Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Chateau D'Avaray. Béziade Family

Claude de Béziade .First Marquis D"Avaray 1655-1745.

Lt.Gal. des Armées du Roi. Chevalier des Ordes.

Charles Theophile de Béziade -Second Marquise D'Avaray .1701-1746.
Died at the age of 45.
Painting by Hyacinthe Rigaud.

Charles Theophile de Béziade -Second Marquise D'Avaray .1701-1746.
As a young man.

Deux gentilshommes tués à Gesté....

Claude Antoine de Béziade, Second  Duc d'Avaray. 

Artist:- Jean Michele Moreau ,1741--1814.

JPEG - 155.6 ko

Antoine Louis François de Béziade .First Duke D'Avaray
Born in Paris on and died in Madeira on   

Antoine-Louis-Francoise de Besiade. 1st Duc D;Avaray
Son of: Claude Antoine de Besiade, Marquis d'Avaray.
"Antoine Louis Francois de Besiade, Count d'Avaray, eldest son of the Marquis d'Avaray, who was before the Revolution, and is still is the Groom of the Wardrobe. The Count d'Avaray was born in 1759, and served at the siege of Gibraltar; after which he became Colonel of the Regiment de Boulonnais.Monsieur, on assuming the title of Louis XVIII, made M. d'Avaray Captain of the Guards, and gave him the arms of France, to be borne as an honourable augmentation on his family's coat or arms, with the date of the King's escape as a motto. In 1799 he received the honor of being created a Duke. M. d'Avaray followed the fortunes of the exiled monarch into Italy, Germany, Russia, Poland, and finally into England. He had the entire possession of his private confidence, and the greatest share in his political concerns.Because of his health D'Avaray was advised to try a trip from the cold weather to Madeira where he died in 1811. After the Restoration King Louis XVIII had his remains brought back to France and had him  buried in the family vault at the Chateau D'Avaray . His father had also  been created a Duke and peer of France"

File:Blason famille fr Bésiade d'Avaray.svg

"Won the hard way."


Dukes of D'Avaray in chronological order :-

First :- 1799-1811 : Antoine Louis François de Béziade (1759-1811),

Second:- 1817-1829 : Claude Antoine de Béziade (1740-1829)
Father of the previous. 

 Third:- 1829-1859 : Joseph Théophile Parfait de Béziade (1770-1859)
Son of the previous.

Fourth:-1859-1887 : Ange Édouard Théophile de Béziade (1802-1887)
 Son of the previous.

Fifth :-1887-1894 : Jules Victor Camille de Béziade (1827-1894)
 Son of the previous.

Sixth:- 1894-1930 : Édouard Joseph Hubert  de Béziade (1856-1930)
Son of the previous.

 Seventh :- 1930-1941 Marie Bernard Édouard de Béziade
.Nephew of the previous.

 (Line Extinct)

D'Avaray livery brass button.

Letter from the Duke D'Avaray -in his hand writing- to Louis XVIII.
Four lines down D'Avaray on line 9 -Madame du Barry's name is mentioned.

Testament of the Second:Duke of D'Avaray - Claude Antoine de Béziade (1740-1829)
Dated 1826.

The painter Francoise Gerard  was a pupil of Jacques Louis David.
 His painting of "The Coronation of Charles X " 1827  is in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Chartres.
The Chancellor can be seen standing in front  to the Archbishop of Rheims  with Prince Talleyrand and the Duke of D'Avaray Claude Antoine,behind him.


Sauvaterre.  Béarn.

The house of Béziade d'Avaray, were original  from Béarn- a province in the south west area of France . They were considered to be of ancient nobility. They were originally called La Vovrie and lived in Munein in Navarre . Chevalier de Courcelles, and  other authors have traced the lineage to some noble ;- Amanieu de Béziade to whom the King Louis X of France  rewarded with  thirty pounds for his services on  January 3, 1314

King Louis X of Navarre and France. 

 In 1446  Ramond Amanieu de Béziade, Lord of Muning, great-grandson of the preceding,  made a  donation  of fifty acres of  land  to religious Carmelites established in Sauveterre in 1469.
The Duke of Saint-Simon writes that King Henry IV brought two valets from Navarre  with him when he came King of France in 1589 One of whom was named Jeanne, and the other Béziade. In 1666,  De Machault, Commissioner to the King  researched the family's noble claim and granted it in 1668 and entered the Beziade d'Avaray family to the honor role of the King's Court. Jacques de Beziade d'Avaray (also called Sauveterre ) became Master of the Wardrobe to the monarch in 1608 and became very wealthy .In 1626 he acquired considerable land in Avaray -between Orleans and Blois- and adopted the name  
Claude-Théophile de Béziade, born in 1655, first known as Marquis d'Avaray, married Catherine Foucault on November 6, 1691. She was a  daughter of a director of finance, steward of Caen. died in Paris in 1745.He had a brilliant military career and was lieutenant general of the King's armies, ambassador to Switzerland and Grand Cross of St. Louis.  He  built the beautiful Hotel D'Avaray on the Rue de Grenelle in Paris in 1718  .In  1921  it was sold to the Netherlands's Government  and it has been their Embassy in Paris  up to this day . He had lost his eldest son, Jean-Théophile in 1734. He was  Brigadier of the Royal Army  and  died as a result of wounds received at the Battle of Guastalla. It was his second son, Charles, Marquis d'Avaray, born in 1701, Marshal of camp, married in 1735 to Miss d'Etigny, and who died  in 1746, who continued the descent. 
 Historians know about the admirable fidelity that Antoine-Francois, Count d'Avaray, born in Paris in 1759, grandson of the preceding, showed  to King Louis XVIII .He helped the brother of King Louis XIV escape  France during the Revolution and stayed with him and traveled with him to Italy, Germany ,Russia and England . When he became King Louis XVIII of France , he  authorized M. d'Avaray on  September 24, 1801 to load his coat of arms with the Royal  coat of arms of France and conceded at the same time the motto "Vicit iter durum pietas", Count Antoine-Francois d'Avaray had not the joy of seeing the re-establishment of the legitimate monarchy, and died on June 4, 1811, without having been married, on the island of Madeira, where he had gone to restore his health. 
Claude-Antoine de Besiade, Marquis d'Avaray, born in 1740, father of the preceding, married Mlle de Mailly-Neslein  in 1758   .He was Field Marshal and Lieutenant-General of  Orleans. In 1789  he was named  representative to the Estates General  in Versailles by the nobility of Orleans. The Marquis d'Avaray sat on the right of this assembly, and was imprisoned during the Terror. He joined the Princes in exile as soon as he received his freedom and did not return to France until the time of the Restoration. Louis XVIII  favored the father of his faithful servant, and appointed him Lieutenant-General of his armies .The King  summoned him to the House of Peers on  August 17, 1815, and renewed  the hereditary title of duke on August 31, 1817. The Duke of Avaray was authorized by a letter dated  September 7, 1822 to display his coat of arms at his Hotel d' Avaray in  Paris, and at the Chateau D'Avaray in  Loiret-Cher.  He died in 1829 in the Chateau d'Avaray. He had survived not only his eldest son, mentioned above, but also his second son, Theophilus, Knight of Malta, who was one of the victims of Quiberon in 1790.
This was his third son, Joseph Parfait de Besiade, Duke of Avaray, born in 1779, Lieutenant-General of the King's armies in 1824, Peer of France by hereditary right in 1829.He  resigned in 1832.He  married Mademoiselle de Tharon in London in 1800 and  died in 1859.
Ange-Théophile, third Duke of Avaray married  Mademoiselle de Rouchechourt-Mortemart in 1820 .  He was gentleman of the Wardrobe of the King Charles X. He was the grandfather of the current duke, born in 1856, who still owns the castle of Avaray. The third Duke  died in 1887,
  Marriage alliances of the Beziade names were the following families -:  Barraute, Gassion 1630, Barton de Montbas, Escoubleau de Sourdis, Mégret d'Etigny 1731, Boeil 1719, Baschi de Saint-Estève 1734, Mailly 1758, Grave 1781, Michel de Tharon 1800, Rochechouart-Mortemart 1825, Moustier 1847, Séguier 1855, Mercy-Argenteau 1883, Hinnisdal 1884.

 I became very interested in the d'Avaray family when my friends ; Pieter and Susan  bought the grand apartment in the Chateau d'Avaray in the Loire Valley of France.

Pieter and Susan.


Chateau D'Avaray with the Loire River in the background.

Chateau D'Avaray.

Après-midi humide et léger brouillard sur la prairie. 
Wet afternoon and light fog on the meadow. 
#Avaray #valdeloire

History of the Chateau D'Avaray.

To the feudal castle's 13th century foundations and towers, the west and north wings were added. The moat was built around 1620. In  1730, three dormant bridges that crossed the moat and drawbridge  was removed. The south facade, the central front building with its balcony and the triangular pediment that dominates the chateau was also added in 1730. In 1736,  the eastern wing was built.
The Chateau D'Avaray is located on the right  bank of the Loire. It is a magnificent building of the Louis XIII style, flanked at the corners by massive 13th century towers and surrounded by a large moat. The water  can be crossed  by  three stone bridges.The spillway of this moat operates a mill before driving the water  to the Loire.
 The park was designed by Le Nôtre , who also  designed the gardens of Versailles. 

The old 13th century  feudal castle  belonged Jehan de Mineray who bought it in 1476 Later  to the Montgomery family bought the estate. One of them, Gabriel, captain of the Scottish Guard, had the misfortune of  killing  the French King Henry II in a tournament in 1559 and had to leave the court. He became one of the most formidable Protestant  leaders and was beheaded in 1574.The tombstone of his son Francois's wife, Péronnelle de Champagne is preserved at the chateau.

It was rebuilt by the family of Bésiade,who came to France  with Henry IV of Navarre and Béarn, who was the first Protestant King of France.The Besiade family's  direct descendants kept the chateau until 1942. It was then sold to the Belgium Baron Stalins. In the 1950's it was sold as 19 separate apartments .

The founder of the Montgomery family was born in Normandy France .
He was Hugh Mundegumbrie who went with his kinsman William the Conqueror  to England  in 1066 and partook in the battle of Hastings.
Gabriel de Lorges comte de Montgomery 1530 1574 by Feron Eloi Firmin.jpg

  Gabriel. Comte de Montgomery Seigneur de Lorges (5 May 1530 – 26 June 1574), 
This French nobleman, was a captain of the Scots Guard of King Henry II of France. He is remembered for mortally injuring King Henry II in a jousting  accident and subsequently converting  to Protestantism ,the faith that the Scots Guard sought to suppress.He became a leader of the Huguenots, When he returned to France he was beheaded by Queen Catherine de Medici.

King Henry II of France..

Andre Le Nôtre (12 March 1613 – 15 September 1700), was a French landscape architect  and the principal gardener of King Louis XIV of France . Most notably, he was the landscape architect  who designed the park of the Palace of Versailles ,and his work represents the height of the French formal garden style.

Avaray is a French territorial title belonging to a family some of whose members have been conspicuous in history. The Béarnaise family named Béziade moved into the province of Orleans  in the 17th century, and there acquired the estate of Avaray. The family served King Henri of Navarre. In 1667 Claude  Theophile De Béziade  , Marquis d'Avaray, obtained the office of grand bailiff  of Orleans, which was held by several of his descendants after him.He subsequently became a lieutenant-general in 1814, a peer of France in 1815, and Duke d'Avaray in 1818.
Antoine Louis Francoise de Besiade Count d'Avaray, distinguished himself during the Revolution by his devotion and friendship to the Count of  Provence, afterwards Louis XVIII  .He saved Louis from the guillotine and went with him into exile . The King created the estate of le-Jourdain a dukedom , under the title of Avaray, in favor of the Count  d'Avaray, whom he termed his "liberator and great friend"

"After the mistress - The Countess la Balbi's fall , the focus of Monsieur’s affections was transported to the Captain of his Bodyguard. Antoine-Louis-François de Bestiade, Comte d’Avaray,He was thirty-four and a career soldier whose skillful organization of his master’s escape to Coblenz had won him his master’s confidence; later the infatuated Louis-Stanislas gave him the right to bear the royal arms of France on his own with the motto Vicit iter durum pietas (loyalty finds a way over even the stoniest road). Henceforward, until his death, he only left Monsieur when sent on special missions. The two men had no secrets from each other, Avaray’s one fault in Monsieur’s eyes was that he knew no Latin. Indeed it is probable, though there is no actual proof, that Monsieur was a repressed homosexual.
When the emigres court settled in England , Avaray, the King’s favorite companion, inspired jealousy and even hatred. He particularly irritated conservative émigrés by speaking English and dressing like an Englishman. In 1808 a Vendéen veteran, General de Puisaye, accused Avaray of trying to have him assassinated. The scandal reached such proportions that Louis issued a public defense of ‘the most feeling of friends’ and appointed a committee of twenty-four noblemen who quickly declared Avaray innocent. The favorite at once challenged Puisaye to a duel, but the King had him arrested by the English authorities to prevent him fighting. As a mark of his esteem he then made Avaray a Duke. However, the favorite's health was collapsing—he seems to have been tubercular—and he had to leave England for a warmer climate in Madeira at the end of 1810.He died there but was later interned at the Chateau D'Avaray "

Monsieur- later King Louis XVIII of France .

" Yet that calm individual, when he was annoyed, indulged in terrible rages; and this King  so cold, so insensitive, had relationships which resembled passions: thus there succeeded in his intimacy the Comte d’ Avaray , Monsieur de Blacas , Monsieur Decazes,, Madame de Balbi  and Madame du Cayla ; all these beloved personages were favorites; unfortunately they kept far too many letters in their hands."

Queen of France. Marie-Joséphine of Savoy.

"Marie Joséphine and her spouse lived largely separate lives, and while Louis Stanislaus was reputed to have a romantic relationship with his favorite courtier, the Duke d'Avaray."

All the quotes above come from the book "Mémories D Outre-Tombe".
Viscounts Francoise Chateaubriand's memoirs.
Book XXV: The Second Restoration: 1815-1820

Louis XVIII 's letter to the  Duke d'Avaray-in his own handwriting.
In the fourth line one see the name Avaray.


The  Avaray family's town house in Paris was the Hotel d'Avaray at  85, rue de Grenelle.
The mansion was designed for the Duke Claude Theophile in 1723 by the architect Jean Baptist Leroux. In 1920 the Avaray family sold the town house to the Netherlands Government and it is now  the Royal Netherlands Embassy to France.

Hotel d'Avaray at  85, rue de Grenelle.

Hotel d'Avaray (Paris) - Résidence de l'Ambassadeur des Pays-Bas en France.JPG

In the next letter- dated  25th February 1819  Lady Stanhope  describes an event which electrified all France:-
The Duc D'Avaray was an intimate friend of Louis XVIII. His granddaughter Rosalba, aged seventeen, was extraordinarily beautiful  and much sought after by many aspirants for her hand. Among these latter was a young Englishman, twenty-six years of age, Charles Shakerley,  who was a great friend of the Stanhope's. Indeed, it appears extremely probable that Mrs Stanhope was responsible for his introduction to Mdlle. Rosalba  D'Avaray as she was indirectly responsible for what followed. It was owing to her invitation that Madame Contibonne, whose presence might have averted what happened, was absent from her home on the eventful evening when Charles Shakerley took  fate into his hands. .The  great event which at this moment occupies all at Versailles and all Paris, and probably will shortly occupy all the beau monde of France. This great event is Shakerley's elopement with Mlle. D'Avaray, on Sunday the 21st of February 1819.
 William saw  Charles Shakerley  either Saturday or Sunday in Paris, very disconsolate after having just been refused by the ducal family. Charles  told him he was packing up, and was just going to England for a week and then intended to depart for Petersburg,  to take unto himself some Russian Belle.
William came down  with Madame & Mlle. de Contibonne, who told him Mlle. D'Avaray was their dear  friend, and they related the history of the refusal. Mdlle. de Contibonne came here to dine with her mother, who was obliged to return, having company at Paris in the evening. One of her daughters remained at home, and dined with  Mdlle. D'Avaray . The latter was to walk home with her maid to dress for a party. Instead of going home she got into a  cabriolet with her maid, and drove to the border  where Shakerley, with two carriages, was waiting. They went off to Ostend, the lady and her maid in one carriage, the gentleman and his valet in the other. At Ostend they sent  word to the Duchess D'Avaray where they were, and in return the Duc , who had no alternative, sent a "permission de marriage".
 If Charles Shakerley  murdered three women, there could not be such an bigger outcry; Old and young, male and female, married and single, all unite in abuse of the poor lady. The French dandies are in a rage that the prettiest girl in Paris should have run off with "un Anglais". The English all are delighted!
It was certainly a bold step for a French girl, as  eloping, or as the French  call it being "enlevee", is considered  everything that is shocking! Mdlle D'Avaray married Charles Shakerley and went to England to live with him. The marriage was not happy and at a  ball in Austria -a few years later -she eloped with a charming Spaniard the Duke E'Rerra .

Auderic Countess de Moustier - nee  D"Avaray .
 Here she is photographed with her children in 1870.
She died in the Charity  Bazaar Fire in Paris on May 4 1897.
 The "Bazar de la Charité"  was an annual charity event organized by the French Catholic aristocracy in Paris from 1885 onward. It is best known for the fire at the 1897 bazaar that claimed 126 lives, many of them aristocratic women, the most eminent of whom was Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Alençon, nee Sophie Charlotte of Bavaria sister of the famous Austrian Empress Sissie .

The Chateau d'Avaray.

Rochechouart-Mortemart family coat of arms.

Mathilde -Duchess of D'Avaray .
Anne Vucturienne Mathilde de Rochechouart-Mortemart 1802-1887
Married February 1 1825 - Ange Edouard de Béziade Duc D'Avaray  
 Her mother was from the ancient family Montmorency 

January 23, 1887

"The Times- Picayune from New Orleans Louisiana USA"

 THE DUCHESS D'AVARAY, who died yesterday at the age of 85,  in Paris  was on her paternal side a Montemart. Her mother was a Montmorency ; but even that old a noble house cannot claim kinship with the Virgin Mary, or descent from the Angel Gabriel, as do the Mortem art family. 
The first of the Avaray  name who distinguished himself was a marquis, who for devotion to the absent royal family during Napoleon's reign was rewarded at the restoration with a dukedom; and when Louis XVIII bestowed this title on his faithful companion he also authorized the Dukedom  quarter the royal arms with his own and to change the family motto into "Vicit iter durum pietas." It was to him that that fat Bourbon King gave a spittoon set with diamonds, a present which greatly scandalized pretty Mme. du Cayla and other ladies of court circles. The present Duke is the son of this favorite of Louis XVIII.
 On his marriage to Mile, de Montemart in 1825 they went to live in the mansion in the Rue de Grenelle that he had inherited from his father. This street of the Faubourg St. Germain contains a great many hotels belonging to ancient noble families, some of which have, however, changed hands a good many times since they were built in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.  For more than half a century after her marriage the Duchess presided over one of the most aristocratic and typical salons of the "noble" faubourg. By her tact, distinguished manners and powerful family connections, she made her mansion one of the most influential centers of Parisian fashionable life. No social distinction was more highly esteemed than an invitation to one of her afternoon receptions, or evening dinners for which the most careful discrimination in the selection of guests was exercised. I cannot better give the accurate measure of her social influence than by saying that she was the "grande dame" of her day, who received the greatest number of real visits; at other houses people felt that they had paid their social debt when they had left their cards, but at the Hotel d'Avaray a personal call was felt to be necessary. It was not at all unusual for as many as eighty or a hundred visitors to pass up the monumental Louis XV stairway to the salon on the second floor in a single afternoon in order to pay their respects to the lady of the house. The Duchess and her principal guests were all staunch legitimates ; and since she closed her salon five years ago there has been nothing like it in French society.
 The Duke d'Avaray, who survives his. wife, was a cavalry officer under Charles X. On the downfall of that king the Duke accompanied, him into exile, and at his death transferred his devotion to the Count de ' Chambord, The Duchess bore him two children, the Marquis d'Avaray, who has two sons, the Counts Herbert and Elie d'Avaray, and a daughter who married the Marquis da Moustier. Besides several grandchildren there are four great grandchildren, and besides all these the death of the old Duchess throws into mourning a great many families of the Faubourg St. Germain".


Le Comte De Mercy -Argenteau.
"Diplomat and Austrian Spy During the time of Marie Antoinette"
One of Rosalie's ancestors.

Rose De Besiade d'Avaray (Duc) (born De Mercy Argenteau (Comtesse))

 The last Duchess d'Avaray -
Rosalie-(Rose) de Mercy Argenteau -Princess de Montglyon.
July 18 1862 -July 25 1925,

Read here more about her life on this blog;-

Chateau d'Argenteau 

Chateau Argenteau. Birthplace in Belgium.

Rosalie - the last Duchess D"Avaray and her son.
July 18 1862- July 25 1925.

 Rosalie-(Rose)  de Mercy Argenteau -Princess de Montglyon was born in Belgian at the Chateau Argenteau.The Princess was an intimate of kings, a masked ball butterfly for whom a ride on the Prince of Wales' yacht was a routine getaway.Her son, a pampered French marquis descended from a nobleman who saved the king of France's life, liked fast and loose cars and fast and loose friends.
Somehow private scraps of their lives ended up - covered in dust, stuffed in a crate, for sale cheap - in the Gas Plant Antique Arcade on Central Avenue .
"My dear old Nanny Goat," begins the 100-year-old letter from the Marquis D'Avaray to his mother, the Princess de Montglyon. Only the aristocracy could get away with that "Nanny Goat" without courting ridicule. The marquis' letter slams the Prince of Furstenberg (distant relation to fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg). Though rich, he cheated a musician out of a tip.
"The Prince of Furstenberg has disgusted me more than ever," the marquis huffs and puffs. ". . . he gave two francs and evidently finding it too much took back some change out of the plate."
He's apparently writing from the seaside. He tells his mother he watched a squadron of warships leave that afternoon.There are photos as well: Earlier shots show a spiffy young dandy, hand tucked into a pocket below his watch fob. Later photos show him as a man with a receding hairline of middle age. He's a soldier now. He's wearing a World War I French army uniform.
The mother strikes a different pose: plump, wrapped in black, elaborately hatted, a pedigreed pooch at her side. In one group shot she's surrounded by about 30 other swells, the men in derby s, the women in fur stoles.Among the photos and letter is the black-rimmed calling card, elegantly minimalist in the facts it conveys: Marquis D'Avaray, 85 Rue de Grenelle.
A final memento is a funerary envelope, sent in October 1917 from son to mother. Someone has died. The message ends with a reference to the war: "May God make this year a happy one for me."
The family's star ascended during the French Revolution when an earlier D'Avaray saved the future King Louis XVIII from a guillotine mob. Later in exile, the king dubbed him "my liberator."
The Princess, intimate of kings in her own right, was Rose de Mercy Argenteau, Princesse de Montglyon. In 1924, she published a memoir called "The Last of a Race."
She tells of the estrangement from her marquis son and partly explains that estrangement by saving much of the ink in the book for her pet collies.Misbehavior of the rich and famous isn't a modern invention. The princess is frank about her morphine addiction and fondness for hashish cigarettes, both of which she later conquered."So that was what I was! Just That! A helpless rag, a moribund sordid wreck, devoid of dignity, fit for the contempt of a lackey and a chambermaid!" she writes.
The Last of a Race goes silent after about 1918. You imagine an increasingly batty lady, her hair coiled under a frilly hat despite the bobbed cuts fashionable in the flapper 1920s.
She's alone. The war wiped out much of the European nobility, along with her estate, flattened by the kaiser's artillery. But there were always the dogs.
The D'Avaray's sold their lavish Parisian town house, located at 85 Rue de Grenelle. It became the embassy of the Netherlands.The marquis served in World War I, but post-war living proved more dangerous. A car crash killed him in 1921.
The aristocratic title went to his cousin. He, too, died childless, so the D'Avaray line died out in 1941. The Last of a Race was more prescient than the princess knew.
Now the family's artifacts gather dust in downtown St. Petersburg Florida USA , remnants from some long-forgotten estate sale. The pictures are pasted to scrapbook pages. The buyer was likely a 1930s version of a Princess Diana groupie.
Then the groupie died in Florida retirement and the stuff moldered in an antique dealer's crate. What are the items worth? Who knows. Everyone who knew the marquis and the princess are dead.
But for a few years in the early 1900s, the marquis was the scourge of the French Riviera. Princesses took to the spas of central Europe with Russian grand dukes. Mothers were called Nanny Goats. And no one scoffed.

"The Last Race"  Comtesse Rose de Mercy Argenteau. Duchess of d'Avaray .
In the background is the Chateau  D'Avaray  

Rosalie, Duchess of Avaray, Princess of Montglyon (1862 - 1925)

 Archive of Associated Letters, Receipts & Ephemera from "The Most Extravagant Women in Paris".
An interesting collection of just over 70 items, virtually all either letters or receipts addressed to The Duchess of Avaray, who was famously described by the San Francisco Call newspaper in 1901 as "The Most Extravagant Woman in Paris". The majority are in French, the remainder are in English. Among the many items included are:
Autograph letters to the Duchess from the author Andre Bellessort (1921 1pp als on Perrin & Cie stationery), Charles Rouillard (1903 1pp Parisian architect), Major-General (retd.) Robert Avery (1839-1912, an undated 1pp letter of introduction addressed to Tiffany & Co. regarding a scent bottle originally belonging to Marie Antoinette which the Duchess wanted to sell), the New York lawyer Paul Fuller (1917 tls), the journalist Ida Zeitlin undated 3pp als, wishing to set up a meeting to tell her side of a potential story regarding a disagreement, as well as three pages of notes in Zeitlin's hand regarding details for a possible book and film deal of the story of her life; a series of eight 1903 als to "cher Princesse" from "Mathilde", apparently from a juvenile, probably with a family connection?, 
Various letters and invoices from jewelers, dressmakers, milliners requesting payment for their services, with varying degrees of politeness. An 1887 invoice from the Parisian Jewelers Fontana requests the sum of 12,623 Francs for a number of rings etc. In addition there are a number of solicitors & lawyers letters relating to legal problems and arrangements.
A couple of items of correspondence written by the Duchess, the contents often including her financial situation or the sale of jewellery ("...I must before leaving tell you how cruelly I am miserable - it is only at 5.20 that I heard Mr Bremont tell me that  Mr B had failed to having this loan for me...Mr Baites is a very shady man and has left me here in the cruelest complication...he only wants me to be out of it and step in my place..." 
Belgian by birth, The Comtesse Rosalie de Mercy-Argenteau led something of a wild life before (and after) her dowerless marriage to the Duke d'Avaray, one of the richest nobles in France. His fortune soon diminished following her extravagant spending - it was estimated that during an eighteen month period, she spent $100,000 on underwear alone. Following her divorce and handsome settlement in 1889, her lavish spending on luxuries still continued, often leading to financial scrapes, as some of the letters attest. She applied to get custody of their son, the Marquis d'Avarary in 1901, many believed to get a larger settlement from the Duke, though to no avail. She split her time between England and France, often going under the title of the Princess of Montglyon (an hereditary Mercy-Argenteau title), living the high life, before settling in Florida in around 1905. She lived there until her death in 1925 aged 63.

Here is her grave in Florida USA .


Camille. Marquise D'Avaray -Father of the last Duke.


Duc d'Avaray , Comte de Bourbon -Busset, Ligier de Saint -Pierre, de Barberey, Prince  Stirbey.Baron de Hautecloque.

Auction catalog  of the Duke d'Avaray estate sale  in New York City. 

 26 January 1915.
Highest price $5.000 is paid for a Beauvais tapestry panel of the XVII Century .
There was a big crowd in spite of the rain at the concluding sale of the D"Avaray Collection at the American Art Galleries yesterday afternoon, The returns for the Afternoon were $62,332.00 making a grand total for the collection $96,287.00.


 Marquis d'Avaray Killed in Accident.
June 1921.

 Antoine Marquis d'Avaray, who has just met with his death in an automobile accident in the neighborhood of Boulogne, was 35 years of' age and only son of Hubert, fourth Duke of d'Avaray. He was far richer than his father, for the latter's mother, the eccentric old Duchess d'Avaray (daughter and heiress of Baron Seguier), who died in 1916, was found to have bequeathed all her fortune not to her son, but to her grandson. Relations between father and son were not of the most cordial description, and' thus it happened that the duke, finding himself with the ancestral Chateau of d'Avaray, in the department of theLola-er-Cher, and the stately old D'Avaray family mansion, on the Rue de Grenelle, in Paris, on his hands, rented the latter on a long lease to the Dutch government for use as its legation. As such it is now occupied by Queen "Wilhelmina's envoy, Jonkheer John Loudon,.
  It is understood that the property of the old Seguier Duchess of d'Avaray will now pass to her own son, the fourth duke, as the next heir of his son who has just been killed. Having no other issue by his union with Rosalie Countess de Mercy d'Argenteau, a celebrated beauty in her day, the dukedom will pass on his demise to his nephew, Count Bernard d'Avaray, only son of that late Count Elie d'Avaray who was for so many years the vice president and the most active governor of the French Jockey club. 
Duke Hubert of d'Avaray is the chief of the historic house of De Bensaide, which was already flourishing in the Base-Pyrenees in 1314, and whose members played a most Important role in the reign of King Henry IV, winning fame for their loyalty and for their chivalrous devotion to the monarch. 
 An Antoine d'Avaray was grand master of the household of the royal Comte de Provence prior to the great revolution at the close of the eighteenth century. When the insurrection broke out, it was Antoine Count d'Avaray who organized all the means for his master's wonderful flight from the palace of Luxembourg and from France. The Comte de Provence narrowly escaped' capture and the fate of his unfortunate brother, Louis XVI, on the guillotine. The Comte de Provence assumed the title of Louis XVIII . Louis XVIII was not unmindful of what he owed to the Count d'Avaray, both in connection with his escape and with his devoted and unselfish service throughout all the long and dreary years of exile, for not only did he transform the 1667 Marquis of Avaray into a dukedom, but also caused the armorial bearings of the house to be adorned with the addition of the royal lilies of France and with the Heraldic motto, selected by the sovereign himself, of "Vicit iter durum pietas."