Step into Napoleon's boots…

On 22 November 2019, by Claire Papon

Lovers of historical mementoes, get your diaries out! A pair of boots worn by Napoleon I on St Helena are leaving a Parisian collection for the auction room.

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.
Estimate: €50,000/80,000.

These boots "à l'écuyère" (soft, knee-high with turn-down tops) are part of the legendary image of the "petit caporal" on his campaigns, along with his bicorne hat and grey frock coat. After his death, they were lent by General Bertrand (1773-1844), the Emperor's companion on St Helena, to the sculptor Carlo Marochetti (1805-1867) to help with an equestrian statue of Napoleon intended for the Esplanade des Invalides, but the commission was finally cancelled in 1853. They passed down to the artist's son, Maurizio Marochetti, and then to Paul Le Roux (1850-1923), sénateur of the Vendée region, whose family has kept them to this day. In 1936, they appeared in the Petit Palais exhibition "Gros et ses élèves" (Gros and his Students), in Paris. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts has a pair of boots with a similar design and make to the ones here. It seems they have exactly the same reinforced seams and low heels, and are also attributed to the bootmaker Jacques of Rue Montmartre, supplier to the Emperor. During the first quarter of the year XIII (autumn 1804), in addition to numerous pairs of shoes, pumps, mules and slippers, Jacques provided him with ten pairs of boots "à l'écuyère", lined with fleece and silk plush, for 800 francs. Orders followed on for shoes of all kinds, and boots lined with silk all the way up, at 80 francs a pair. The shoemaker described how Napoleon tended to stir up fires in the bivouacs with the toe of his boot. A bad habit, to be sure, but a bonus for collectors of historical mementoes, who will see in it a tangible trace of the famous Corsican....

Friday 29 November 2019 - 14:00 - Live
Salle 1-7 - Drouot-Richelieu - 9, rue Drouot - 75009
Binoche et Giquello
La Drouot Gazette offers you 4Articles.
You still have 3 article(s) left to read.
I subscribe