Charlotte Corday
During her one day trial she was accused of being part of a conspiracy. She was supposed to have an affair
with an enemy of the Republic. The outcome was certain in advance and Charlotte was send to the guillotine
later the same day, july 17, 1793.
During the trial and later in her cell a German painter called Hauer made a drawing of Charlotte. Being artistic
herself she took an active interest in Hauer's work and made several suggestions. The drawing is shown
above, and is probably the most realistic portrait of Charlotte Corday.
The execution was set for 5 p.m. As the execcutioner Sanson arrived to her cell, she started a little: "What!
Already! she exclaimed - but immediately recovered. When Sanson moved to cut her hair Charlotte herself
took the scisors and snipped off two locks, handling them to the painter. She was then dressed in the red
shirt reserved for parricides, finally her hands were tied
Charlotte refused the service of a priest and then to sit down in the cart. Sanson placed a chair for her to
lean on. On the way to the scaffold a summer storm broke, drenching Charlotte as she stood, the parracidal
shirt clung to her breasts, much to the crowd's delight. Arriving at the guillotine Charlotte had jumped from
the tumbrel and run quickly up the steps. Sanson tried to block the view of the guillotine from her, but she
peered right past and said: "I have the right to be curious, I have never seen one before!"
She blushed when aides removed her fichu, revealing the upper chest and neck, but offered no resistance
when strapped to the bascule. After the blade was released Charlottes severed head was held up to the
public, brandishing the dripping trophy the usual way. Charlotte then received a vicuous smack on her
cheek. Parts of the audience believed that her head turned pink, blushing!
Charlotte was taken away and examined, a sketch of this event was made, but it is unfortunately lost. The
head had been put back in it's "normal" position as Charlotte was checked. A result of the examination she
was found to be a virgin!
Marie Anne Charlotte de Corday D'Armant was born on
July 27, 1768 in Normandy. She grew up in the years
prior to the French revolution, she was reading a lot,
especially Rousseau.
Charlotte was described as tall and very beautiful:
"Her figure was robust but is was noble, her
complexion of a dazzling whiteness and of the most
wonderful freshness. She blushed easily, and then she
became truely ravishing. Her eyes were deep-set and
lovely, but their expression was veiled. Her chin was
too long and there were something obstinate about it,
but her appearance was full of charm and distinction
and had an expression of surpassing purity and
frankness. The sound of her voice was indescribably
low and sweet. Her hair was light chestnut."
In July 1793 Charlotte went to visit Jean-Paul Marat.
She draw a knife from her sheath, and plunged it into
Marat's heart with one stroke. Marat, who had often
spoke of the need to found a state on blood was now
choking on his own. Charlotte tried to escape, but a
man hit her on the head with a chair and then grabbed
her "by the breasts" and held her down. Charlotte
identified herself to the police and gave her motive: She
saw civil war brewing in France, and held Marat