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Horace de Viel-Castel

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Horace de Viel-Castel

Marc-Roch-Horace de Salviac, Baron de Viel-Castel, known as Horace de Viel-Castel (16 August 1802 Paris –1 October 1864), was an art lover and collector, and director of the Louvre until 1863. A Bonapartist, he staunchly supported Napoleon III. He was an intimate of Princess Mathilde and of Alfred de Musset, the right arm of Nieuwerkerke until his disgrace on 12 March 1863.

His memoires, which covered the time from 1851 until his death in 1864, testify to the society of the Second Empire. Although rich in detail on history, plans, and policy, it is his prickly and malicious style which granted the author a dark posterity after their publication twenty years after his death: he was a misanthrope, and a reactionary. His favorite targets were Leon de Laborde, Prince Napoleon and Victor Hugo. Also notable was his anglophobia.

Quotations

  • "France has never been republican because it is the kingdom of vanity"
  • "The Emperor looks at the world as a chess-board on which he plays his part; it little matters to him whether his adversary is overpowered by a knight or a pawn, as long as he is conquered."

Works

  • Collection des costumes, armes et meubles pour servir à l'histoire de la France, depuis le commencement du Ve siècle jusqu'à nos jours, dédié au roi Charles X, 1827-1835 (Collection of the costumes, weapons and pieces of furniture to be used for French history, from the beginning of the fifth century until our days, dedicated to King Charles X)
  • Des sentiments de justice et d'humanité de l'Angleterre dans la question indienne, published anonymously, 1857. (Of the feelings of justice and humanity of England in the Indian question)
  • Marie-Antoinette et la Révolution française, 1859 (Marie-Antoinette and the French Revolution)
  • Le Pape et Jérusalem, published anonymously, 1861 (The Pope and Jerusalem)
  • Mémoires du comte Horace de Viel-Castel sur le règne de Napoléon III (1851-1864), 1883–1884, published posthumously, 1884 (Memoirs of Count Horace de Viel Castel: A Chronicle of the Principal Events, Political and Social, during the Reign of Napoleon III from 1851 to 1864)

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