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Details about  Circa 1810/15 French Polish Lancers Of The Imperial Guard Schapka

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Circa 1810/15 French Polish Lancers Of The Imperial Guard Schapka
Item Ended
24 Sep, 2014 11:59:08 BST
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Item location:
Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom


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Last updated on  28 May, 2014 12:10:54 BST  View all revisions
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Item specifics

Used: An item that has been previously used. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of ... Read moreabout the condition
Type: Uniform/ Clothing
Country/ Organization: France/Poland Clothing Type: Helmets/ Hats
Conflict: Napoleonic Era: 1751-1815
Issued/ Not-Issued: Issued Service: Army
~ Circa 1810/15 French Polish Lancers Of The Imperial Guard Schapka ~

This is a fine original French Napoleonic wars era Regiment de Chevau-Légers Lanciers de la Garde Impériale schapka helmet.

This  schapka is from the 1st Polish Light Cavalry Regiment of the French Imperial Guard.

The Regiment, as part of Napoleon's Guard, fought in many battles, distinguishing itself at Wagram, Beresina, Hanau and especially Somosierra. 

On at least three occasions, light-horsemen of the Regiment saved Napoleon's life.

The skull is made of red wool, silver bullion fabric and black leather. The front badge is made of gilt brass and bears Napoleon's letter 'N' under the French Imperial Crown. The shako's edges are decorated with silver cords.

On the left side is a French tri colour silk cockade with a white over blue/green goose feather plume above.

The chin scale bosses are shaped as lion heads, the chin sales are missing.

The sweatband is made of black leather and the lining of dark brown/grey silk.

~ Dimensions ~

The helmet has a height of 10.5 inches (26.5 cm) without its plume. The plume height itself is 14.1 inches (36 cm).
The square sides of the shako top have a length of 9.5 inches (24 cm) and its inner diameter is 7.2 inches (18.5 cm). It size would be approximately a 'medium-large'.
It weighs 1 kg.

~ Condition ~

The schapka is in very good condition for its age. The leather parts have some aging signs including bubbling but there are no significant cracks.
There are no visible moth holes on the wool, just general wear and a small period stitched repair to one panel.
Some parts of the silver cords are worn, as seen in the pictures.
The badge has a small crease above the crown, the gilt is mostly worn away.
The French cockade is worn and frayed.
The chin scales are missing.

~ History ~

In 1807 Napoleon authorized the raising of a guard regiment of Polish light horse named the 1st Light Horse Regiment. They were to be given French instructors and training. But during their first review before the Emperor, their ranks became so entangled that Bonaparte quipped, "These people only know how to fight!" and dismissed their instructors on the spot. But he kept his Poles by his side and the following year at Somosierra they would have another opportunity to prove themselves, on the battlefield instead of the parade ground. Napoleon ordered them to charge against a heavily fortified Spanish artillery position. Armed with only sabers and pistols, they overran four batteries, capturing over 20 cannons and decisively turned the tide. Following this, almost legendary, feat Napoleon proclaimed "Poles, You are worthy of my Old Guard I proclaim you my bravest cavalry!” Promoted to the Old Guard, they were then given lances, remained at the Emperor's side until Waterloo, and were never defeated by enemy cavalry.

For further details and condition see pictures below....

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Antiques Storehouse
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