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Gentleman's Military Interest Club
TS Allen

First Empire Imperial Guard Chapeau

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Hello friends!


Since it now is my profile picture, I thought I would share some more photos and details of the pride of my Napoleonic collection--a First Empire chapeau, of the pattern worn by the Imperial Guard.


Napoleon’s officers wore these on all formal occasions, and senior officers (including le petite corporal himself) wore them in camp and field. This chapeau is constructed of beaver skin and features an officer’s metallic cockade, gilded bullion ornamentation, and a regulation Imperial Guard officer’s gilded brass button. The ornamentation is correct for high-ranking officers of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, most likely a senior colonel or staff officer. (General officers usually wore a plume of black ostrich feathers.) The chapeau retains the original black leather sweatband and the original silk liner. A printed paper milliner’s label from “E. Degoy,” located at Rue de Bac, No. 8 in Rouen, is affixed to the crown of the liner. Rouen was home to many of France’s largest textile manufactures during the First Empire.


Condition: The condition is typical for relics from this period. The material of the chapeau is brittle but stable, as is the leather liner. The leather liner is slightly loose. There is moderate damage to each of the tips of the chapeau which has been carefully repaired and slight deformation to the left rear. There is also a roughly two-inch cut in the top rear.


Provenance: I acquired this from dealer Stephan Joan in May 2012 (the photos are his; he said at the time I should feel free to save them and make use of them).


If you are interested in the information I have collected on the valuation of such caps based on looking at auctions and sales since 2000, please PM me.








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That is a beautiful hat!  With textiles that old, how to you keep it safe?  (bad choice of words).  Is there a special way to store something like this.  I cant imagine it takes too well to being handled.  How do you display it without damage?


   A wonderful hat!

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Lovely indeed!  I expect to see a few such next month, at Waterloo!


"They came at us in the same old way, and we drove them off in the same old way."  Wellington.

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If that hat could only talk.......

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