Hugo Grygkar‘s Équipements Civils et Militaires won its rightful place at the MITO E BELLEZZA, Myth and Beauty, Exhibition, (more about this exhibit in a future blog) which was an exhibit that featured 76 vintage Hermes scarves and the historical objects that inspired them. Their common thread? Napoleon.
Hugo Grygkar’s Équipements Civils et Militaires showcases four types of saddles, both civilian and military, that were popular during Napoleon’s reign.
Grygkar skillfully depicts the various styles of saddles on horses in 4 separate vignettes. There are the ladies’ saddles, the English, the French as well as those preferred by Napoleon’s military branch, the French Hussars.
On the right side of the scarf we see the heading, Équipages a la Française – the French saddles. The highly decorated saddle in full view is the one Napoléon used on the day of his coronation.
On the top of the scarf we find the English saddles. Much smaller in size and more padded, they made for a far more comfortable ride.
At the center bottom, are military saddles used by the Hussar officers during Napoleon’s rule. France established a number of Hussar regiments from the mid seventeenth century on. Originally from Hungary and Germany, by Napoleon’s reign most came from German-speaking frontier regions within France itself. Not as comfortable, these saddles were made partially of wood and leather. One of the identifying characteristics of this saddle was its elongated shape and extension in the back.
Last but not least, on the left side of the scarf are the saddles made exclusively for the Ladies, Equipements pour le cheval de Dame.
Sophisticated and smaller in size, these saddles were quite lovely. Their style remained popular well into the 19th century. It would not be unlikely to spot a lady riding her mare in a similar saddle through the Bois de Boulogne or the Tuileries Gardens.
Some hundred years later the same ladies would surely sport a carre or two…