Watercolour on ivory. Circle of Jean Baptiste Isabey (1767-1855). Miniature portrait of the Emperor, bust-length, wearing the green tunic of a Colonel of the Chasseurs à Cheval de la Garde Impériale and breast badges of Legion d’Honneur and Order of the Iron Crown, that he habitually wore during his banishment on St Helena. Image size: 10.5cm (4in) x 7.5cm (3in). Contained in a period gilt metal frame and protected within a sabretache shaped presentation case 21cm (8.25in) x 16cm (6.25in).
Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767-1855) was the most famous of all European portrait miniature painters of the turn of the 19th century, and consequently inspired numerous talented imitators supplying the Imperial court, functionaries throughout the empire and the wider market of the Napoleon cult. The size and quality of the present portrait sets it apart many contemporary examples.