French M-1814 Carabiniere Helmet & Cuirass Set: Un-Restored Napoleonic Era (One Only)
Original Item: One Only. The Elite Carabiniere were part of the French Heavy Cavalry during the Napoleonic Wars. After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte following his retreat from Moscow in 1812 and his exile to the island of Elba, the French Monarchy were re-instated under King Louis XVIII. Unfortunately, this was short-lived with Napoleon's escape from Elba and dramatic return to France in 1815. History tells us that most all of France, including the Military, rose up in rebellion supporting the return of the Emperor and probably one of the world's most nail biting periods followed. All of Napoleon?s old Enemies mobilized and found themselves facing the ?Scourge of Europe?. Meanwhile, the entire French Army flocked to the Emperor's Banner including the elite Carabiniere. All Royal insignias were removed from the new uniforms and because of lack of time no former 1st Empire insignia was available. This dramatic period lasted just over three months and became known as "The 100 Days". The result was Napoleon's lighting strike into Belgium. The British together with their Dutch and Belgian Allies arrived before the Prussians, Austrians and Russians could join them. The Battle of Waterloo was a true turning point in Military History, Napoleon very nearly defeated Wellington and only the delayed but eventual arrival of the Prussians under Blucher saved the day. But for Fate Napoleon might have defeated Wellington and then without much difficulty defeated the Prussians, Austrians and Russians each in their own turn and history would be very different.
So much for the Historical Facts.
Here we offer, direct from an old European Collection, an extremely rare set of M-1814 Brass faced Cuirass and Helmet of the elite Carabiniere dating from this tumultuous period. This magnificent Helmet of Brass has had it's own Louis XVlll insignias/badges removed, very possibly for the 100 day Campaign. The helmet retains parts of it's original leather liner, both chained chin scales and it's wonderful acanthus leaf embossed crest surmounted by what appears to be it's original Red dyed Polar Bear Skin plume now turned to an orange color through age and shows signs of moth damage.
The Cuirass; both front and back plates retain their original substantial brass facings, however, one chained shoulder strap is absent (Reproductions are available) the other shoulder strap is present. Like the Helmet the Breast Badge has been removed leaving two unfilled mounting holes. This is the earliest issue of this pattern being very ?waisted? at the bottom edge. It is certainly true that some 1st Empire era Cuirasses were later re-issued in the late 1850s and 1860s bearing the insignias of Napoleon lll, however, they tended to be the fuller figured models as nutrition had progressed substantially over that 50 year period and most 1st Empire Cuirasses were far too small.
Both Helmet and Cuirass are offered on their original Museum quality wood & steel stand and are ready to display. An exciting and beautiful set from a very short period of History when the world?s fate hung in the balance.
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