A collection of 24 miniature French Napoleonic Military Hats, attributable to Charles Sandre, made out of a variety of similar materials to the full-sized originals.
The collection consists of 22 Shakos, a Bearskin and a Busby. The Headdresses are for the Imperial Guard, Chasseur, Hussar, Light Infantry and Line Infantry Regiments. Within those Musicians, Administrators, Ordnance, Artillery, Skirmishers, Elite Skirmishers and Equipment Train units are represented.
The quality of the work is exceptional with the attention in detail to accurately show both the correct design and materials, the sign of a master maker. The feather plumes are a work of art in themselves but the miniature brass scales to the chin straps, the pressed brass regimental plates, the silk linings, rosettes and braid trim etc. all go to reflect the maker's desire for his work to be the best that it could be. The helmets sit on turned boxwood hat stands with a slit to the front to take a name plate. These are missing but all but two of the Headresses have a hand-written paper label stuck to the back of the interior naming the regiment, year and sometimes the rank. The two without a label, the 16th Chasseurs a Cheval Meusicien and Artillerie a Cheval de Ligne, look to be by a different hand. They came without stands, although we have had two turned, and are slightly smaller in diameter. They are also lined in kid leather.
Charles Sandre worked between 1895 and 1915 and produced miniature figures in full uniform with equipment of the Grand Armee of the 1st Empire. He has a very good reputation, and a collection of his work is held in the entrance hall at the Army Museum in the Hôtel des Invalides, Paris. Aside from fully dressed figures, he also made just the Headdresses and a single example on a similar stand is known.
You only get a true idea of the fine quality of Sandre's work when you handle the Headdresses. It is extraordinary and this is a large collection with the additional benefit of taking up less space and so displaying well. Circa 1905.
The sizes range from a height (including plume) of 9 1/2 inches with a diameter of 3 inches (not incl. the brim) to 3 3/4 inches (incl. pompom) in height with a diameter of 3 inches (not incl. brim).
The Headdresses represented in this collection are : Garde Imperiale - Grenadier a Cheval 1804 (Imperial Guard - Horse Grenadier 1804)