Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by descent to Virginia and Nicholas Trist; by descent to Harry Randolph Burke; by gift or purchase to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation
Accession Number: 1970-93
Historical Notes: The Louvre and the Château des Tuileries were at the center of many of Jefferson's social activities in Paris. On September 19, 1784, shortly after his arrival in the city, he witnessed from the Tuileries gardens a manned hot-air balloon ascension.1 The gardens came to be a favorite spot for Jefferson, where he could sit on the parapet overlooking the Seine and admire his favorite building, the Hôtel de Salm.2 He attended more than twelve "concerts spirituels" held in the Tuileries' "Salle des Machines." Here the Paris symphony presented works by French and Italian composers, performed by some of the most famous musicians of the day.3
1. September 18, 1784, MB, 1:563. See also Howard Rice, Thomas Jefferson's Paris (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), 27-28. Rice suggests that the source for the Louvre engraving is in the 1756 edition of François Blondel's L'architecture Francaise. A similar engraving of the Tuileries is in the 1752 edition of that work.