Devil or Genius? Wise Emperor or Brutal Dictator?
In 1799, a Corsican army Corporal seized control of France and altered the history of the
Western World. In a series of brilliant military maneuvers he conquered all of Western
Europe and became one of the greatest military commanders in history.
In 1804 he took the crown from the Pope’s hands and crowned himself Emperor and also
instituted the Code Napoleon which consolidated and revised the civil law of France. This
code had a significant effect on the law of most other Western Cultures. The new code
compromised the French Revolution, but also gave new rights to the common man and
established a new legal basis for the relationship between the common man and the
inherited aristocracy. However, as Emperor he crushed both democracy and monarchy and
concentrated all power in the same person--himself.
Of course he had an enormous ego which ultimately caused his downfall. The widely held
story that he was "small" is a myth however. He was just slightly below average size in
height, but the difference between the British and French system of measurements resulted
in the story that he was diminutive.
This magnificent large (9.8") cast silver spoon is a late Victorian era homage to Napoleon.
The finial figure of “The Little Colonel” is 3.6" high and is derived from the portrait by
Jacques Louis David. Supporting the pedestal, is an art nuevo floral arrangement
surrounding the crown and below is the Imperial Eagle. The spoon contains a variety of
Victorian era French silver marks. On page 24 of my book, Collectible Souvenir Spoons,
plates 46 and 47 show Dianne Zinn’s magnificent cast king and queen by the Gorham
Company. You will notice that the 3.0” bowl on this spoon is virtually identical to the
bowls on Dianne’s spoons. I suspect that the same French company manufactured all
three of these gorgeous pieces.
The figure on this spoon is derived from an 1810 painting by Jacques Louis David, the official court painter.
The Napoleon imperial eagle tops this hand painted portrait spoon
Five beautiful spoons featuring portraits of Napoleon
This huge fork and spoon set feature a 4" full figural of Napoleon (which is slightly larger than the picture above). The entire spoon is about 10.4" and the fork is just slightly smaller. They also have the typical Napoleon accroutements including the imperial eagle and the "imperial N". The spoon is marked with a crowned "A", but the fork is unmarked. note: the marks near the bottom of the fork tines are just light reflections.
left: Typical 800 souvenir spoon featuring a bust of
Napoleon with folded
arms as the finial. The transfer printed bowl features
" la Colonne Vendome" in Paris
right: the same spoon with an embossed view of La Colonne Vendome in the bowl. These spoons are actually the same size.
note: many smaller versions of Napoleon are also found on spoons