Original France Crimean War Era Napoleon III French Imperial Eagle Brass Flag Pole “Topper”

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. Now this is a lovely piece of French history! This is a fantastic example of a Napoleon III Imperial French Eagle which would have sat at the top of a flag pole. The condition is rather excellent due to the fact that it was constructed out of thin brass sheet material.

The French Imperial Eagle refers to the figure of an eagle on a staff carried into battle as a standard by the Grande Armée of Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars.

Although they were presented with regimental colors, Napoleon's regiments tended to carry at their head the Imperial Eagle.

This example measures approximately 12” x 6” and is offered in wonderful condition. There are some dents, bends and folds present, but that is expected with thin metal material. The hole for the actual pole is a little misshapen but does appear able to still be mounted on a pole if you would wish to do so.

A lovely example ready for further research and display.

On 5 December 1804, three days after his coronation, Napoleon distributed aigles based on the eagle standards of the Roman legions. The standards represented the regiments raised by the various departments of France, and were intended to institute feelings of pride and loyalty among the troops who would be the backbone of Napoleon's new Imperial regime. Napoleon gave an emotional speech in which he insisted that troops should defend the standards with their lives. This event was depicted in The Distribution of the Eagle Standards, an 1810 painting by Jacques-Louis David.

The original design was sculpted by Antoine-Denis Chaudet and then copies were cast in the workshop of Pierre-Philippe Thomire, with the first eagles presented on 5 December 1804. It was a bronze sculpture of an eagle on a plinth, with one claw resting on "Jupiter's spindle". weighing 1.85 kg (4 lb), mounted on top of the blue regimental flagpole. They were made from six separately cast pieces designed along Roman lines and, when assembled, measured 310 mm (12 in) in height and 255 mm (10 in) in width. On the base would be the regiment's number or, in the case of the Imperial Guard, Garde Impériale. The eagle bore the same significance to French Imperial regiments as the colors did to British regiments - to lose the eagle would bring shame to the regiment, who had pledged to defend it to the death. Upon Napoleon's fall, the restored monarchy of King Louis XVIII ordered all eagles to be destroyed; only a very small number were preserved. When the former emperor returned to power in 1815 (known as the Hundred Days), he immediately had more eagles produced, although the quality did not match the originals. The workmanship was of a lesser quality and the main distinguishing changes had the new models with closed beaks and they were set in a more crouched posture.

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