Box for Catherine Urgon 12 1/2 x 8 1/4 x 3 3/4
In Paris, in 1793, a lacemaker named Catherine Urgon, and other royalist sympathizers would meet in a wine shop in the Rue de la Vannerie at the sign of La Cave des Charbonniers to plan the rescue of Queen Marie-Antoinette as she was being escorted to the guillotine. Two of the principle lieutenants of the conspiracy were locksmiths. I created this box to hang in the back of that wine shop where sympathizers could come and deposit coins to aid in her rescue and subsequent exile from France.
Lace, candles, and dried roses surround the shrine-like box. There is a coin slot in the bottom structure, which is a collection box. A trap door with lock opens underneath. On the back of the box a card with fleur-de-lys and photo of the Dauphin is secured by a pale blue silk ribbon, the reverse of which holds a small envelope made from a Chateau Lafitte label that hides the key for the trap door.
All of the wood used for this box was found in one pile on the side of the road. The catalyst for the work were the two pieces which formed the doors, the knot fitting perfectly into the other piece. I was a collector of things 'Marie' style and had every biography I could find, so she was very much on my mind back then. I was intrigued by the well-documented conspiracy of Catherine Urgon and the idea for this piece took root from there. The wood was nearly petrified...very, very hard. The front of the collection box is exactly as it I found it on the road - a very unusual shape with a deep and curvy miter on the sides. My husband's woodworking skills were invaluable in bringing my vision to life. He meticulously crafted duplicate miters to fit each side, and painstakingly managed to fit everything together into a cohesive whole. There is a coin slot on the top of the box and a trap door underneath. Although it used to hang on my wall, it's now displayed behind glass on a stand made especially for it.
The quote on the back reads:
What makes misfortune unkind for tender souls is a tiny glimmer of hope which sometimes still persists.
Please click on to the VIMEO badge on the side to watch the short slide-show I created for this work.
Photographs (c) C. Andrako 2010 All Rights Reserved