Friday, May 16, 2014

The Chevalier d'Eon

An oddity to say the least: very old man-doll in pretty muslin dress.  A recent addition to the vintage puppet/doll assembly-room that used to be my study. He inevitably reminds me of the notorious Chevalier d'Éon---"a French diplomat, spy and soldier," Wikipedia informs us, "whose first 49 years were spent as a man, and whose last 33 years were spent as a woman. From 1777, d'Éon claimed to be anatomically a woman, and dressed as such. Doctors who examined the body after d'Éon's death discovered that he was anatomically male."  Of great interest to us 18th-c. masquerade fans, drag kings and the like.   See images below for a portrait of him in female dress, as a 'half-man, half-woman,' and fencing in a dress.  I think he must have been charming--a real Enlightenment type.