This drawing almost certainly is the working preparatory design for Napoleon I's coronation mantel, worn by him during the ceremonies du Sacre on 2 December 1804. Napoleon, who wanted not only a confirmation by the people for his new title, also arranged a religious coronation in the presence of Pope Pius VII. He defended his request:
Le sacre est une invocation de la puissance céleste en faveur d'une dynastie nouvelle, invocation faite dans les formes ordinaires du culte le plus ancien, le plus général, le plus populaire en France
(The coronation is an invocation of the celestial power in favor of a new dynasty. The invocation is done in the regular manner of the oldest and most popular cult in France.)
The day of his coronation, he wore the petit habillement, including the robe incorporating this design, when proceeding from the Tuilleries to Notre Dame in his eight horse-drawn chariot accompanied by another 11 chariots and many dignitaries on horseback and soldiers on foot. The Empress Joséphine was seated to the left and his sons Joseph and Louis before them. When entering the archbishop's palace they changed into the grand habillement before entering the church and Napoleon being crowned. After the ceremony, Napoleon and Joséphine returned to the archbishop's palace and changed back into the petit habillement, including the mantel and returned to the Tuilleries. The festivities continued for a full 15 days and Napoleon continued to wear the mantel for several occasions.
Interestingly a second, almost identical mantel was supplied to him for his second marriage, to Marie-Louise, on 24 March 1810. Both mantels are today exhibited at Fontainebleau.
The designs for Napoleon's constumes for this occasion were prepared by Jean-Baptiste Isabey (d. 1855), a friend of both Napoleon and Joséphine. In 1805 Isabey became Dessinateur du Cabinet et des Cérémonies, Directeur des Décorations de l'Opéra and Conservateur adjoint du Musée Impérial, and was as such responsible for organising all of their intimate and official parties at the Tuileries, Saint-Cloud and at Malmaison. He may, however, be best known for his outstanding miniatures, while he also professed in lithographies, oil painting and as a portrait painter. For the coronation constumes, Vacher supplied the fabric and Chevallier was the tailor, while it was Picot who embroidered the heavy silver and gold-thread patterns onto the mantel. The cost of the tailoring amounted to a bare 500 livres, while the embroidery cost 10,000 francs.