The lions depicted sitting, right and left, over a French officer wearing an Imperial uniform. The group almost certainly represents the British lion and Napoleon 111, and was probably produced at the time of the Anglo-French war scare of 1860. For similar example see: Staffordshire Portrait Figures by P.D.Gordon Pugh. Pub. by Antique Collectors’ Club. P292 Fig. 277.
English, circa 1860
Height 10” (25cm) Width 9” (22cm)
Stock No. 7939
Although relations were never particularly close between Britain and France, they did form an alliance in the Crimean War and subsequently in the Second Opium War. Following his defeat, capture and imprisonment by the Germans at the Battle of Sedan, Napoleon was eventually exiled to Britain in 1871, living in Camden Place, Chislehurst, Kent until his death in 1873 with his Empress and son. Contrary to the wishes of her government, he enjoyed a somewhat open, yet close, friendship with Queen Victoria, and these figures could possibly be seen as the sleeping, or, perhaps, powerless Napoleon under the protectorate of the British monarch. As the press was free to report as it wished on the activities of those who sought refuge in the country, irrespective of the embarrassment that this might cause the government of the day, caricature or allegorical representations of such circumstances were freely created.