I love you madly

Óctober 27 2017 − January 6 2019

"The whole of Versaille speaks of nothing but a certain count von Fersen, dressed in the Swedish uniform, which the queen scrutinized very closely."

Axel von Fersen was the talk of the town when he arrived in Paris in 1778. Soon rumours started among the nobility of the city: The queen Marie Antoinette is having an affair with the Swedish count and officer!

He was born in the middle of the 18th century, into one on the most prominent families in Sweden. At the age of fourteen, he made his first grand tour abroad. It went to Germany, Italy and other countries. He spent many years in France but was also able to part-take in the American war of independence. Later, he filled important positions in the Swedish domestic politics. 

Marie Antoinette was born a princess in Austria. At the age of fifteen, she was married to the French crown prince. Most of the rest of her life, she spent in or in the vicinity of the Versailles palace.
The exhibition I love you madly is taking a closer look at the Swedish count Hans Axel von Fersen and his relation to one of the of the world´s most famous women, the French queen Marie-Antoinette. Their letters reveal a strong and passionate albeit impossible love.
Marie Antoinette wrote in a letter to Axel: “I shall quit, but first I wish to let you know, my dearest friend, that I love you madly and shall not cease to adore you for a single moment”.
During four turbulent revolution years, Axel von Fersen remained in the midst of the most radical and well-publicised events of his time. As long as it was possible, the count kept himself in the proximity of his beloved queen. He even part-took in a failed escape attempt. When Marie Antoinette was finally brought to the guilloutine, she carried one single piece of jewellry, a ring given to her by Axel von Fersen. It carried the inscription ”Tutto a te mi guida” – everything brings me closer to you.

Three decades later, he was savaged to death outside the House of Nobility in Stockholm.

A piece of glass from the carriage in which Axel von Fersen sat when he was beaten to death 1810. The piece of glass is now part of the collections at Uppland Museum. It will be exhibited for the first time ever.

I love you madly opened in the Royal Armoury October 27th, 2017. In this exhitibion we collaborate with Independent Kostym.