Enquire

To enquire about this item please enter your details below and we will contact you shortly.

(Your details will not be shared with any third parties)

Tick the box below if you would like to receive the Armoury of St James's Bulletin - a quarterly e-newsletter that showcases an exclusive selection of the latest military antiques offered at our premises in Piccadilly Arcade.

Please note that your details are used solely for dealing with your enquiry and will not be sold or passed on to any third parties.

Bronze Bust of Emperor Napoleon I, 1840
Hover over image to zoom, click to expand.

Bronze Bust of Emperor Napoleon I, 1840

Measurements: Overall height: 25.5cm (10in)

£1600

Enquire

Bronze bust of Napoleon I after Antoine Denis Chaudet (1783-1810). Inscribed ‘NAPOLEON’ and ‘Chaudet’ to the front. Cast by the Barbedienne Foundry, Paris. Signed to the side ‘F. BARBEDIENNE, FONDEUR’, the reverse stamped with the Achille Collas ‘reduction mecanique’ and inscribed '72'. Mounted on a green marble plinth. 

The present bust is based on the marble by Chaudet, the official sculptor to the Premier Consul and Imperial family from 1802. Following Napoleon’s defeat at and exile in 1815, scorn for Napoleon gave way to admiration. Lady Holland, for instance, raised a bust of the exiled ex-dictator on a nine foot high column in her garden at Holland House, above an inscription that reminded fellow admirers that on a 'distant, sea-girt island, harsh men the hero keep'. The present bronze further reflects the revival of enthusiasm for Napoleon that followed the return of his mortal remains to France in 1840 and continued to flourish under the Second Empire (1852-70). 

Barbardienne was one of the most prestigious nineteenth century Paris bronze foundries. In 1838 Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) profitably utilized a process invented by Achille Collas of accurately downsizing monumental sculptures to more manageable sizes by mechanic reduction.  The first cast using ‘reduction mecanique’ was of the Venus de Milo discovered in 1820. Other classical and celebrated subjects followed and as a testament to the assured quality of their output, artists, such as Rude, Barye, and Mene all had their work cast by the partnership from 1843.

Enquire