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THE FONDATION NAPOLEON

The Fondation Napoléon is a registered charity committed to the encouragement of
the study of and interest in the history of the First and Second Empires,
and the preservation of Napoleonic heritage.

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RESEARCH GRANTS 2010

RESEARCH GRANTS: FIRST EMPIRE 2010

  •  Bonald homme politique : de la métaphysique à l'action. Une étude sur l'œuvre parlementaire de Bonald et sa place dans la vie politique française de la veille de la Révolution à la Monarchie de Juillet, by Flavien Alexandre Bertran de Balanda

    PhD thesis supervised by Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Paris IV Sorbonne

    Louis de Bonald, undisputed father of French counter-revolutionary thought, has paradoxically been little studied in comparison to his contemporary Joseph de Maistre. Furthermore, the work done on him has concentrated on his life and philosophical works. The fact is, Bonald was also a front line politician, particularly during the Restauration when he was député, Pair de France, King's Minister and Councillor, but he was also active during the Empire as conseiller de l'Université. Observation of the way that Bonald, the thinker held to be one of the most systematic and abstract philosophers of his time, transposed his metaphysically grounded theories to fit the solidity and immediacy of the real world (barely visible in his written work), will open new perspectives (some of which I have studied in consideration of Bonald's work a journalist. How is it possible for a complex doctrine, part defence of a re-invented Ancien Régime and part utopian, religio-historic flights of fancy, to be put into action? What is more, his thought is felt to be static: how much interaction and mutual contamination can be discerned between theory and practice? The final aim will be to see what place Bonald occupied in political life in the post-revolutionary period: how were his speeches, writings and opinions received and what was his role within the Ultra party, what was his audience and how far did his writings live on? Given that it is Bonald's Restoration career that has been most studied, this thesis will redress the balance, giving appropriate weight Bonald's thought in the Consulate and Empire periods and showing Bonald in action, Bonald as part of his time.


  •  Marguerite Gérard et la peinture de genre en France de la fin des années 1770 aux années 1820, by Carole Blumenfeld

    PhD thesis supervised by Patrick Michel, Université de Lille III - Charles de Gaulle

    Marguerite Gérard is perhaps one of the most famous genre painters of her generation. Present on the artistic scene for nearly fifty years, her career stretched from the latter years of the 1770s to the very end of the 1820s.
    This thesis will seek to demonstrate how, during the 1780s, the artists working during this period reinvented the genre style as much through their stylistic approach as through their choice of subjects. Widespread success, however, was to come later, during the Empire period, when the Salon and the art market became arenas ripe for the promotion and circulation of their work. Marguerite Gérard was able to adroitly vary her style depending on her clearly defined target audience. Indeed, in a wider context which saw painters adapt their output in response to the public's taste for genre paintings of great detail and which bore close ties to the literature and comic opera of the time, this was not unusual. In doing so, Gérard succeeded in catching the eye of the most sought-after art-lover in Paris: Cardinal Fesch. The emperor's uncle went on to purchase no less than eleven of Gérard's paintings. And in choosing to buy the paintings that she displayed at Paris' Salons, his support was to prove as conspicuous as it was material. This characteristic was particularly evident in the exhibition "Le Cardinal Fesch et l'art de son temps" (Ajaccio, Musée Fesch, June-September 2007).
    The display collections belonging to the cardinal and the Comte de Perrégaux allow us to establish Marguerite Gérard's reputation within the upper confines of Parisian society. Her popularity can also be felt abroad, particularly in England, Holland, and Russia, where a number of her paintings were hung.


  •  La politique étrangère du Royaume de Naples dans le système impérial napoléonien. Les dernières années du Royaume (1813-1814), by Nicoletta Marini d'Armenia

    PhD thesis supervised by Luigi Mascilli Migliorini, Istituto universitario orientale di Napoli, Italy

    Studies concerning the years 1813 and 1814 have largely chosen to focus on the life of Murat or the political and military collapse of the Napoleonic Empire. Recently, historians have begun to investigate more closely the nature of the Napoleonic Empire and its federative projects. It is Murat's own personal approach to the various constituent elements of the federative system and their inter-relationships in the sphere of international relations that essentially led to the final crisis of 1813-1814.
    Joachim's arrival on the Neapolitan throne in 1808 on the one hand brought an increased dynamism to Naples' role on the international stage, in turn making it more "Neapolitan" and less "French" in character. On the other hand, this ascension threw into turmoil the relationship between the imperial system's centre and its peripheries. The history of Napoleonic Italy poses some extremely probing questions regarding this federative system. French-governed Italy thus constitutes a highly appropriate case-study for the examination of the federative empire, its economic and political nature and the potential issues arising, broadly speaking, whether this rather weak empire could have survived in the long-term.
    This investigation will be based primarily on 1) documents concerning the period of French involvement, found in the ministerial archives of the Neapolitan state's Foreign Affairs department, and 2) documents held by the Società di Storia Patria, in Naples. In addition to this, a detailed investigation will be made into the records kept in the Archives Nationales and Archives des Affaires Etrangères in Paris.


  •  Les correspondants de la Banque de France (1800-1820). Etude sur l'activité de l'institut d'émission en province et à l'étranger au début du XIXe siècle, by Emmanuel Prunaux

    PhD thesis supervised by Patrice Gueniffey, Ecole des hautes études en Sciences sociales, Paris

    The aim of this thesis is to reconstruct the policies of the Banque de France via research on its correspondents in the provinces and outside France.
    A few weeks before the creation of the Banque de France, 150 correspondents were appointed in to oversee operations outside Paris. The network included more or less one office per département and covered a zone delimited by Hamburg, London, Cadiz and Leghorn (Livorno). Agents' duties comprised the 'escompte' and 'encaissement' of 'effets de commerce' on behalf of the issuing institution, the reimbursement of bank paper and the representation of the Banque de France in local tribunals. Correspondents also helped in the services which the bank provided for the state in the provinces, namely: the 'encaissement' of receivers-general's 'obligations', payment of 'rentes' and 'pensions', the management of the national lottery ... They also were required to provide data regarding the economic health of the nation and to rank principle merchants in order of credit risk.
    Since the activity of correspondents involved the movement of several millions, it is of primary importance for the study of financial transactions between Paris and the provinces, notably: the circulation of bank notes a matter still today largely unknown. Study of the 'escompte commercial' and the reports on the economic health of the nation will make it possible to draw up an economic map of France throughout the period.
    Since the commissions simply covered costs, this network of correspondents is closest in style to what we would call today a "public service payment" designed to facilitate the operations of the state and Parisian bankers. The different witnesses show that it was perceived as a tool which enabled the Banque de France to establish its monetary authority over the whole of the land. This thesis will use the unpublished archives of the Banque de France (accountancy documents, minutes of the Conseil général, correspondance...) and also the archives related to the correspondents both in the provinces and outside France (Amsterdam, Avignon, Cadiz, Hamburg, Madrid, Nantes, Rheims and Toulouse) with the aim of clarifying certain little-known aspects of the financial history of France from the Consulate to the Restoration.


  •  Les chasses des souverains en France 1804-1830, by Charles-Eloi Vial

    PhD thesis supervised by Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Paris IV Sorbonne

    The hunt had been the privileged activity of kings since the Mediaeval period, and for the later Bourbons it became a consuming passion. Indeed Louis XV and Louis XVI were to be criticised by a proto-public opinion; it was thought that hunts were expensive and that they distracted the rulers from the duties of government. The royal hunt disappeared with the fall of the monarchy. But Napoleon, with his desire to appropriate the outward show of monarchical legitimacy, brought it back. Throughout his reign, he made the hunt an instrument of power, using it to regulate Court life and to impress visiting diplomats and foreign sovereigns. It was also a means whereby the Emperor, in practising a typically aristocratic activity, joined the club of kings and princes and at the same time presented himself in monarchical guise, a factor which was supposed to legitimise him in the eyes of his subjects. Marshal Berthier was appointed Grand veneur and given the task of organising the imperial hunt in exactly the same way as it had been done under Louis XVI. Napoleon made the hunt a powerful political instrument and a Court indulgence whilst at the same time making considerable savings. The Restoration in fact chose not to revive Ancien régime customs but preserved the Napoleonic hunt structures and administration; indeed the royal hunts were to run on Napoleonic lines until 1830. This gave rise to the paradox of a Restoration attempting to reinvigorate monarchical customs and tradition but using structures created by Napoleon. I propose to study this personnel, budgetary and political continuity concentrating particularly on the establishment of the hunt around Paris, making it possible for the Court to circulate around the different imperial hunting residences, the creation of certain hunting days, and the instrumentalisation of the presence of important political figures.

RESEARCH GRANTS: SECOND EMPIRE 2010

  •   Le métissage architectural et ornemental du château d'Abbadia à Hendaye. Une histoire du goût sous le Second Empire by Viviane Delpech

    PhD thesis supervised by Dominique Dussol, Université de Pau et des pays de l'Adour

    The Château d'Abbadia was built by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and his colleague Edmond Duthoit on a Basque promontory in Hendaye in the period 1864-1879 for the scientist/explorer Antoine d'Abbadie. With its medieval silhouette, English landscape garden, exotic plants and decor, neogothic, oriental, and Ethiopian furnishings, the building perfectly matches the patron. As a rich investor, Abbadie used his vast wealth to underline his fortune and his dedication to the highlife.
    Abbadie also had academic interests. He was elected Correspondant of the Académie des Sciences in 1852 and member of the institution in 1867. He furthermore shared a passion for the Basque language with Prince Louis-Lucien Bonaparte and with the emperor Napoleon III, who agreed to lay the foundation stone. It was for this reason that the château included an especially sumptuous imperial suite.
    This château represents a key element in Viollet-le-Duc's almost unknown civic architecture. It is furthermore complete and a rare example of a coherent Second Empire ensemble. And the complexity of the project makes it an excellent case study of architectural and builder collaboration. This chateau has never been studied before. The existing of body of correspondence relative to the construction work (circa 20.000 letters) provides an unparalleled source of information on the artistic and stylistic principles, influences, and chronology of construction. This work will also provide details on important but lesser known artisans of the period, namely the architecte/céramiste Léon Parvillée and the prolific landscape gardener Eugène Bühler.


  • Le patrimoine architectural et urbanistique du Mexique sous le Second Empire (1864-1867) : les projets d'un empereur, by Nizza Santiago

    PhD thesis supervised by Barthélémy Jobert Paris IV Sorbonne

    Architectural activity in Mexico during the Second Empire remains a largely ignored topic within the wider sphere of art history. Historiographical studies however have revealed a keenly felt enthusiasm for construction during the Porfirian period (1876-1910), a period that is generally recognised as a turning point in Mexico's development. The period between 1810 and 1864, marked by revolts, short-lived governments and ideological struggles, was clearly never going to be conducive to the development of grand architectural projects. And yet, during the second period of French intervention and particularly under Maximilian I (1864-1867), the Mexican capital nevertheless underwent a topographical metamorphosis.
    This thesis will undertake to illustrate the scope of imperial undertakings in Mexico and, for the first time, throw light on the work performed by the engineers, architects and landscapers who participated in these projects. Analysis of the roles played by individuals such as Ramon Rodriguez Arrangoiti, Karl Gangolf Kayser and Julius Hofmann, as well as Alois Bolland, Eleuterio Méndez and Wilhelm Knechtel, will form the crux of this collective study, allowing us to truly appreciate this display of ambition, initiative and modernity. Closely linked to the emergence of this new generation of architects, the programme of structural improvements carried out during the Second Mexican Empire will be studied through a number of historical and graphical sources, harvested from archive centres in Vienna, Brussels, Trieste, Paris and Mexico. The primary objective of this thesis is to offer new perspectives in the wider understanding of Latin-American architecture of the 19th century and thus measure the impact of a project intended to place the Mexican capital amongst the great cities of the world.

 
 
 

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