This plaque and the following lot appear to form part of a series of important Frenchmen of the Napoleonic era painted by Liènard. Five plaques from the series depicting Duroc, Cambaceres, Barras, General Desaix and Paoli were sold in these Rooms on 11th December 2000, lots 411-415.
Joachim Murat was initially in Louis XVI's Constitutional Guard before he switched his loyalty to Napoleon in 1795. He served in campaigns in Egypt, Italy, Austria and Prussia; and at Aboukir, Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau and Friedland. His services were brilliantly conspicuous and in 1800 he married Napoleon's youngest sister, Caroline. He was appointed Senator, Sovereign Prince, Grand Admiral of France and Marshal of the Empire. After Napoleon's brother was made King of Spain in 1808, leaving the throne of Naples vacant, Murat became the King of Naples. Caroline persuaded him to desert Napoleon, which he did in February 1814. He briefly supported Napoleon again before being forced to flee his Kingdom. He landed at Pizzo in Calabria on 13th October 1815, and was shot the same afternoon.