The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
A Grenadier of the Guard at Elba
  • Horace Vernet (1789 - 1863)
  • A Grenadier of the Guard at Elba
  • France
  • c. 1818 - 1820
  • Painting
  • Oil on canvas
  • Image size: 64.7 x 54.8 cm
    Object size: 91.5 x 80.5 x 15.5 cm
  • Signature: 'H. Vernet'
  • P367
  • West Gallery III
Commentary
History
Further Reading
  • Painted in or before 1820 when the painting was engraved, this is a propaganda picture for the Bonapartist cause. Napoleon, seen on the distant cliff, was in exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba from 4 May 1814 to 26 February 1815 when he escaped to France. On Elba Napoleon was allowed to have his own army of seven hundred men. The grenadier shown here has patched trousers and gaiters made of mattress ticking - details included by Vernet to suggest the hardships endured by Napoleon and his men in exile. The ship in the right background is presumably intended for 'L’Inconstant' which carried Napoleon back to France. It is unknown why Vernet shows the tricolour beside Napoleon the wrong way round.