The Barbet ‘Mous’ and a Grenadier of the French Revolutionary & Napoleonic Wars, 1840
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Height overall: 29cm (11.5in)
Patinated bronze. After a model Jean-Francois-Theodore Gechter (1796-1844), a veteran infantryman seated and cross legged, leaning on his 1777 pattern Charleville musket, with a barbet dog at his feet, alluding perhaps to ‘Moustache’, a famous example of that woolly sporting dog breed. The story of ‘Moustache’ or ‘Mous’ would have been familiar to many in France in the 1840s who harked back to the glory days of the Napoleonic era. ‘Mous’s military exploits were recounted in many publications and were no doubt exaggerated and partly fictionalised. Moustache is said to have been born in Falaise, Normandy in 1799 and to have joined ‘a grenadier regiment’ at Caen. He followed the regiment through the Italian Campaign of the Revolutionary Wars and is said to have alerted the regiment to a surprise night attack by Austrian forces. He is reported to have been present at the Battle of Marengo, during which he lost an ear, and with a cuirassier regiment at the Battle of Austerlitz.
Our Grenadier is attired in National Uniform as worn from the commencement of the French Revolutionary Wars until 1812, together with a large bicorne that was worn until the introduction of the shako in 1807. Other equipment includes cross belt with 1786 pattern cartridge box (giberne), adorned with the Napoleonic eagle and flaming grenade badges, and the 1801 pattern cowhide knapsack. He further sports the mandatory moustache, epaulettes and bicorne pom-pom that distinguish this infantryman as a Grenadier.