Le bivouac de l’Empereur (The Emperor’s bivouac)

from 21/03/2019 to 01/09/2019
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Napoleon’s “Garde-meuble” is on display at the Wellington Museum in Waterloo from 21 March to 1 September, campaign tents, luxurious portable furniture and clever objects that were designed and made for the Emperor to take wherever he travelled, whether in war or in peace. The exhibition is completed by iconographic documents, pictorial works and patents related to the creation of these objects. In collaboration with the Mobilier National, and the manufactories of Les Gobelins, Beauvais and Savonnerie,  supported by several loans from the Fondation Napoléon Collection.

Le bivouac de l’Empereur (The Emperor’s bivouac)

Napoleon I was a great traveller. Even when he was on military campaigns, the Emperor was accompanied by objects that were worthy of his rank. Every time he set up camp, he was accustomed to being surrounded by luxurious (foldable) furniture and sophisticated accessories. The Garde-Meuble Impérial, predecessor of the Mobilier National, was the guardian of these objects. The Maison de l’Empereur, for its part, was responsible for maintaining the proper habits and etiquette of the imperial palace. In order to prevent accidents while travelling, these costly and finely-crafted pieces of furniture and equipment that accompanied the Emperor on his travels were generally protected by specially-made transport cases, which were themselves also beautifully made. The furniture for Napoleon’s “bivouac” needed to combine both practical considerations (in order to withstand constant manipulation) as well as comfort and refinement with a corresponding choice of materials.

The Fondation Napoléon is lending the following objects :

The Rotunda, Decorated with Tapestries, which Greeted Guests on their Arrival at Notre-Dame for the Coronation of Napoleon as Emperor by Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine (Pen and ink, wash, watercolour and pencil)
Plate from Emperor Napoleon I’s campaign kit (Silver)
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, King of Italy and protector of the Confederation of the Rhine (Black Stone, Watercolour, Gouache)
Napoleon’s travel nécessaire (silver, gilt silver, copper, teak, steel, ivory, nacre, tortoise shell, glass)
– Map of the French Empire (Paper, colour engraving)
– Map of Germany and plan of Saint-Pétersbourg (colour engraving and canvas)
– ‘Nécessaire’ belonging to the Duchesse d’Otrante (mahogany, gilt silver, ebony, gold, ivory, cristal, morocco, bronze and gilt copper)
Duroc, Grand Maréchal du Palais’s writing case (red morocco)
Carrying case for the plates from the Service particulier de l’Empereur (green morocco, silk)
Plate from the service particulier de l’Empereur : Attaque de l’île Lobau (Sèvres Porcelain, painted, Empire Marli Green, gold)
Cutlery [fork and spoon] and knife bearing the insignia of the Emperor, in their carrying case (steel, gilding, red morocco)
 The Emperor’s campaign “gobelet” and it’s case (engraved cristal, goat leather)
Notes et fragments sur ma campagne d’Autriche en 1809. Réflexions préliminaires [Notes and fragments on my Austrian campaign in 1809. Preliminary thoughts] (red morocco leather, paper)
Organisation de la Maison de l’Empereur et de l’Impératrice, et règlement sur l’étiquette du Palais Impérial, [Organisation of the House of the Emperor and Empress, and regulations on the etiquette of the Imperial Palace] À Paris, De l’Imprimerie impériale (printed book)

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