white velvet shoes


Costumes of the Coronation of Napoleon I, First Emperor of the French, and Consecration of the Empress Josephine


I. Great dress of the Emperor:

The imperial purple velvet coat, dotted with golden bees; in the embroidery are entwined branches of olive, of laurel and of oak that surround the letter N. The lining, the border and the épitoge are in ermine. The open left side of the coat reveals the sword supported by a white satin sash embroidered and trimmed with golden twists; the robe of white satin embroidered with gold on all the seams, the bottom of the robe embroidered and garnished with a golden twist. The tie and the shirt collar are of lace. The gold laurel wreath on his head, the scepter in his right hand, and the “hand of justice” in the left, the Grand Collar of the Order on the épitoge. The white satin cothurnus, embroidered and laced with gold.

II. Great dress of the Empress:

A coat of purple velvet, sown with golden bees; .in the embroidery, are entwined branches of laurel, of olive and of oak, that surround the letter N. The lining and the border are in ermine. The coat is fastened with a clip, on the belt on the left side. The long-sleeved dress, of silver brocade, strewn with golden bees embroidered on seams … the bottom of the dress, embroidered and trimmed with gold fringes, the bodice and upper sleeves are studded with diamonds. The golden crown, enriched with pearls and colored gemstones, necklace and earrings with engraved gems, surrounded by brilliants, the collar lace in gold lamé.

III. Undress of the Emperor:

A coat of purple velvet, embroidered with gold and silver; the lining of white satin embroidered with gold on the cuffs and collar. The velvet coat is of the same color, embroidered with gold cobs on the seams; collar and cuffs of white velvet, embroidered in the same way. Black felt hat, topped with white feathers, diamond piping. Tie and shirt collar of lace, the Grand Collar and Grand Cordon of the Legion of Honor; sword enriched with diamonds on the hilt-guard, diamond known as the “Regent”; the white satin sash, embroidered and topped with gold twists, white velvet shoes with satin rosettes, embroidered with gold.

IV. Undress of the Empress:

The court mantle is in colored velvet with embroidery ten inches tall, and attached to the belt by two clips, the dress with short sleeves is in white satin, embroidered and studded with golden bees; the waist and the slashed sleeves are furnished with diamonds, the collar is in lace; diadem, comb, earrings and necklace are in diamonds.

V. Dress of the Pope:

A cope of golden cloth, embroidered with “bouquets detachés”, lined with colored moire; … the hood and the orfroi are embroidered in the same way, … the ratchet is trimmed with lace; … the tiara is in silvered cloth; … the three crowns and the cross are in gold, enriched with diamonds, pearls and colored gems; … the stole and the slippers are of golden stuff.

VI. Dress of a Princess:

Court dress in white silk, with long-sleeved, embroidered with gold, … Court tail of colored velvet attached to the belt, and it is sown and embroidered with gold, … the collar is of lace; … white feather headdress; … egret, necklace and earrings are of diamonds.

VII. Dress of a Lady of the Palace, Carrying the Offerings:

Court dress with long sleeves, of satin, embroidered on seams and on the trimming; … court mantle of colored velvet, fastened at the waist; … silver embroidery; … lace collar; … the headdress is of hair and pearls. The tray-cloth is of batiste, embroidered in gold lamé.

VIII. Dress of a Prince, High Dignitary:
Velvet coat, embroidered on all seams; … coat in the same way, with white lining and cuffs, embroidered with gold; … the coat is full of bees; jacket, pants and stockings are white; … Sash of gold stuff, at which the sword is attached; … black felt hat, raised by a braid and a button of gold; … white feathers; … lace tie, the Grand Cordon is carried on the coat; … the collar of the Legion of Honor is worn at the neck; … plate of the Legion of Honor is fastened on the dress and on the coat.
Every great dignitary has a color assigned to him, namely: the great elector in poppy-red, the constable in big blue, the arch-chancellor of the Empire in violet; the arch treasurer in black; the arch-chancellor of State in light blue, the great admiral in green.

IX. Dress of a Marshal of the Empire, Carrying the Honors:
Dress and coat are in dark blue, lined with white satin, embroidered in gold on all seams, with oak and laurel leaves … black velvet cap, surmounted by a white feather; … tie of lace; … the sword is attached to a sash of golden cloth. The cushion, on which the crown of Charlemagne is resting, is in purple velvet, embroidered with golden bees.


From Livre du sacre de l’Empereur Napoleon by Isabey, Percier, and Fontaine. Text by Frederic Masson. Bibliothèque Nationale, Réserve des Imprimés, Paris.


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