Rooms I and II - The First Empire
The first two rooms, divided only by a marble balustrade, form a unique area dedicated to the splendour of the First Empire (1804-1814). Here are collected the large canvases which depict numerous members of the imperial families in noble and conventional poses. Next to these official portraits, commissioned by Napoleon after his consecration as emperor, are displayed the private portraits, which, through the waxesof Giambattista Santarelli, enamel miniatures, cameos by Nicolò Morelli, and snuff boxes, give a more intimate portrait of the Bonaparte family’s history.
These elegant objects, in particular the bonbonnières and snuff boxes, were often used by Napoleon as cadeaux for his court companions and dignitaries. The salon decorated in red damask by Jacob, which came from the studio of Napoleon the First Consul on Saint-Cloud, is an interesting example of the austere French style in the pre-Imperial period. It includes a pommier-chair (named for its creator) with asymmetric arms to allow it to be drawn up to the fireplace.
In one of the two wall cases is displayed a group of fine porcelain work; particularly interesting is the ensemble of 24 plates, which comes from the most important French manufacturer of the early 1800s (Nast, Swebach, Schöelcher).
The First Empire consoles in the IInd room, like the Urania pendulum clock, were part of the furnishings of the Hotel Chabrillan, while the two copies of candelabra hung above them are some of them numerous objects which were commissioned in France to provide embellissements for the Palazzo Quirinale in anticipation of Napoleon’s visit to Rome in 1812, which never in fact took place.
The level of refinement that the applied arts reached under the First Empire is exemplified by the two travelling necessaries displayed in the cases: genuine masterpieces by the cabinet-maker Jean-Baptiste Biennais and Maire, in which elegance and comfort are harmoniously integrated.
Joseph Chabord (Chambéry 1786- Parigi 1848)
Robert Lefèvre (Bayeux 1756 - Parigi 1830)
Daniele Saint (1778 - 1847)