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Napoleon Puts His Best Foot Forward at Drouot

Published on , by Anne Doridou-Heim
Auction on 29 November 2019 - 14:00 (CET) - Salle 1-7 - Hôtel Drouot - 75009

These perfectly traceable boots, attributed to Napoleon I, are a size €117,2018.

Pair of boots "à l'écuyère" attributed to Emperor Napoleon I, in black morocco with... Napoleon Puts His Best Foot Forward at Drouot

Pair of boots "à l'écuyère" attributed to Emperor Napoleon I, in black morocco with low heels, lined with fine natural leather, the two bootstraps in woven grooved fabric, h. 48 cm, width (of the foot): around 26.5 cm.
Result: €117,208

The emperor wore a size 40: that much is clear from this pair of 48 cm riding boots in black morocco (given that Napoleon was 168.5 cm, the impression that he wasn't especially tall given by his full-length portraits is understandable). Their traceability goes back to General Bertrand (1773-1844), his most faithful companion, who was with him until the end in Saint Helena – one would be hard-pressed to find a more trustworthy source. As further proof of the passion these historic relics inflame, the pair of riding boots won the day at auction for €117,208. For Napoleon, it was hardly a matter of style, but rather comfort and suppleness, as he was often in the battlefield. His boot's simplicity matched that of his famous grey-serge coat. From the beginning of the Empire, he bought large quantities of shoes from Jacques, a shoemaker based in Paris's rue Montmartre, for 80 francs at the time. These particular boots were immortalised thanks to Paul Delaroche's 1840 painting, Napoleon I at Fontainebleau, painted the same year Napoleon’s ashes were returned to France, and now housed in the Musée de l’Armée in Paris. It conveys Napoleon's loneliness a mere days before his fall.

Friday 29 November 2019 - 14:00 (CET) - Live
Salle 1-7 - Hôtel Drouot - 75009
Giquello & Associés
Gazette Drouot
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