The daughter of a government minister from Lyon, during the Reign of Terror 15-year-old Juliette was married to Jacques-Rose Récamier, a wealthy banker nearly 30 years her senior. Their marriage was never consummated, fueling rumors that Récamier was Juliette’s father, marrying her to make her his heir. Beautiful and flirtatious, Juliette became one of the most popular salon hostesses of her day, especially amongst writers, artists and anti-Napoleon intellectuals. Among the prominent figures who frequented her salon were writer Madame de Staël, King Charles XIV John of Sweden and Norway, and anti-Bonapartist general Jean Victor Marie Moreau. Her adoring male admirers included Napoleon’s brother Lucien Bonaparte, Swiss political theorist Benjamin Constant, writer Jean-Jacques Ampère (son of the physicist), French statesman Mathieu Jean Felicité de Montmorency, and painter Jacques-Louis David, who executed a famous portrait of her reclining on a sofa that was so associated with her that it became known as a récamier. However, only a few such relationships were consummated, notably with Prince August of Prussia and French author, historian and statesman Francois-René de Chateaubriand, who died in her arms. Juliette was exiled from France for a time due to her anti-Napoleon intrigues, which she continued while living in Italy.
Our letter’s recipient was also known for her beauty and wit. In 1800, she married one of Napoleon’s generals, Jean-Andoche Junot (1771-1813), who, after occupying Lisbon (without any loss of life) was made Duc de Abrantès and governor of Portugal. His wife accompanied him in his Lisbon campaign but, upon her return to France, she fell out of favor with Napoleon, who had once proposed marriage to her widowed mother; thereafter, she supported the Bourbon restoration. From 1831-1834, Laure Junot published her memoirs in 18 volumes, with the support of her lover, French novelist Honoré de Balzac.
Written on a folded sheet with the integral address leaf intact. Remnants of the red wax seal. Dated 1834 in an unidentified hand and in fine condition.