Bust of Napoleon I

Maker Sèvres Manufactory (France), After Antoine-Denis Chaudet (French, 1763–1810)

Object Place: Europe, France


52.5 x 27 x 22.5 cm (20 11/16 x 10 5/8 x 8 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Hard-paste biscuit porcelain

Out on Loan

On display at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, January 23, 2018 – May 13, 2018






Impressed at front center of base: SEVRES; Inscribed at front center of base: NAPOLEON/ A.M. LE MARECHAL BESSIERRES/ LE JOUR DE LA VISITE DE SA MAJESTE/ A LA MANUFACTURE DE SEVRES.


Signed, at front of base: Chaudet. f.


April 22, 1806, sold by the Sèvres factory to Napoleon Bonaparte (b. 1769 - d. 1821) for Jean-Baptiste Bessières (b. 1768 - d. 1813) [see note 1]; by descent within the family to the Prince Murat; March 16, 1987, Murat and others sale, Nouveau Drouot, Paris, lot 86, sold for 50,000 fr. 1987, Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York; 1987, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 28, 1987)

[1] This is the second of five life-sized busts of Napoleon created at the Sèvres factory between 1805 and 1808. The Sèvres archives indicate that Napoleon purchased this bust in 1806 for 1,000 fr. as a gift for Jean-Baptiste Bessières, a French marshal in the Napoleonic army. The bust is inscribed on its base: "A M. LE MARECHAL BESSIERES / LE JOUR DE LA VISITE DE SA MAJESTE / A LA MANUFACTURE DE SEVRES" [for the Marshal Bessières, on the day of his majesty's visit to the Sèvres factory].

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by Randolph J. Fuller, Mrs. Caleb Loring, John L. Gardner, G. Peabody and Rose Gardner Charitable Trust, and Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund