A late 17th century slide depicting Marie Mancini, first love of Louis XIV of France. Marie was one of five sisters whose uncle Cardinal Mazarin bought to the French court to make prestigious marriages. Thanks to their uncle’s intimate footing with the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria and her son Louis XIV, the sisters found themselves firmly ensconced within the royal circle. It was however Marie’s budding romance with the twenty year old King Louis that really caught the attention of the court. Although the couple had known each other since Marie’s arrival in Paris in 1654, four years later she and Louis were frequently spotted together in the gardens of Fontainebleau, the favourite romancing spot of French kings. Marie, an aristocrat but not of royal blood, was a decidedly unsuitable royal bride and in June 1659 Louis was informed in no uncertain terms that his affair with Marie was to end and that she would be leaving Paris. Hortense and Marie left Paris in the escort of their uncle. Louis begged to be allowed to say goodbye to his love but was permitted to only make a public farewell before she stepped into her coach. It must been a moving scene with the young king sobbing desperately before pressing his final gift, either a necklace or earrings of pearls into Marie’s hand. Marie was eventually married off to an Italian aristocrat, Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna and returned to her native Rome. This depiction of Marie in a sumptuous gown and wearing a pearl earring is painted in watercolour on vellum, under crystal. The slide measures one inch by 3/4 of an inch and has a later pendant fitting.