A collection of 24 miniature French Napoleonic Military Hats, attributable to Charles Sandre, made out of a variety of similar materials to the full-sized originals.
The collection consists of 22 Shakos, a Bearskin and a Busby. The Headdresses are for the Imperial Guard, Chasseur, Hussar, Light Infantry and Line Infantry Regiments. Within those Musicians, Administrators, Ordnance, Artillery, Skirmishers, Elite Skirmishers and Equipment Train units are represented.
The quality of the work is exceptional with the attention in detail to accurately show both the correct design and materials, the sign of a master maker. The feather plumes are a work of art in themselves but the miniature brass scales to the chin straps, the pressed brass regimental plates, the silk linings, rosettes and braid trim etc. all go to reflect the maker’s desire for his work to be the best that it could be. The helmets sit on turned boxwood hat stands with a slit to the front to take a name plate. These are missing but all but two of the Headresses have a hand-written paper label stuck to the back of the interior naming the regiment, year and sometimes the rank. The two without a label, the 16th Chasseurs a Cheval Meusicien and Artillerie a Cheval de Ligne, look to be by a different hand. They came without stands, although we have had two turned, and are slightly smaller in diameter. They are also lined in kid leather.
Charles Sandre worked between 1895 and 1915 and produced miniature figures in full uniform with equipment of the Grand Armee of the 1st Empire. He has a very good reputation, and a collection of his work is held in the entrance hall at the Army Museum in the Hôtel des Invalides, Paris. Aside from fully dressed figures, he also made just the Headdresses and a single example on a similar stand is known.
You only get a true idea of the fine quality of Sandre’s work when you handle the Headdresses. It is extraordinary and this is a large collection with the additional benefit of taking up less space and so displaying well. Circa 1905.
The sizes range from a height (including plume) of 9 1/2 inches with a diameter of 3 inches (not incl. the brim) to 3 3/4 inches (incl. pompom) in height with a diameter of 3 inches (not incl. brim).
The Headdresses represented in this collection are :
Garde Imperiale – Grenadier a Cheval 1804 (Imperial Guard – Horse Grenadier 1804)
Garde Imperiale – Fusilier Grenadier 1806 (Imperial Guard – Fusilier Grenadier 1806)
Garde Imperiale – Tirailier Grenadier 1806–14 – Officier 1813-14 (Imperial Guard – Skirmisher
Grenadier 1806–14 – Officer 1813 – 14 )
Garde Imperial – Gardes D’Honneur – 1st Regiment 1813-14 (Imperial Guard – Guard of Honour (Regiment of Light Cavalry of the corps of guards of honour) – 1st Reg. 1813-14)
Garde Imperiale – Train Des Equipages (Imperial Guard – Baggage or Equipment Train)
Garde Imperiale – ###vuer L’administration (Imperial Guard – #### Administration)
Chasseurs a Cheval vers 1810 Colonel (Horse Chasseurs (Mounted Hunters) towards 1810 Colonel)
16th Chasseurs a Cheval Meusicien (16th Horse Chasseurs Musician or Trumpeter ). Likely to be made by another hand.
3 Hussards Meusicien 1810 (3rd Regiment Hussars Musician 1810)
7 Hussard 1812 (7th Hussars 1812)
1808 Infanterie Legere Tiraileur (1808 Light Infantry Skirmisher)
Infanterie Legere 1810 Tirailleur (Light Infantry 1810 Skirmisher)
1807 Infanterie Legere 15 Regiment Tambour (1807 Light Infantry 15th Regiment Drummer)
Infanterie Legere Ordannance 1810 Commondant (Light Infantry Ordnance 1810 Commander)
Infanterie Legere 1812 Tirailleur (Light Infantry 1812 Skirmisher)
Infanterie de Ligne Ordannance 1806 (Line Infantry Ordnance 1806)
Infanterie de Ligne ## 1806 Modification de 1808 Tirailleur (Line Infantry ## 1806 Modification of 1808 Skirmisher)
Infanterie de Ligne M## 1806 Modification de 1808 Voltigeur (Line Infantry ## 1806 Modification of 1808 Elite Skirmisher)
Infanterie de Ligne M## 1806 Modification de 1808 Grenadier (Line Infantry (22nd) M# 1806 Modification of 1808 Grenadier)
1807 17 Reg’ au Ligne (1807 17th Line Regiment)
Infanterie de Ligne 1812 Voltigeur (8th Line Infantry 1812 Elite Skirmishers)
Infanterie de Ligne Ordannance 1812 Capitane de Voltigeurs (5th Line Infantry Ordnance 1812
Captain of Elite Skirmishers)
Infanterie de Ligne Ordannance 1812 Major (8th Line Infantry Ordnance 1812
Artillerie a Cheval de Ligne (Line Horse Artillery) Likely to be made by another hand.
We are grateful to Yves Martin for his help in research.