Unusual Artifacts: The Burnous of Napoleon I

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Felt, Silver Thread, Silk
French, 1798
The Royal Collection
Napoleon I was not without his little affectations and he had a bit of a tendency toward theatrical dress. During his campaigns in Egypt, Napoleon I admired the North-African-style cloak known as the burnous and commissioned one to be made in his size. Napoleon was often seen wearing the flame-red cloak with its dramatic hood and embroidery.

The burnous was taken from Napoleon I’s carriage at the Battle of Waterloo and presented to King George IV as a symbol of victory. Since that time, this garment has been neatly preserved in the Royal Collection. ads

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