True Love in a Box

True love exists and existed, as well as social conventions, at least that is the starting point of the exhibition (L’amour en boîte).  In the period 1812-1817, Eugénie de Treytorrens (1785-1856) and Charles d’Odet (1776-1846) wrote at least 252 letters. Eugénie was of wealthy Protestant origin from Guévaux (canton of Fribourg). Charles belonged to a family of landowners but was considerably less wealthy, both Catholic and from another canton (Valais). Their correspondence has been preserved. It gives a good insight into the sentiments, morals, male-female relationship, Protestant-Catholic and the importance of fortune within the bourgeoisie. In the correspondence, these aspects are often discussed and they have also been a reason to end the relationship eleven times. The twelfth time, in a letter dated 4 November 1817, Eugénie made a definitive decision.

In today’s social media, correspondence is much quicker, less courteous and less long-winded. The discussions also have different content, but the sentiments remain the same. Incidentally, Eugénie and Charles both married shortly afterwards, they with notary Charles Stoecklin (1793 – 1842) from Fribourg, he with Aglaé de Bons (1797 – 1864).