Pascal Griener (University of Neuchatel) discusses photographic reproductions of the French crown jewels made for their auction in 1887.
During the second half of the nineteenth century, the royal heirlooms were exhibited in the Galerie d’Apollon in the Louvre. Even after the Third Republic, they remained very popular with the wider public. However, for political reasons, some diamonds from the French crown jewels were auctioned in the Louvre itself in May 1887. This paper analyses the major attempts made to picture these exceptional pieces, and to sell their reproductions in portfolios. The information delivered through these photographs as a group was anything but neutral in this context. The paper aims to reconstruct the functioning of these images within the framework of art history of this time.