to sharing this exciting new resource with you all!

UPCOMING EVENT: Roundtable at the IHR, Monday 2 November 2020

The project team will be participating in a roundtable discussion about the duchess on Monday 2 November at 5.30-7.00pm UK time. The event is titled ‘The French Revolutionary Terror from the Margins: The Letters of the duchesse d’Elbeuf‘. This is part of the online Modern French History seminar series at the Institute of Historical Research (University of London).

We will be joined by Dr Richard Taws (UCL), co-curator of an ongoing exhibition at UCL Art Gallery which featured the duchess, ‘Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints, 1792-4’ (see the blog post from 18 February 2020 for further details on this). The session will be chaired by Dr Sanja Perovic (KCL).

To attend the roundtable you must book here via the IHR website. Members can also currently book an appointment to visit the exhibition during UCL Wednesdays. Please register your interest at UCL Art Museum’s booking site. Despite the notice non-UCL visitors are permitted. Contact the Curator Andrea Fredericksen at with any queries.

Please email the co-convenors if you have any issues. The full programme for this first semester of the Modern French History seminar is available here.

Virtual Private View: 4th June 2020, 3pm

While the covid-19 restrictions continue, UCL Art Museum are running a free virtual private view of their current exhibition on French Revolutionary prints (which features the duchess, as explained in earlier posts to this blog below). This private view is accessible by anyone, though you do need to register beforehand. The details can be found HERE.

Join Dr Nina Pearlman (UCL Art Museum), Dr Richard Taws (UCL Art History), and the playwright and UCL Creative Fellow Nicola Baldwin for a virtual tour of the exhibition Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints, 1792-1794. There will also be a short reading from a specially commissioned play, The Duchess, giving voice to Innocente-Catherine de Rougé d’Elbeuf herself. Further details about the play can be found on twitter: @Duchessrevolt.

New London exhibition opens, featuring the Duchess

Photo © Hydar Dewachi

MARCH UPDATE: This Exhibition is currently closed due to the UK-wide restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


A new exhibition, ‘Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints,1792-4‘, opened its doors to the public on 27 January 2020. It will run through to 12 June 2020 at the UCL Art Museum in central London. The exhibition draws on the Art Museum’s very rich collection of prints from the Revolutionary decade. It explores contemporary reactions to the Terror (1793-94) through a sampling of a wide range of visual and material sources: paper money, passports, maps and placards as well as a range of prints, including striking images of the murdered politician Jean-Paul Marat. The latter provided the source for the exhibition poster, which you can see in the photograph above (taken on the opening night) along with, from left to right: Dr Nina Pearlman (Head of UCL Art Collections), Dr Andrea Fredericksen (Curator, UCL Art Museum), and the three curators of this exhibition, Dr Richard Taws (UCL), Professor David Bindman (UCL) and Professor Colin Jones (QMUL).

After close discussion between the Elbeuf project and UCL (and with Colin Jones acting as a co-curator), a series of translated quotations from the Duchess of Elbeuf’s Letters were selected to run through the exhibition as an additional exhibit and to offer a thread of contemporary commentary. This is the first time any selection of her writing has been presented to the general public since she put pen to paper over two hundred years ago. Her astringent and frankly counter-revolutionary testimony is all the more intriguing in that for the period of the Terror she lived at the heart of Paris close to the Tuileries palace where the country’s elected representatives met daily in the National Convention.

The exhibition is free. It is open Tuesday-Friday weekly from 1.00 5.00 p.m.

MARCH UPDATE: This Exhibition is currently closed due to the UK-wide restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.