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MARIA THERESA - Autograph Annotation and Notes 1768 about a letter and portrait to be sent to the King of Naples

  • £550.00

MARIA THERESA of Austria (1717-1780)

Autograph Annotation Signed with initials (“MT”), replying to a letter from an official requesting a reply to the King of Naples’ letter.

1 page folio in French with integral blank leaf, n.p., 9 February 1768.

Together with one Autograph Note with initials (“MT”) in French cut down from a letter, regarding a portrait; and an Autograph Note unsigned in French, again cut down, regarding a letter and portrait for Spain. 

Replying to a letter informing her that a report had been sent to the effect that the letter from the King of Naples was still awaiting an answer, Maria Theresa replied in the margin [trans]: “I have not received a report. I believe I sent you the king’s letter immediately at least 3 weeks ago the letter contained nothing more than to show his joy in confirming the choice of his father for charlotte an honest answer in a few lines would suffice.”

The accompanying notes, both cut down, possibly also annotations to other letters, and both having been laid down for preservation in an album (as well as unfortunately showing glue stains) evidently date from the same period, and are very likely addressed to the same court official.

[Trans]:“here is the portrait for the king of Naples but I do not yet have the letter which must go tonight

here is the letter for Spain and the portrait. But I wish that the one for Naples could wait until tomorrow evening and I want you to send me a letter for the king of Naples.”

Maria Theresa was mother to sixteen children, thirteen of whom survived past their first birthday. Of her eight daughters, two became historically significant in their own right: Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, and Maria Carolina, Queen of Naples, friend of Emma Hamilton and implacable foe of Napoleon.

Maria Carolina was known in the family circle as Charlotte, perhaps a distinction from two previous children named Maria Carolina, both of whom had died in infancy. When another sister, Maria Josepha, died before her marriage to Ferdinand IV, King of Naples and Sicily, could be celebrated, a replacement had to be found in order to secure the diplomatic alliance with Spain, whose king, Charles III, was the father of Ferdinand IV. The replacement was Maria Josepha’s younger sister, Maria Carolina. 

Maria Carolina was married to Ferdinand IV by proxy in April 1768, two months after the first letter. The portrait referred to in the note was no doubt a portrait of the young Archduchess, whom her prospective groom had yet to meet.

The marriage could not be said to have been particularly happy, indeed, Maria Carolina had scant respect for Ferdinand’s intelligence. Maria Carolina proved as intelligent and as strong-willed as her mother Maria Theresa, but unfortunately lacked her mother’s sensitive sense of diplomacy. She proved to be a strong ruler, but in the process she alienated both the nobility and the people of Naples.


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