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Napoleon I
  • Date: 1810
  • Object Type: Miniature
  • Medium: Sepia on card
  • Image size: 21.5 x 17 cm
  • Inv: M232
  • Location: West Gallery III
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Further Reading
  • Jean-Baptiste Isabey, who first worked in Paris for Marie-Antoinette, was adept at securing patronage from the varied political systems in power during his long life. Under Napoleon he rose to become Court Painter, providing with the help of a large studio countless miniatures of the Emperor and his extensive family. This is actually a sepia drawing rather than a miniature, but it shows the high quality of draughtsmanship of which Isabey was capable. Napoleon wears robes of state as well as a laurel wreath and the collar of the Legion of Honour. One of Isabey’s duties had been to design the costumes for Napoleon’s coronation in 1804. This is an almost disembodied image of the Emperor as national sovereign rather than as a soldier, though it conforms to Isabey's standard formula of showing Napoleon head and shoulders, looking determinedly towards his left.