Marylee MacDonald

Award-winning author and writing coach


Jean NoŽl Turrelure, dit NoŽl, died on January 17, 1834, but the notaries didn't arrive till the 26th of March.

57 rue Menilmontant

A week into the trip, I've accumulated quite the stash of library cards.

In the Reading Room of the Archives nationales, you can examine the original records of quit claim deeds, property transfers, and death inventories. Here, I'm looking at the records for the carte de surete, a sort of internal passport all Frenchmen had to carry immediately after the Revolution.

With new information that NoŽl's name was actually Turelure, Dr. Emmanuel Schwartz, the Director of the art academy's library, turned to the records for 1766.

The light-filled atrium of the Academy of Beaux Arts

Documents from French notaries are in the Archives Nationales.

Chappe d'Autroche led a 1769 expedition to Baja California to study the Transit of Venus.



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The Vermillion Sea

A Descendent of NoŽl's Drawing Teacher

May 27, 2012

Tags: Fabien de Silvestre, Nicolas Charles de Silvestre, Jacques Augustin de Silvestre, Jean NoŽl Turelure

NoŽl studied with King Louis XV's drawing master, Nicolas Charles de Silvestre, and with his son, Jacques Augustin. On Sundays the archives shut down, so I went out to Etampes and had a wonderful lunch on the terrace with the great grandson of Jacques Augustin.
The first artist in the Silvestre family, Israel Silvestre, escaped religious persecution in Scotland and moved to the Duchy of Lorraine. The son of a glass painter who died when he was ten, Israel became a master engraver, and his engravings are still consulted by art and landscape historians. He became the Louis XIV's Drawing Master, and that title passed down to his son, Nicolas Charles, and to his grandson, Jacques Augustin. Nicolas Charles had a country house in Valenton as well as an apartment in the Louvre, and that is probably when NoŽl first met him. It's even likelier that it was Jacques Augustin, who taught art at the Ecuries, who had the most profound influence on NoŽl. As a young man, NoŽl did two portraits of Jacques Augustin's son. Those portraits were still in Jacques Augustin's possession when the notary came to place a value on his estate. Jacques Augustin's other protege was Etienne Aubry, a talented painter who never did win the Prix de Rome, but who went there anyway, accompanying Jacques Augustin's son. Unfortunately, Aubry's career was cut short. He fell ill in Rome and died soon after his return. With the new information about NoŽl's name change, I could finally begin to piece together the link between the country boy and the King's Drawing Master. I still have a couple of loose ends to tie up, but I'm writing a novel, not a history, and I love it when these holes appear.

Selected Works

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Prize-winning short stories for arm-chair travelers and readers willing to explore the intricacies of the human heart. For more about the book, click the title.
A wrongful arrest and a weekend in jail are a wake-up call for an African-American man who thought his education protected him from police brutality.
The Rug Bazaar features two unconventional love stories. Winner of the Jeanne M. Leiby Memorial Chapbook Contest.
A novel about a mid-life mom who would do anything to protect her children from harm.
CREATIVE NONFICTION
The true story of a fifteen-old girl's journey to motherhood.
A short personal essay about identity, writing, and adoption.
ESSAY
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