Journal Article

‘Elle pensait comme un homme et sentait comme une femme’

Bonnie Effros

in Journal of the History of Collections

Volume 24, issue 1, pages 25-43
Published in print March 2012 | ISSN: 0954-6650
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1477-8564 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhc/fhq044
‘Elle pensait comme un homme et sentait comme une femme’

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This essay examines the contributions of Mme Hortense Lacroix Cornu to national archaeological projects in France during the reign of Napoleon III (Emperor 1852-1870). Cornu, whose mother had been a lady-in-waiting to Queen Hortense, knew Louis-Napoleon from early childhood. During his reign, Napoleon III respected Cornu for her loyalty and scholarship, and they shared mutual interests in history and archaeology. He followed many of her recommendations at court: at her prodding, he appointed Alfred Maury, Léon Renier, Victor Duruy, and Ernest Renan to his administration. Although her support for archaeological undertakings has largely been overlooked due to the unofficial capacity in which she operated, Cornu played a central role in the purchase of the Campana Collection (1861), the foundation of the shortlived Musée Napoléon III (1862), and the creation of the Musée de Saint-Germain (1862). While Napoleon III had long supported Gallo-Roman archaeology, Cornu's timely interventions ensured the allocation of sufficient resources to these institutions.

Journal Article.  12332 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History

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