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    Sale 5427

    Antique Arms & Armour

    17 December 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 148

    A VERY RARE FRENCH FIRST EMPIRE OFFICER'S HELMET OF THE 1ST & 2ND CARABINIERS, MODEL 1810

    CIRCA 1811-14

    Price Realised  

    A VERY RARE FRENCH FIRST EMPIRE OFFICER'S HELMET OF THE 1ST & 2ND CARABINIERS, MODEL 1810
    CIRCA 1811-14
    The skull, peak, neck-guard and crest all of bright gilt-copper, the latter decorated with neo-Classical ornament cast in low relief (crushed at the rear), fitted with silver border, silver headband of officer's pattern cast with leafy scrolls over the sides and applied with a gilt Imperial crown over a heavily defaced N, retaining its original chinscales of sixteen silver plates on leather backing faced with blue fabric, and with ties of tasselled silver wire cord (one missing five plates and the backing partly fragmented), fitted with a pair of silver plaques over the chinscale terminals, each cast in splendour and retained by a gilt star boss, the plaques matching that fitted in the centre of the breast-plate, retaining its original black silk lining on a deep leather band, the peak and neck-guard lined with leather (torn, the latter extensively so), and retaining its original scarlet horsehair comb
    14¼in (36.2cm) high


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    See Christian Aries, IX 3o fascicule, 1968, Cuirasses des Carabiniers en 1810, Troupe & Officiers.

    Also see Emir Bukhari and Angus McBride, Napoleon's Cuirassiers and Carabiniers, Osprey, 1977-98.

    The two regiments of Carabiniers were heavily engaged at both Quatre Bras and Waterloo. In the period immediately following Bonaparte's final defeat evidently it was common practice for surviving French troops to deface the emblems of the First Empire on their uniforms and equipment, as is seen in this helmet. It therefore follows that not only would this helmet have belonged to one of a relatively small number of Carabiniers officers surviving 1815 but that it was highly likely to have been worn at either Quatre Bras or Waterloo.

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