Sunday, 3 April 2016

Juliette Bernard Madame Recamier's Lovers

Juliette Bernard
Madame Recamier
French society leader.
Jeanne-Francoise-Julie-Adelaide Bernard
Juliette Recamier
Juliette Bernard Recamier
Jeanne Bernard
La Bellissima Zulieta
Madame Recamier
Receiver of Finance 1784
Daughter of:
Jean Bernard
King's counsellor & a notary
and Marie-Julie Matton.
"The first four years of Mme. Recamier's married life were so uneventful that they leave me nothing to record. . . During these few years of seclusion, her beauty had fully developed; and she had emerged as it were from childhood into all the splendor of youth. A figure, flexible and elegant; a well disposed head; throat and shoulders of admirable form and proportions; beautiful arms, though somewhat small; a little rosy mouth; pearly teeth; black hair that curled naturally; a delicate and regular nose, but bien-francais; an incomparable brilliancy of complexion; a frank, arch face, rendered irresistibly lovely from its expression of goodness; a carriage slightly indicative of both indolence and pride, so that to her might be applied St. Simon's compliment to the Duchess of Burgundy,---'Her step was like that of a goddess on clouds.'---" (Memoirs and Correspondence of Madame Recamier: 7-8)

A beauty hers by inheritance: "The beauty which first won celebrity for Madame Recamier was hers by inheritance.  Her father was a remarkably handsome man, but a person of narrow capacity, who owed his advancement in life solely to the exertions of his more capable wife.  Madame Bernard was a beautiful blonde.  She was lively and spirituelle, coquettish and designing. Through her influence with Calonne, minister under Louis XVI, Monsieur Bernard was made Receveur des Finances. Upon this appointment, in 1784, they came to Paris, leaving their only child, Juliette, then seven years old, at Lyons, in the care of an aunt, though she was soon afterward placed in a convent, where she remained for three years. Monsieur and Madame Bernard's style of living in Paris was both elegant and generous. Their house became the resort of the Lyonnese, and also of literary men,---the latter being especially courted by Madame Bernard.  But, though seemingly given up to a life of gayety and pleasure, she did not neglect her own interests.  Her cleverness was of the Becky-Sharp order.  She knew how to turn the admiration she excited to her own advantage.  Having a faculty for business, she engaged in successful speculations and massed a fortune, which she carried safely through the Reign of Terror.  This is the more remarkable as Monsieur Bernard was a known Royalist.  He and his family and his wife's friends escaped not only death, but also persecution; and Madame Lenormant attributes this rare good-fortune to the agency of the infamous Barrerre. . . ." (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14: 447)

Madame Recamier's personal & family background: "Jeanne Francoise Julie Adelaide Bernard was born in Lyons, on the 4th of December, 1777. Her father, Jean Bernard, was a notary of the city. He was an extremely handsome man, of narrow capacity, and of feeble character. Mme. Bernard (Juliette Matton) was a singularly beautiful blonde, lively and spirituelle, clever and graceful: she had a great faculty for business, engaging in successful speculations, and amassing a fortune, which she carried safely through the Reign of Terror." (Memoirs and Correspondence of Madame Recamier: 1)

Madame Recamier's spouses:  "Monsieur Recamier was forty-four years old when he proposed for the hand of Juliette Bernard.  She accepted him without either reluctance or distrust.  Much sympathy has been lavished upon Madame Recamier on account of this marriage, and her extreme youth is urged as an excuse for this false step of her life. . .  Monsieur Recamier was a tall, vigorous, handsome man, of easy, agreeable manners.  Perfectly polite, he was deficient in dignity, and preferred the society of his inferiors to that of his equals.  He wrote and spoke Spanish with fluency, had some knowledge of Latin, and was fond of quoting Horace and Virgil. . . 'Always ready to give and willing to serve, he was a good companion, and benevolent and gay in his temper.  He carried his optimism to excess, and was always content with everybody and everything. He had fine natural abilities, and the gift of expression, being a good story-teller. . . '" (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14: 448-449)
grand format
Wife of:
French banker
married 1793.
"Jacques Rose Recamier was born in Lyons, in 1751, where his father, Francois Recamier, had  founded a very respectable house in the hat trade, whose most important relations were with Spain. When a very young man, Jacques was the travelling partner; and, as business took him often to Spain, he wrote and spoke the Spanish as fluently as he did his native language. He was also well versed in Latin; and, when I knew him, was still fond of quoting Horace and Virgil. His commercial correspondence was a model. M. Recamier had been a very handsome man; he was fair, with blue eyes, and marked and regular features. In person, he was tall and strongly built. It would be difficult to conceive of a more generous nature than his, one more easily moved, or more volatile. Let a friend need his time, his money, his advice, it was immediately at his service; but let that same friend be taken away by death, he would scarcely give two days to regret. . . Ever ready to give, and willing to serve, he was a good companion, and kindly and gay in temper. He carried his optimism to excess, and was always content with every thing and everybody. He had fine natural abilities, talked and told a story well." (Memoirs and Correspondence of Madame Recamier: 5-6)
Madame Recamier
by Jacques-Louis David, 1800
@ Musee de Louvre, Paris
The life of a beautiful woman:  " . . . It is the life of a beautiful woman,---and so varied and romantic, so fruitful in incident and rich in experience, that it excites curiosity and invites speculation.  It is a life difficult, if not impossible, to understand.  Herein lies its peculiar and engrossing fascination.  It is a curious web to unravel, a riddle to solve, a problem at once stimulating and baffling. Like the history of the times, it is full of puzzling contradictions and striking contrasts. The daughter of a provincial notary, Madame Recamier was the honored associate of princes.  A married woman, she was a wife only in name. A beauty and a belle, she was as much admired by her own as by the other sex. A coquette, she changed passionate lovers into life-long friends.  Accepting the open and exclusive homage of married men, she continued on the best of terms with their wives.  One day the mistress of every luxury that wealth can command,---the next a bankrupt's wife.  One year the reigning 'Queen of Society,'---the next a suspected exile.  Just as fascinating when old and blind as while young and beautiful.  Loss of fortune brought no loss of power,---decline of beauty, no decrease of admiration,  Modelled by artists, flattered by princes, adored by women, eulogized by men of genius, courted by men of letters,---the beloved of the chivalric Augustus of Prussia, and the selfish, dreamy Chateaubriand,---with the high-toned Montmorencys for her friends, and the simple-minded Ballanche for her slave.  Such were some of the triumphs, such some of the contrasts in the life of this remarkable woman." (Atlantic Monthly: A Magazine of Literature, Art and Politics, Volume 14: 446)

Juliette Bernard at 18 was like the goddess of the clouds:  " . . . Her biographer thus describes Madame Recamier at this epoch, when she was eighteen years of age: 'Her beauty had continued to unfold itself during the past few years, and she had passed as it were, from childhood to the splendor of youth.  She was at once graceful and exquisitely modeled, her neck admirable in form and proportion, her mouth small and vermilion, her teeth pearly, her arms charming, albeit somewhat spare, her chestful hair curled naturally, her nose was delicate and regular, especially French; an incomparable brilliancy of color eclipsed all, her physiognomy was at once replete with candor and had yet an expression of shrewdness which smiles of kindness rendered perfectly irresistible.  Her head was well fixed, with something in it at once of indolence and haughtiness.  It was truly of her that might have been said what Saint-Simon wrote of the Duchess de Bourgogne, that her walk was that of a goddess on the clouds.  Such was Madame Recamier at eighteen years of age.'"  (The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Volume 49: 251)

Madame Recamier's personal appearance at eighteen is thus described by her niece:---'A figure flexible and elegant, neck and shoulders admirably formed and proportioned; a well-poised head; a small, rosy mouth, pearly teeth, charming arms, though a little small, and black hair that curled naturally.  A nose delicate and regular, but bien francais, and an incomparable brilliancy of complexion. A countenance full of candor, and sometimes beaming with mischief, which the expression of goodness rendered irresistibly.  There was a shade of indolence and pride in her gestures, and what Saint Simon said of the Duchess of Burgundy is applicable to her: 'Her step was that of a goddess on the clouds.'" (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14: 450)

An eminently beautiful natural queen:  "The truth seems to be that Madame Recamier exercised a great power of the most strictly feminine kind.  There is nothing of the blue-stocking in her, nothing to make any one forget her sex, even for an instant.  She appears to have been eminently beautiful, and yet her beauty could never of itself provide a sufficient explanation for an influence so peculiar as hers, and so enduring.  She was a natural queen, reigning permanently over the hearts and minds of a little court which was composed of some of the very ablest men of her age, and beyond her immediate entourage she had a great fame and prestige generally accounted for by the supposition of an intellectual eminence which did not really exist.  The true explanation seems to be that men were first attracted to her by admiration for her surpassing loveliness, and then kept permanently in subjection by an extraordinary power of sympathy and an extraordinary kindness.  The relation between Madame Recamier and her admirers is one of the most peculiar that have ever been established between the sexes.  On their part, at least on the part of some of them, there existed no doubt a strong element of passion, but it seems to have been kept in the condition of chivalrous homage and devotion by a sort of maternal influence on her part. It is impossible to avoid the question, even in the case of a lady of such perfect delicacy as Madame Recamier, whether so many intimate friendships with the other sex could be compatible with a virtuous life, and it has certainly been very generally believed she was at least the mistress of one celebrated personage, Chateaubriand.

Madame Recamier's guest list at her Paris soirees:  
"To form an idea of the position of Madame Recamier at his period of her life, and of the place which she occupied in French society, we must picture her to ourselves as grouping around her in her youth and beauty not only the dispersed elements of the old aristocracy, but also the new men, whose talents, energy, or military glory had given them rank in the new society that was then growing up.  Thus among the frequenters of her soirees were the restored emigrants---the Duc de Guignes, Adrien and Mathieu de Montmorency, Christian de Lamoignon, M. de Narbonne; and with them Madame de Stael, Camille Jordan, Barriere, Lucien Bonaparte, Eugene Beauharnais, Fouche, Bernadotte, Massena, Moreau, generals of the Revolution; members of the Assembly; literary men---M. de la Harpe, Lemontey, Legouve, Emmanuel Duparty; and all distinguished strangers.((The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Volume 49: 252-253)

Her lovers were:

" . . . Adrien, the younger Montmorency, also admired this clever woman but he was known to 'have an elastic heart.'  But the Montmorencies' admiration for Madame de Stael was totally eclipsed by the devotion of both men to Juliette Recamier.  Both came frequently to her salon and Mathie became her lifelong friend and counselor"  ((Juliette Recamier: 20-21)

"Adrien de Montmorency, Duke of Laval, if not so near and dear a friend, was quite as devoted an admirer of Madame Recamier as his cousin Matthieu. His son also wore her chains, and frequently marred the pleasure of his father's visits by his presence.  In reference to the family's devotion, Adrien wrote to her,---'My son is fascinated by you, and you know that I am so also. . .' Adrien was a man of wit, and he had more ability than Matthieu. 'Of all your admirers,' writes Madame de Stael, in a letter given in Chateaubriand's Memoirs, 'you know that I prefer Adrien de Montmorency.  I have just received one of his letters, which is remarkable for with and grace, and I believe in the durability of his affections, notwithstanding the charm of his manners.  Besides, this word durability is becoming in me, who have but a secondary place in his heart.  But you are the heroine of all those sentiments out of which grow tragedies and romances.'" (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14: 454-455)
2) Antonio Canova.
"During her days in Rome her great friendship was with Canova, the great sculptor.  For a time she lived in his home; it was like Aspasia living in the home of Phidias.  Determined to immortalize her beauty in marble, he allowed her a corner of his studio where she modeled in clay.  He made two busts of her, but she found them unsatisfactory and he tried to change them later.  Most of their time was spent at his country homes in Tivoli and at Albano, where his brother wrote her a sonnet daily."  (Juliette Recamier: 98)

"Madame Recamier subsequently left Lyons for Italy and the next new admirer whose attentions we have to chronicle is Canova.  During her stay in Rome he wrote a note to her every morning, and the heat of the city growing excessive, he invited her to share his lodgings at Albano.  Taking with her her niece and waiting-maid, she became his guest for two months.  A Roman artist painted a picture of this retreat, with Madame Recamier sitting near a window, reading. Canova sent the picture to her in 1816.  When she left Rome for a short absence, Canova modelled two busts of her from memory, in the hope of giving her a pleasant surprise,---one with the hair simply arranged, the other with a veil.  Madame Recamier was not pleased, and her annoyance did not escape the penetrating eye of the artist.  She tried in vain to efface the unfavorable impression he had received, but he only half forgave her.  He added a crown of olives to the one with the veil, and when she asked him about it, he replied, 'It did not please you, so I made a Beatrice of it." (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14; 459)
3) Arthur Wellesley
1st Duke of Wellington.
First encounter:  "During the restoration in 1814 she met Wellington at Madame de Stael's.  She also introduced him to Queen Hortense, Napoleon's stepdaughter, who at that stage was supporting the restoration of the Bourbons. Wellington was clearly entranced by Madame Recamier as Napoleon had been. He wrote a number of letters to her. . .  He was to call on her again after Waterloo. . . ."  (Reflections on a Journey to St. Helena)

"With the returned exiles the English were the fashion, and Wellington was the hero of the day. The duke was a frequent visitor at Madame de Stael's, and it was here that Madame Recamier first met the conqueror of the Peninsula, who like every one else, seems to have at once succumbed to the charms of the world-renowned beauty.  One of the fragments of Madame Recamier's journal which has been preserved contains some interesting memoranda relating to her acquaintance with the duke."  (Madame Recamier and Her Friends: 135)

" . . . Paris was fill of foreigners of distinction, who were curious to know a person of so much celebrity, and they swelled the ranks of her admirers. Among them was the Duke of Wellington, who, if Madame Recamier's vanity did not mislead her, was willing and anxious to wear her chains. But she never forgave his boastful speech after the Battle of Waterloo. . . ." (Atlantic Monthly, 
Lover in 1809-1845.
"Quite naively the beautiful Julie, in a letter, asks her husband's consent to a divorce, that she might be able to marry morganatically, the beautiful Prince August.  Monsieur Recamier gives his consent, but at the same time reminds Julie that she was a Roman Catholic, the prince a Protestant, that the prince was not allowed to marry her without the consent of the king, and that she would occupy but an awkward position at the proud court of royal Prussia.  And who would warrant to her that the prince, notorious for his many amours, would remain faithful to her?"  (Bauer, 1885, p. 136)

" . . . Sometime after, the complete ruin of her husband's fortunes induced her to accept an invitation from Mme. de Stael to join her at Coppert in Switzerland (1806).  Here she was thrown into the society of prince August of Prussia, and a mutual attachment ensued.  It is supposed that, of all her innumerable admirers, he alone succeeded in touching her heart.  A marriage was arranged, the necessary condition of which was the consent of M. Recamier to a divorce. This was not refused; but his mind and touching remonstrance sufficed to divert from her purpose a woman, on the one hand, of generous and noble feeling, and probably, on the other, constitutionally incapable of any very vehement passion.  The man whose brilliant prosperities she had share, she shrunk from deserting in the decay of fortune which had by this time befallen him.  The devotion of her princely lover continued till his death in 1845; but it does not appear that after his first distinct failure---though he frequently again met his beloved---his efforts to secure her were very vigorously renewed.  The lady's genius for love does not seem to have been great; but for friendship, it was almost unexampled. . . ."  (Library of Universal Knowledge: A Reprint of the Last (1880, Volume 12): 463)

"After Madame Bernard's death, her daughter passed six months in retirement, but, her grief affecting her health, she was induced b Madame de Stael to visit her at Coppet.  Here she met the exiled Prince Augustus of Prussia, nephew of Frederick the Great.  We find in the 'Seaforth Papers,' lately published in England, an allusion to this Prince, who visited London in the train of the allied sovereigns in 1814.  A lady writes,' All the ladies are desperately in love with him,---his eyes are so fine, his moustaches so black, and his teeth so white.' Madame Lenormant, describes him as extremely handsome, brave, chivalric, and loyal.  He was twenty-four when he fell passionately in love with Madame de Stael's beautiful guest, to whom he at once proposed a divorce and marriage.  We give Madame Lenormant's account of his attachment. 'Three months passed in the enchantments of a passion by which Madame Recamier was profoundly touched, if she did not share it.  Everything conspired to favor Prince Augustus.  The imagination of Madame de Stael, easily seduced by anything poetical and singular, made her an eloquent auxiliary of the Prince. The place itself, those beautiful shores of Lake Geneva, peopled by romantic phantoms, had a tendency to bewilder the judgment.  Madame Recamier was moved.  For a moment she welcomed an offer of marriage which was not only a proof of the passion, but of the esteem of a prince of a royal house, deeply impressed by the weight of its own prerogatives and the greatness of its rank. Vows were exchanged.  The tie which united the beautiful Juliette to Monsieur Recamier was one which the Catholic Church itself proclaimed null.  Yielding to the sentiment with which she inspired the Prince, Juliette wrote to Monsieur Recamier, requesting the rupture of their union.  He replied that he would consent to a divorce, if it was her wish, but he made an appeal to her feelings. He recalled the affection he had shown her from childhood.  He even expressed regret at having respected her susceptibilities and repugnances, thus preventing a closer bond of union, which would have made all thoughts of a separation impossible.  Finally he requested, that, if Madame Recamier persisted in her project, the divorce should not take place in Paris, but out of France, where he would join her to arrange matters.  This letter had the desired effect.  Madame Recamier concluded not to abandon her husband, and returned to Paris, but without undeceiving the Prince, who started for Berlin.  According to her biographer, Madame Recamier trusted that absence would soften the disappointment she had in store for him; but, if this was the case, the means she took to accomplish it were very inadequate.  She sent him her portrait soon after her return to Paris, which the Prince acknowledged in a letter. . .  Three years passed in uncertainty, and in 1811 Madame Recamier consented to meet him at Schaffhausen; but she did not fulfil (sic) her engagement, giving the sentence of exile which had just been passed upon her as an excuse. The Prince, after waiting in vain, wrote indignantly to Madame de Stael, 'I hope I am now cured of a foolish love, which I have nourished for four years.' But when the news of her exile reached him, he wrote to her expressing his sympathy, but at the same time reproaching her for her breach of faith. . . Madame Recamier's conduct to the Prince, even viewed in the light of her biographer's representation, is scarcely justifiable.  Madame Mohl attempts to defend her. She alleges, that, at the time Prince Augustus was paying his addresses to her, he had contracted a left-hand marriage at Berlin.  Even if this story be true, there is no evidence that Madame Recamier was then acquainted with the fact, and if she had been, there was only the more reason for breaking with the Prince at once, instead of keeping him so long alternating between hope and despair.  In speaking of him to Madame Mohl, Madame Recamier said that he was desperately in love, but he was very gallant and had many other fancies. The impression she made upon him, however, seems to have been lasting. Three months before his death, in 1845, he wrote to her that the ring she had given him should follow him to the tomb, and her portrait, painted by Gerard, was, at his death, returned to her by his orders.  Either the Prince had two portraits of Madame Recamier, or else Madame Lenormant's statements are contradictory.  She says that her aunt sent him her portrait soon after her return to Paris, and the date of the Prince's letter acknowledging the favor confirms this statement.  It is afterward asserted that Madame Recamier gave him her portrait in exchange for one of Madame de Stael, painted by Gerard, as Corinne."  (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14: 456-458)
5) August Wilhelm von Schlegel.
German poet, translator & critic.
August Wilhelm Schlegel.
Son of:
Johann Adolf Schlegel.
Husband of:
Karoline Schelling
German intellectual
mar 1796, div 1804
6) Auguste de Forbin.
French painter & antiquary.
Comte de Forbin
Louis-Nicolas-Auguste, Comte de Forbin.
"The Duc de Broglie, too, declares that Madame Recamier carried on a 'coquetterie flagrante' with Benjamin Constant and Auguste de Forbin at the same time.

7) Auguste de Stael.
"Auguste de Stael, Germaine's only son, had grown to manhood.  This tall, well-built young fellow with dark hair and eyes appreciated Juliette's beauty, ever increasing in spite of heartaches. . . ."  (Juliette Recamier: 71)

8) Baron de Vogt.
"He was an intelligent German, whom a common philanthropy had brought into close and friendly relations with Degerando and Camille Jordan; and who owned in the environs of Hamburg a large estate, where he devoted his time and intelligence to the moral improvement of the peasants and to the advancement of agriculture. He had been presented by Mme. Recamier to Mme. de Stael, and, being naturally very enthusiastic and a worshipper of celebrities, was very much flattered by the kind of reception accorded him at Coppet. But if the Baron paid court to those whose eminent talent gave them a wide reputation, he was no less than disposed to side always with those in power. The enthusiasm which marked several of his letters to Mme. Recamier was sensibly cooled when, toward the end of the year 1810, the Emperor Napoleon adopted harsher measures against Mme. de Stael. . . ." (Lenormant, 1874, pp. 38-39)

9) Baron von Balk-Poleff.
10) Benjamin Constant de Rebecque.
"That same year, 1814, brought Madame Recamier another admirer in the person of Benjamin Constant, the famous orator and publicist, whose services she had engaged at the request of the Murats to plead the cause of the cause of their dynasty, the fate of which the Congress of Vienna was about to decide. Constant was a man of brilliant parts, but of a fickle and emotional temperament. Throughout his life, we are told, he was 'subject to feminine influences as varied as they were powerful.' . . .   Now, at forty-seven, he fell madly in love with Madame Recamier, and for many months bombarded her with love-letters, which, in point of absurdity, quite throw into the shade those which Lucien Bonaparte had penned fifteen years before.  These letters have had a singular fate: they have been the subject of three law-suits."  (Madame Recamier and Her Friends:  138)
Camille Jordan
French politician & writer
"They met Camille Jordan, and M. Degerando.  Jordan had, just before this, published a pamphlet on the choice of Bonaparte as First Consul for life. . .  At the home of Mme. Campan they met Mme. Racamier, 'the beautiful lady who had nearly been squeezed to death in Paris.' . . .  Mr. Edgeworth was not greatly impressed with Mme. Racamier.  He says, 'She certainly is handsome, but there is nothing noble in her appearance.---She was very civil,' he adds. . . ."  (A Study of Maria Edgeworth: 171)

Character or Persona:  "Few men with the great qualities and rigid virtues of Camille Jordan have been so charming and engaging in the ordinary intercourse of life.  His original turn of mind, his enthusiasm, his energy, the shrewdness of his remarks, a certain simplicity and candor, in short, every thing about him was attractive, even to the somewhat provincial awkwardness which he never quite overcame...." (Madame Recamier & Her Friends: 4)
French painter
a.k.a. Fleury-Rhicard

Fleury-Francois Richard
[Bio2:Hotels] [Pix1:Flickr] [Pix2:Flickr]
14) Eugene de Beauharnais.
Lover in 1799.
15) Jean-Francois de La Harpe.
French literary critic
"Among the persons particularly distinguished my Madame Recamier was the great literary critic, M. de la Harpe.  She used even to attend his lectures at the Athenaeum, where a chair was allotted to her in close proximity to the professor. . . ."   (The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Volume 49: 253)
French philologist & man of letters
[Ref1:157] [Ref2:Hotels Paris Five Gauche]
" . . . M. Ballanche brought young Ampere to L'Abbaye-au-bois on the 1st of January, 1820, when he was not quite nineteen years old.  Young as he was, he soon underwent the same fascination which had already subjugated so many of his seniors, and after a few weeks had passed he was a daily guest.  J.J. Ampere was very highly educated, but utterly unaccustomed to the world, so that the impression of Madame Recamier's great social qualities was felt by him with all the freshness of inexperience.  The effect is intensified by a visit to the country in the summer or autumn of the same year, when Madame Recamier stated at La Vallee-aux-Loups, and young Ampere stayed within a little distance during several weeks at a country house belonging to his friend De Jussieu.  He saw Madame Recamier and her niece very frequently during this time, and on their return to Paris renewed his visits to the Abbaye.  On the first of these occasions the lady spoke of their pleasant walks and excursions in the country, and delicately hinted that there might possibly have some more tender emotion. This was an allusion to the young lady her niece, but J.J. Ampere could not contain himself, and, falling on his knees, declared that it was not the younger of the two ladies who had fascinated him.  After this outburst Madame Recamier seems to have managed him in a maternal way, and for thirty years he belonged to her family.  His own mother had died during his infancy, and he found at L'Abbaye-au-bois a home for the affectionate side of his nature. . . ." (The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, Volume 36: 90)
20) Lucien Bonaparte
1st Principi di Canino.
Lover in 1779-1780.
Madame Recamier & Lucien Bonaparte's first encounter: "In the spring of 1799, Mme. Recamier, already established at Clichy, accepted an invitation to dinner for her husband and herself from M. Sapey, at Bagatelle. Among the guests was Lucien Bonaparte. who was immediately impressed with Mme. Recamier's beauty, and made no effort to disguise his admiration. He accompanied her in a walk through the garden of Bagatelle, and, when she left, asked and obtained permission to visit her at Clichy. He presented himself there the next day. Lucien Bonaparte was, at that time, twenty-four years old. His features were regular, but less strongly marked than those of Napoleon, whom he resembled. He was taller than his brother; and, though he was near-sighted, his smile and expression were pleasant. Bombastic and very consequential, he showed by his manner, that he was sensible of the growing greatness of his family. He did every thing for effect; and while his dress was carefully studied, it was not in good taste." (Memoirs & Correspondence of Madame Recamier: 14)

" . . . Lucien Bonaparte met her at this period at M. Sapey's, at Bagatelle, and was struck with her beauty.  He asked permission to visit her at Clichy, and it was granted.  The consequence may easily be foreseen.  Lucien --- at that time only twenty-four years of age ---became, although married, passionately enamoured of the greatest beauty of her time, and did not scruple to declare his passion.  Madame Recamier appealed to her husband, and requested that Lucien be shown the door.  M. Recamier observed thereupon that to break openly with the brother of General Bonaparte might compromise him and ruin his bank. . .  Madame Recamier did not like Lucien, so she acceded to the arrangement, and would sometimes laugh at this anguish, while at others she was terrified at his impetuosity.  This stormy kind of relationship lasted for a year, when Lucien, weary with the ineffectual pursuit, gave it up. . . ."  (The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Volume 49: 252)

About this time Lucien Bonaparte aspired to become Juliette Recamier's lover. Though he was married already his wife was delicate, and went little in society. This combination of circumstances gave Lucien freedom to flirt with all the handsome women he met. . .  Lucien was devoted to Madame Recamier, so much so in fact that he was ever ready to dance attendance on her slightest whim.  She is said to have dined with him several times at the more fashionable restaurants in Paris, and even welcomed him as she did many other famous men, to a spirit of social eclat and coquetry.  At this time Lucien was but twenty-five years of age, and was Secretary of the Interior."  (Juliette Racamier: 25)

"Her first vexation came with her first lover.  It was in the spring of 1799 that Madame Recamier met Lucien Bonaparte at a dinner.  He was then twenty-four, and she was twenty-two. He asked permission to visit her at Clichy, and made his appearance there the next day.  He first wrote to her, declaring his love, under the name of Romeo, and she, taking advantage of the subterfuge, returned his letter in the presence of other friends, with a compliment on its cleverness, while she advised him not to waste his ability on works of imagination, when it could be so much better employed in politics.  Lucien was not thus to be repulsed.  He then addressed her in his own name, and she showed the letters to her husband, and asked his advice.  Monsieur Recamier was more politic than indignant.  His wife wished to forbid Lucien the house, but he feared that such extreme measures toward the brother of the First Consul might compromise, if not ruin, his bank. He therefore advised her neither to encourage nor repulse him.  Lucien continued his attentions for a ear,---the absurd emphasis of his manners at times amusing Madame Recamier, while at others his violence excited her fears.  At last, becoming conscious that he was making himself ridiculous, he gave up the pursuit in despair.  Some time after he had discontinued his visits he sent a friend to demand his letters; but Madame Recamier refused to give them up.  He sent a second time, adding menace to persuasion; but she firm in her refusal. It was rumored that Lucien was a favored lover, and he was anxious to be so considered.  His own letters were the strongest proof to the contrary, and as such they were kept and guarded by Madame Recamier.  But the unpleasant gossip to which his attention gave rise was a source of great annoyance to her.  If it was her first vexation, it was not the only one of the same kind. . . ." (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14: 451)

Lucien Bonaparte's physical appearance & personal qualitites:  "He had a well shaped head, and well-moulded features.  Though much taller than his brother Napoleon, his physique was poor and he had a spinal irregularity that caused him to stoop slightly.  His hands were unusually large as were his feet and he gesticulated a great deal while talking.  With women he made every effort to be at his best and when he grew excited he became somewhat feline." (Juliette Racamier: 25)
"Among the crowd of her admirers, Madame Recamier particularly distinguished Duke Mathieu de Montmorency.  If we are to give credit to her biographer, the duke, as a young man, had been as vain and as thoughtless as other young aristocrats; but the death of his brother, the Abbe de Laval, who fell under the revolutionary axe, and the exhortations of Madame de Stael, had converted him into an austere and fervent Christian.  He saw at once all the dangers to which a beautiful young woman like Madame Recamier, fond of admiration, surrounded by flatterers, and without the support of any intimate domestic relations, was exposed, and he acted towards her as brother, carefully tending her, with the more delicacy from the admiration which he felt for her, and yet jealously solicitous in regard to any sentiments that might be awakened in her bosom, and that might not be consistent with the most spotless purity and innocence. There can not be the slightest doubt from M. de Montmorency's letters, as given in his biography, that he ever acted towards Madame Recamier the part of a sincere and even pious friend."  ((The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Volume 49: 253)

"She had made already the friendship of the Montmorencies that continued throughout her life.  Mathieu Montmorency, the scholarly and more serious minded of the two, had made himself known in the United States of America. He was thrilled by the French wars like many French soldiers and he wanted to fight for Liberty in America.  Mathieu was married to a French girl who had borne him a daughter, but conjugal responsibilities were soon forgotten, first in war days and later in a long flirtation he had with Madame de Stael. . . ." (Juliette Recamier: 20)

"Another friend of Madame Recamier's youth, whose friendship in a marked degree influenced her life, was Matthieu de Montmorency.  He was seventeen years older than she, and may with emphasis be termed her best friend.  A devout Roman Catholic, he awakened and strengthened her religious convictions, and constantly warned her of the perils surrounding her.  Much as he evidently admired and loved her, he did not hesitate to utter unwelcome truths.  Vicomte, afterward Duc de Montmorency, belonged to one of the oldest families of France, but, espousing the Revolutionary cause, he was the first to propose the abolition of the privileges of the nobility. He was married early in life to a woman without beauty, to whom he was profoundly indifferent, and soon separated from her, though from family motives the tie was renewed in after-years.  In his youth he had been gay and dissipated; but the death of a favorite brother, who fell a victim to the Revolution, changed and sobered him. From an over-sensibility, he believed himself to be the cause of his brother's death on account of the part he had taken in hastening the Revolution, and he strove to atone for this mistake, as well as for his youthful follies, by a life of austerity and piety.  While his letters testify his great affection for Madame Recamier, they are entirely free from those lover-like protestations and declarations of eternal fidelity so characteristic of her other masculine correspondents.  He always addressed her as 'amiable amie,' and his nearest approach to gallantry is the expression of a hope that 'in prayer their thoughts had often mingled, and might continue to do so.' He ends a long letter of religious counsel with this grave warning:---'Do what is good and amiable, what will not red the heart of leave any regrets behind.  But in the name of God renounce all that is unworthy of you, and which under no circumstances can ever render you happy.'" (Atlantic Monthly,Volume 14: 454)

"As to Mathieu-Jean-Felicite de Montmorency, whose place in Mme. Recamier's affection was not to be any less great, he was quite a different kind of man from Adrien. In the first place he was older, as he was born in 1760, and had already a role in history. He had made his first campaign in Ameirca in his father's regiment.
French aristocrat & historian.
Duke of Noailles 1824
3rd Duke of Ayen 1823
Peer of France 1827.
a.k.a. Comte de Noailles.
Son of:
Louis-Jules-Cesar de Noailles
Marquis de Noailles
& Pauline Laurette Le Couteulx du Molay.
Husband of:
Alice de Rochechoaurt-Mortemart
daughter of
Victurnien de Rochechouart
8th Duc de Mortemart
married 1823.
24) Pierre-Simon Ballanche.
French printer & author
" . . . Madame de Sermesy, an affluent, gifted widow lady, opened her salons to the banished of 1812; and they met there with the elite of Lyons, among whom were Camille Jordan, and M. Pierre Simon Ballanche, printer and author, and who, from the first day that he met the fair Juliette, became her slave.  M. Ballanche was more favored by gifts of intellect than by external advantages. Naturally ugly, his ugliness had been considerably increased by a quack, who had used such violent remedies for a headache as to have necessitated the removal of part of his jaw and a portions of his cranium.  He was a character too, and calling, the next day of of his introduction, upon Madame Recamier, the latter declared that the smell of his shoes inconvenienced her, whereupon he apologized, and adjourning into the passage, he returned to continue his conversation without them.  These meetings, thus inauspiciously inaugurated, were afterwards continued daily till two months afterwards, when Juliette was starting for Italy.  M. Ballanche declared himself as a brother, who only waited for the moment when he could sacrifice everything for her sake. . . ."  ((The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Volume 49: 256-257)

"At Lyons Madame Recamier met the author, Monsieur Ballanche.  He was presented to her by Camille Jordan, and, in the words of her biographer, 'from that moment Monsieur Ballanche belonged to Madame Recamier.'  He was the least exacting of any of her friends.  All he asked was to devote his life to her, and to be allowed to worship her.  His friends called her his Beatrice.  As he was an extremely awkward and ugly man, the to might been termed with equal propriety 'Beauty and the Beast.' Monsieur Ballanche's face had been frightfully disfigured by an operation, and though his friends thought that his fine eyes and expression redeemed his appearnce, he was, to strangers, particularly unprepossessing.  He was, moreover, very absent-minded.  When he joined Madame Recamier at Rome, she noticed, during an evening walk with him, that he had no hat.  In reply to her questions, he quietly said, 'Oh, yes, he had left it at Alexandria.' He had, in fact, forgotten it; and it never occurred to replace it by another.  Madame Lenormant relates an anecdote of his second interview with Madame Recamier, which is illustrative of his simplicity. 'He found her alone, working on embroidery.  The conversation at first languished, but soon became interesting,---for, though Monsieur Ballanche had no chit-chat, he talked extremely well on subjects which interested him, such as philosophy, morals, politics, and literature.  Unfortunately, his shoes had an odor about them which was very disagreeable to Madame Recamier.  It finally made her faint, and, overcoming with difficulty the embarrassment she felt in speaking of so prosaic an annoyance, she timidly avowed to him that the smell of his shoes was unpleasant.  Monsieur Ballanche apologized, humbly regretting that she had not spoken before, and then went out of the room. He returned in a few moments without his shoes, resumed his seat, and continued the conversation. Other persons came in, and noticing him in this situation, he said, by way of explanation, 'The smell of my shoes annoyed Madame Recamier, so I left them in the antechamber.' After the death of his father, Monsieur Ballanche left Lyons, and passed the rest of his life in the society of her whom he worshipped with so single-minded a devotion." (Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14: 458-459)
25) Prosper de Barante.
"...Now Mme Recamier was loved, at one time, by Prosper de Barante, Corinne's lamented young lover; afterwards she was loved by Mme de Stael's own son...." (Levaillant, 1958, p. xvi)

Juliette's personal & family background:  "Jeanne-Francoise-Julie-Adelaide Bernard was born at Lyons on the fourth of December, 1777.  Her father was a notary in that city, and both her parents were remarkable for personal advantages.  In 1784 M. Bernard removed to Paris, under the patronage of the Minister De Calonne, who gave him an appointment.  Little Juliette, as she was then called, was sent for a short time to her aunt's, at Villefranche, and then to the convent of the Desert, at Lyons."  (The Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art, Volume 49: 251)
Recamier's Spouse & Children:  She married, in 1793, Jacques Recamier (d.1830), a wealthy banker 30 years older than her.  "...In 1793 she married M. Recamier, a man of wealth and of some standing in society; but in his conjugal relations he was as a father to the youthful Juliette, and nothing more...." (Thomas, n.d., p. 90)

" . . . She may have broken a thousand hearts, but she was chaste, and even though she was married at the age of 15 to the banker Jacques-Rose Recamier of Lyons, she remained a virgin at least up till the age of 31!  At least that is what her biographer claims.  

"There was a certain mystery about her marriage.  Her husband was 27 years her senior.  It was rumoured that he had been the lover of Juliette's mother, and Juliette was his daughter.  Fearing for his life (for that was the time of Robespierre and the Reign of Terror), he made sure that his fortune would pass to his daughter by marrying her. . . ."  (Tribune India)
Recamier's physical traits & personal qualities:
"Recamier was a small, delicate women with a timid, whispering voice and an appearance that was comely rather than beautiful---pert oval face, pearly teeth, incomparably radiant skin.  Her manner was at once chaste and coquettish. . . . (Rage and Fire: A Life of Louise Colet. . .: 102-103)

"...For a few years Madame Recamier led a secluded life, on account of the troubles and dangers incident to the times, but when she did emerge from retirement she had developed into the most beautiful woman in France, and was devoted to a life of pleasure.  Her figure was flexible and elegant, her head well-poised, her complexion brilliant, with a little rosy mouth, pearly teeth, black curling hair, and soft expressive eyes, with a carriage indicative of indolence and pride, yet with a face beaming with good-nature and sympathy."  (Lord, 2004, p. 233)