Hermès Scarf, Napoleon – It’s Mystique and Place in History

The Coronation of Napoleon, (1806), Jacques-Louis David, Versailles, Paris
Notre Dame (2013) Paris
Notre Dame (2013) Paris

I have been asked numerous times about the history, inspiration and meaning behind the Napoleon scarf.

This is what I know and please feel free to correct me, if need be, as I am by no means neither a historian nor an expert on Napoleon. The scarf was designed by Philippe Ledoux in 1963, and pays homage to Napoleon Bonaparte, the self proclaimed Emperor of France at the beginning of the 19th century.  There are 5 vignettes, that I believe depict Napoleon’s most significant moments in his life and are based on paintings by artists such as Jacques-Loius David. At the center and possibly the most significant, framed by the Legion of Honor Chain, is Napoleon’s arrival at Notre Dame for his coronation that took place there December 2nd, 1804 and made him the “Emperor of the French”. Image The four medallions in the corners of the scarf, framed by laurel wreaths are: Upper right corner Napoleon on one of his Arabian horses based on the painting by Jean-Antoine Gros by the name of “Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul, Reviewing his Troops after the battle of Marengo” Image

Napoleon at Ratisbonne by Pierre Gautherot (1769-1825), Paris

bottom right Napoleon at The Battle at Wagram by Émile Jean-Horace Vernet Image bottom left Napoleon at Ratisbonne by Pierre Gautherot (1769-1825) Image and finally upper left shows Napoleon crossing the Alps by Jacques-Loius David (1748-1825)

“Jacques Louis David – Bonaparte franchissant le Grand Saint-Bernard, 20 Mai 1800 – Google Art Project” by Jacques-Louis David – at Google Cultural Institute. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons –


Ledoux also incorporated items symbolic of Napoleon himself and the Napoleonic Age.  Napoleon’s famous hat is at the bottom center, his sabers and the Eagle, which represented along with the “bee” (weave of the jacquard and background for the scarf) military victory and immortality/resurrection respectively. I believe the uniforms are Napoleon’s uniforms with the one on the right being an “every day” uniform, whereas the one on the left, a much more detailed and intricate in nature, might be the uniform Napoleon was buried in.

It is my belief, that Ledoux chose the numbers 2 and 5 because they represent the two most significant dates during the Napoleonic Age, his coronation on December 2nd, 1804 and his death May 5, 1821.

This is a truly stunning scarf with incredible details, richness and texture… a true work of art and a part of history.P1250829__________________________________________________________________

2 thoughts on “Hermès Scarf, Napoleon – It’s Mystique and Place in History

  1. Karen Prince

    Hi, I have a Hermes Napoleon scarf and am wanting to sell it. Can you get me a price to start it at. The scarf is in MINT condition, color is bright and beautiful. no picks or snags to the silk, the hand rolled hem is perfect., cannot find any faults in this scarf. In your expert opinion what should I do, put it on Ebay or go through a private auction? Thank you so much. Any help is appreciated.

    1. Dear Karen,
      thank you for contacting me regarding your Napoleon carre. I have sold numerous Napoleon scarves in various colorways through my eStore, http://www.carredeparis.com, and would love the opportunity to do the same for you. Perhaps you could send me a photo of your scarf and a price you wish to achieve.

      Here is a link to all the Napoleons on my site, that have sold and/or are for sale currently. http://carredeparis.com/search?page=1&q=napoleon

      I have been able to successfully generate a relatively quick sale at a premium price for this design.

      Please let me know if this is something you would like to discuss further. My direct email address is carredeparis@gmail.com

      Again, thank you for reaching out to me. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Kind regards,

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