1853 Black and white print of Eugénie de Montijo after Winterhalter
This black and white print of Empress Eugénie after the 1853 Winterhalter is spectacular in its own right.
This is part of internetstones.com's article about the tiara she wears: "A new pearl parure is created for Empress Eugénie using the pearls used by Marie Louise and Marie Therese - In 1848, Napoleon Bonaparte's nephew, Louis Napoleon returned to France from exile in Britain, and was elected the president of the second republic, by a landslide victory polling 5.5 million votes. He ruled France as the President, for a four-year term until 1852. Towards the end of his period of rule he drew up a new constitution, that was approved by a plebiscite, and he held another plebiscite that confirmed him as Emperor of the second empire of France, assuming the title Napoleon III.*
Napoleon III married countess Eugénie de Montijo in 1953, and it was in anticipation of this marriage that he ordered the court jewelers Gabriel Lemonnier and Francois Kramer to create an entirely new parure using the pearls previously used by Marie Louise and Marie Therese. The Empress Eugénie Pearl and Diamond Tiara, the subject of this webpage, was an important component of this pearl parure. Other components include a six-stranded pearl necklace, pearl bracelets and a diamond stomacher incorporating the 'Perle Napoleon.' When Empress Eugénie had access to the crown jewels of France, she set about transforming most of the old pieces, into new settings, to suit her own taste and the fashion trends of the period, using the services of Gabriel Lemonnier. Apart from re-setting old pieces, she also added several new pieces to the crown jewels of France, and commissioned a Greek diadem incorporating the famous Regent diamond, once mounted on the hilt of Napoleon's sword. The famous portrait painter of the 19th century, Winterhalter, painted Empress Eugénie wearing the Pearl and Diamond Tiara. In 1855, when Empress Eugénie accompanied Napoleon III on a state visit to Britain, she wore the Pearl and Diamond Tiara, on two consecutive nights for dinner at Windsor Castle, held on April 17 and 18, 1855...
Exposition of the French crown jewels in 1878 and 1884 - During the period of the third republic, the crown jewels of France were put on public display for the first time in 1878, at the International Paris Exhibition - 'Exposition Universelle,' and again six years later in 1884, at the Louvre Museum in Paris, in aid of the School of Industrial Arts. Both these expositions were well attended by the public, who were astounded by the extravagance of the collection, ascribed to the monarchs of the House of Bourbon and the emperors of the House of Napoleon.
The dispersal of the French crown jewels by public auction in 1887 -
After the bitter experiences of the past that saw the failure of two republics, and the revival of the monarchy by autocrats like the Napoleons, and by international intervention after the defeat of Napoleon I, that led to the restoration of the House of Bourbon, there was much debate in the national assembly of the third republic, as to the prudence of holding on to the decadent royal symbols like the French crown jewels, which could be used by a potential dictator or monarch to restore the old order. Thus the national assembly unanimously decided to disperse the entire French crown jewels by public auction, save for any pieces of cultural and historic significance. Accordingly the first president of the third republic, Francois Paul Jules Grevy, ordered the sale of the crown jewels by pubic auction, between May 12 and 23, 1887, to be conducted by the Administration of State Properties..."
The tiara wound up in the house of Thurn und Taxis and was returned to France by them. It is now in the Louvre.
I have this print over my computer.