Framed Crowned Cypher of Emperor Napoléon III & Empress Eugénie, As Worn By The Crew of Imperial Yacht ‘L’Aigle’
Gilt Brass Badge
French Second Empire
Circa 1857 (the badges)
Circa 1891 (the frame etc)
26 cm x 22.2 cm (Framed)
A framed ormolu/gilt brass crown of Napoleon III, with eagle-shaped arches topped by a 'monde', above an entwined “N E” monogram cypher, a scroll-shaped plaque beneath, engraved with the legend “Badge worn by the Crew of The Imperial Yacht "AIGLE" When either NAPOLEON III or the EMPRESS EUGENIE were on Board”. All beneath glass, mounted on brown velvet within an ornate frame. The back also glazed and displaying an article taken from ‘The Morning Post’ of June 23rd 1891 relating to the sale of Imperial Yacht ‘L’Aigle’ and “the fabric of the vessel”.
During the reign of Napoleon III ‘L’Aigle’ was launched as a magnificent projection of Imperial prestige. In its heyday ‘L’Aigle’ was the first vessel to officially pass through the Suez Canal at the opening of the monumental waterway in 1869 with the Empress Eugénie aboard as guest of honour. After the deposition of Emperor Napoleon III and his exile in England, ‘L’Aigle’ was renamed ‘Le Rapide’ during the Third Republic. She was decommissioned in 1885, sold in 1891 and scrapped at Cherbourg.
The monogram of the "N" of l'empereur Napoléon III beneath the Napoleonic imperial crown ("la couronne impériale") entwined with the "E" of his wife l'impératrice Eugénie is unusual but not without precedent on items which were associated with the Imperial couple. A leather box containing Eugénie's rosary beads which is decorated with a similar gilt metal N and E cypher to the lid is held by the Fondation Napoleon.
Good condition. Slight corrosion and verdigris to the gilt bronze. Some losses and restoration to the gesso detailing on the frame. The velvet possibly faded to brown from purple.