A Large Louis XVI Red Morocco Leather Portefeuille signed 'JOLLIVET Md.. ORD.re (du Roy erased) Rue De Buffy, and stamped M. LE COMPTE DE LA LUZERNE*, with gold tooling on the borders and spandrels, and on the reverse of the front flap. The bottom edge is fashioned as a book spine. Blue silk lines the divided interior. The lock has a engraved silver key hole escutcheon with four positions, and a triangular drill pin to prevent picking.
Weight 1 kg
Size 43.5 x 34 x 5 cm
THE WILDENSTEIN COLLECTION. CHRISTIES 14-15 December, London.2005
*Anne-César de La Luzerne (1741–1791) was an 18th-century French soldier and diplomat, descended from an illustrious Normandy family, as a Knight of Malta he was styled Chevalier before 1784 when King Louis XVI created him a Marquis.
Born on 15 July 1741 in Paris, Anne-César de La Luzerne joined the French Army and served with distinction during the Seven Years' War. He commanded the Grenadiers royaux de France, reaching the rank of Major-General in 1762.
He entered diplomatic service as French Minister Plenipotentiary, first to Bavaria, and then in 1779 to the United States. In the latter capacity he spent four years in Philadelphia and never failed to show his sympathy for the young Republic. He even guaranteed a personal loan, much needed to furnish food for the troops in 1780; and in return he obtained, in 1782, the agreement that Congress should not ratify any peace treaty with Great Britain until agreement was reached between France and Britain.
La Luzerne served as French Second Minister to the United States from 1779 to 1784, succeeding Conrad-Alexandre Gérard de Rayneval.
He returned to Europe in 1783, his reputation as an envoy much enhanced. In 1789, Thomas Jefferson, the first U.S. Secretary of State, sent the Chevalier de La Luzerne a letter of thanks on behalf of President George Washington. He was then posted as Ambassador to the Court of St. James's in London, and died on 14 September 1791 at Southampton.
In 1781 he had been elected an Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was a founding Fellow of the Society of the Cincinnati. Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, is named after him.