“Never the titles, the crosses, the cords
caused as much pleasure only to him. It made its delights of the
representation; in the living rooms and until the public places, it is
appeared, with the joy of a child, of his kinds, sometimes out of gold,
sometimes in pearls, sometimes out of diamonds, and, through these
puerilities, it was certainly the best head of the imperial Council.” (Etienne-Denis
Pasquier, Memories of my time)
IN LEGION OF HONOR MUSEUM
(pass the mouse on the boxes to open them)
"GRAND AIGLE" CHAIN
OF THE LEGION OF HONOR
January 30,1805 is created by decree a fifth rank of the Legion of honor
called Grand Aigle or Great Eagle. On February 1, a second decree confers
decoration on Cambaceres and to the other large officers (Joseph Bonaparte,
Louis Bonaparte, Lebrun, Kellermann, Lucien Bonaparte, Lacépède and Dejean).
Cambaceres requires of Martin-Guillaume Biennais, the goldsmith of the
Emperor, to manufacture his chain. Biennais carries out a copy (see
opposite) preserved today at the Kokagakuin university in Japan.
February 10, the Emperor gives his decoration during an official ceremony to
him to the palate of Tileries. With this occasion was also promoted prince
Borghèse, brother-in-law of Napoleon 1st.
With died Cambaceres, its nephew
Marie Jean-Pierre Hubert inherits the chain. In 1878, in the register of the
objects of the duke of Cambaceres, it is mentioned a chain of the Legion of
honor made by Biennais and having belonged to his uncle.
Then, the chain
is bought by a British jeweller named Spink in London. The trace of the
collar is lost in 1942 in the bombardment which entirely destroyed the
building of the jeweller.
IMPORTANT : I
would ask any person who might have any information about the "Grand Aigle"
chain of the Legion of honour to contact me at the following address: email@example.com.
DIGNITARY OF THE
ORDER OF CROWN OF WESTPHALIA
Order of the Crown of Westphalia is rested by Jerome Bonaparte on December
25, 1809. If little French receives this decoration, Cambaceres is
undoubtedly promoted dignitary of the Order of Westphalia shortly after its
creation, because his decoration is of the first type.
weighs 60 grams of gold and is composed of a crown supported by an eagle on
the lightning with the inscription “JE LES UNIS” and of a medallion
surrounded by a snake which bites his tail (symbol of eternity).
With the center, an eagle carrying a sceptre is leaned with a drawn up
animal (wolf or wild boar) : they carry a crown. Above, one finds the lion
of Cassel (on the left) and a pulled up horse (on the right), as well as a
blue enamelled ribbon carrying inscription “CHARAKTER UND AUFRICHTIGKEIT”
(Character and sincerity : undoubtedly the motto of the Order?).
With the back, the decoration is identical. The ribbon carries the creation
date of Order “EERICHTET DEN XXV DEZEMBER MDCCCIX” (25/12/1809) and
one finds an blazon marked H NR (Hieronimus Napoleon - Jerome Napoleon).
This important bestiary is at the origin of the nickname of the
decoration “the Zoo”. Napoleon declared himself “There is many
animals in this order”.
The decoration above is currently on sale in a gallery of
the Louvre des Antiquaires in Paris. For any further information,
please contact Mr. Patrice Reboul (http://www.patrice-reboul.com/).
I thank him to have allowed me to photograph this decoration.