Portrait of Léopoldine Hugo. Painted by Auguste de Châtillon in 1836, on the day of her first communion.
|Born||Léopoldine Cécile Marie-Pierre Catherine Hugo
28 August 1824
|Died||4 September 1843
Léopoldine was born in Paris, the second of five children and eldest daughter of Victor Hugo and Adèle Foucher. She was named after her paternal grandfather, as was her late brother Léopold (who died barely after his birth.)
Later life and death
She married Charles Vacquerie at Saint-Paul-Saint-Louis on 15 February 1843, but they both drowned together only a few months later, when their boat capsized on the Seine in Villequier on 4 September 1843. She was 19 years old and pregnant and she died when her wet, heavy skirts pulled her down, and her husband died trying to save her. This tragic event had a great impact on the work and personality of her father, Victor Hugo. He dedicated numerous poems to the memory of his daughter, notably Demain dès l'aube and À Villequier in Pauca Meae, the fourth book of Les Contemplations. Victor Hugo did not write for several years afterwards owing to the clinical depression he developed following Léopoldine's death.
- Graham, Robb. Victor Hugo: A Biography. W.W. Norton, 1997, p. 682.
- (in French) Complete text of Contemplations, on Wikisource
- (in French) The Maison Vacquerie, in Villequier, houses the departemental Museum of Victor Hugo
- Reely's Poetry Pages Hear "Demain, des l'aube"
- Léopoldine – Série Noire (Swiss popband) Video on YouTube, musical version of the poem "Demain, dès l'aube," written by Léopoldine's father Victor Hugo