"The Labyrinth Configuration"
box design & research by Steelgohst
many years, the only proof of the
existence of this elusive
box was an ancient photograph and the stories told amongst the
The photograph itself is thought to have been taken by LeMarchand himself (many years before the term photography was first used publicly in 1839) using techniques unwillingly taught to him by a man known as Tiphaigne de la Roche.
LeMarchand instructed Dr. Tiphaigne to keep the method a secret, but Tiphaigne later wrote a "fictional" book on the subject called Giphantie.
|In the story, "the people of an imaginary
wonderland" could fix perfectly reflected images onto a canvas
coated with a "sticky
substance." The canvas would not only represent the mirror image,
but after it
dried, the image would remain.
Due to the poor quality of the photograph some believed it to be nothing but a poor image of the "Box of Sorrows." It was not until the discovery of the tome known as "LeMarchand's Dreams" that contrary evidence was finally had.
|Using the print of "The Labyrinth Configuration" from the rare book to fill out the details, a new enhanced version of the photograph can now be seen. This is still the closest anyone has been to seeing the actual artifact for centuries.|
|The Labyrinth Configuration was created as a commission in 1749 and last seen in the hand of Gabrielle Émilie, a woman of some note in Parisian society.|
|Her body was discovered shortly after the birth of her child. The box was commissioned in a jealous rage by her husband, the Marquis du Châtelet after he discovered that she was pregnant by another man. Gabrielle and a small group of her friends (including the philosopher Voltaire) had gone to some lengths to convince her husband that the child was his, and evidently believed that they had done so. The Marquis had clearly known otherwise and commissioned LeMarchand to create for him a box with specific instructions on its design and intended results.|
Six days after his the
death of his wife, the Marquis drunkenly smothered her child before
dissapearing with the box. The last anyone saw of him was when he,
arriving wracked with tears, disheveled and clutching a small item
wrapped in one of Gabrielle' lace handkerchiefs, informed a close
friend of his crime. He reportedly spoke of his love for his
his need to go to her and help her find her way before running from the
building never to be seen again.
'LeMarchands Dreams' lists the primary construction materials as polished pewter and English oak stained a deep red.
Biographies of Women Mathematicians - Emilie du Châtelet