Le Petit Chapeau: The Hat Worn by the Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo (1895)

Medium: oil

Size: 10 x 12½ inches

Exhibited: Royal Academy, 1895

Crowe made a painted sketch of one of Napoleon’s hats, which he said was the one Napoleon wore on his trips to and from St Helena, when he was in Paris in December 1894. The hat belonged to his friend Jean-Léon Gérôme and was the largest known hat of Napoleon’s in existence. One presumes that this was the sketch which ended up as Le Petit Chapeau, as no other is mentioned in his diaries.

This painting was one of those remaining in Eyre Crowe’s possession at his death, and was sold for 15 shillings at an auction of his remaining works.

Athenaeum, 4 May 1895:

Mr. Crowe ventured upon a rebuke to human ambition when he took upon himself to paint in Le Petit Chapeau (652) Napoleon’s cocked hat, with a golden laurel at its side, and lying upon a cushion of imperial purple.

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