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JANUARY 21, 1793

Guillotine 1793 1792 Drawing

The scope of this model order was a bit outside my core competence area. The style of the scaffold is inspired by the 1792 instruction drawing above that accompanied the guillotines shipped in 1792. The approximate dimensions were taken from two photographs of actual scaffolds used in 1868 and 1869. Handrails were used on some scaffolds but not on others. Henri Sanson's son, Gabriel, died after falling from the scaffold during a 1792 execution prompting the addition of handrails on the Paris scaffold but most paintings and engravings of the King's execution show a scaffold without handrails and a stairway with handrails, as the one below, so I opted for this combination.
The scaffold frame is 100% mortise and tenon construction, so it can be broken down for storage and shipping. The platform flooring and six side screens are glued and nailed together and can be removed from the frame as individual panels. The guillotine itself is a simple early Schmidt model without any of the later improvements. It is bolted to the scaffold floor.
The four figures represent king Louis XVI, Paris executioner Charles Henri Sanson and two of his assistants. The figures were custom made by Old Days of Yore a small shop specializing in custom 1/6 scale figures. Clothing styles are based on typical late 1700s clothing with inspiration from old engravings representing the execution. We opted for heavy clothing (great coats and cape) to match the January weather. One may question why there are no soldiers in this scene. The executioner and his assistants were all civilians and any soldiers present at the execution would merely have been there to provide security and control the mob. No soldiers would have been on the scaffold for the execution.
It is interesting to know the Charles Henri Sanson was the executioner for the Royal courts before the Revolution and continued his trade for the Republic. He may have had royalist sympathies but nevertheless did his job and executed the king as ordered by the Convention. His son executed Marie-Antoinette nine months later.

1793 Engraving Guillotine 1793

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