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Miniature - Grenadier de la Garde sur l'Ile d’Elbe,
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Miniature - Grenadier de la Garde sur l'Ile d’Elbe,

Early 19th Century

Measurements: Overall: 12cm (4.75in) x 9.5cm (3.75in)



Oil on panel miniature after Horace Vernet (1789-1863). Glazed and contained in period hardwood frame with gilt slip.

Probably produced from the 1820 engraving of Vernet’s propaganda picture for the Bonapartist cause, the present miniature depicts Napoleon, seen on the distant cliff, in exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba from 4 May 1814 to 26 February 1815 when he escaped to France. On Elba Napoleon was permitted a bodyguard of seven hundred men. The Old Guard Grenadier (or ‘Grumbler’) wears patched trousers and gaiters made of mattress ticking - details included by Vernet to suggest the hardships endured by Napoleon and his men in exile. The ship in the right background is presumably intended for L’Inconstant which carried Napoleon back to France. It is unknown why Vernet shows the tricolour beside Napoleon the wrong way round. The original painting by Vernet is in the Wallace Collection (West Gallery III).\