Also in May 1809

BBC Music Magazine - - The Full Score -

5th: US pres­i­dent James Madi­son signs Mary Dixon Kies’s patent for a method of weav­ing straw with silk and thread to make hats. Kies’s patent – which is prob­a­bly the first to be awarded to a woman in the US – de­lights the pres­i­dent’s wife Dol­ley, who sends her a let­ter con­grat­u­lat­ing her in per­son.

8th: The sculp­tor Au­gustin Pa­jou dies in Paris, aged 78. A win­ner of the pres­ti­gious Prix de Rome while still in his teens, Pa­jou’s most fa­mous work in­cludes busts of the sci­en­tist Ge­orges-louis Le­clerc, Comte de Buf­fon and Madame du Barry, mis­tress of Louis XV, and a statue of the the­olo­gian Jac­ques-bénigne Bos­suet. His son, Jac­ques, is a well-known painter.

17th: Napoleon is­sues a de­cree an­nounc­ing that the Pa­pal States are to be an­nexed by the French Em­pire, with the Pope, Pius VII, re­ceiv­ing two mil­lion francs per year in com­pen­sa­tion. The Pope re­tal­i­ates by ex­com­mu­ni­cat­ing Napoleon but, as re­la­tions con­tinue to de­te­ri­o­rate, he is then kid­napped by one of the Em­peror’s of­fi­cers. Napoleon does lit­tle to se­cure his re­lease.

24th: De­signed by Daniel Asher Alexan­der and built by lo­cal labour­ers over the course of three years, Dart­moor Prison opens in Devon. It is pri­mar­ily in­tended to house French sol­diers cap­tured dur­ing the Napoleonic wars, but will also later hold Amer­i­can pris­on­ers of war. Its fa­cil­i­ties in­clude a the­atre and a gam­bling room.

25th: A pop­u­lar up­ris­ing in Chuquisaca (modern-day Su­cré, Bo­livia) leads to the dis­po­si­tion of the Span­ish gov­er­nor, Ramón Gar­cía León de Pizarro. A new rul­ing junta is formed by the Real Au­di­en­cia of Char­cas (the lo­cal law court), sup­ported by the Univer­sity of Saint Fran­cis Xavier. Though the rev­o­lu­tion leads to sim­i­lar up­ris­ings else­where in South Amer­ica, the junta is soon de­feated by Span­ish forces.

Sim­ply the bust: sculp­tor Au­gustin Pa­jou

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