Treasure's description

Financial scandal

Financial scandal

Printed in an alarming red throughout, ‘Le livre rouge’ derives its title from Louis XVI’s manuscript personal account book, and its notoriety from the worthlessness (here described in no uncertain terms) of the recipients of royal largesse. The national insolvency, which brought about the revolutionary conditions under which the royal establishment could be so humiliated, stoked feelings of public outrage. The precedent was not forgotten and, in 1810, the title was re-used in a best-selling exposure of pensions and sinecures in Britain, which subsequently became known as ‘The extraordinary red book’.