Following the reign of King Louis Phillipe in 1848, Napoleon III (1808-73) returned to France from his exile in Great Britain. Winning the first presidential election of the Second Republic, he served as the President of France from 1849-1852 and under the title Emperor from 1852-1870.
Made for use in all of the imperial residences and staff dining rooms, the present offerings are from the extensive Service de Napoleon III à Compiègne. The pieces with the ivy borders (Service à Chiffre Doré de L'Empereur Napoléon) were originally produced by Sèvres as the Service de Prince for Louis Phillipe. After the King was ousted it would seem that Sèvres was reticent to throw away perfectly good porcelain wares and simply acid-washed his monogram off and replaced it with that of Napoléon III, an action that explains why the dates from this particular service are of earlier date than those that make up the majority of the Service de Napoleon III à Compiègne.