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Joachim Murat, King of Naples and the two Sicilies

  • Object:

    Medal

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1811 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Jaley, Louis, born 1763 - died 1838 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    struck bronze

  • Museum number:

    240-1886

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This bronze medal commemorates the appointment of Joachim Murat as King of Naples and the Two Sicilies in 1808 and the capture of the island of Capri from Hudson Lowe's troops on 16 October 1808.
The obverse presents the left profile of Murat in uniform, heavily decorated with military decorations. One of Napoleon's best officers, Murat was equally famous for his ostentatious looks, rendered here by his lavish epaulettes and tassels and the heavy curls of his hair and side-burns.
On the reverse, the French fleet is seen approaching Capri and a cluster of lifeboats and ships with broken masts that convey the British defeat. In the background, clouds of smoke rising from the island express the ferocity of the battle.

Physical description

Bronze medal commemorating the appointment of Joachim Murat as King of Naples and the two Sicilies, and the capture of the island of Capri. The overse shows Murat in profile, wearing a uniform with military decorations. The reverse shows a fleet off the island of Capri.

Place of Origin

France (made)

Date

1811 (made)

Artist/maker

Jaley, Louis, born 1763 - died 1838 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

struck bronze

Marks and inscriptions

GIOACCHINO NAPOLEONE RE DELLE DUE SICILIE.
Obverse

JALEY FECIT / ANNO MDCCCXI
Obverse, below sitter's left shoulder.

HONNEUR ET PATRIE
Obverse, within bottom decoration at the sitter's proper left

AVVENIMENTO AL REGNO PRESA DI CAPRI, 1808
Reverse

Dimensions

Diameter: 55 mm

Object history note

Given by Thomas Tapping, Esq. in 1886.

Historical significance: In 1808, numerous medals were created to commemorate Murat’s new title (Bramsen, 1904, I, 120 no. 728-733, and 123, no. 755 for a copy of this design). Jaley used this profile of Murat for several other medals he designed from 1808 to 1815 (see notably Museum no. 241-1886, and Forrer, 1907, III, 54).

Historical context note

This medal commemorates the appointment of Murat as King of Naples and of the two Sicilies. One of Napoléon Bonaparte's most successful officers and brother-in-law (he was married to Caroline Bonaparte), Joachim-Napoléon Murat (25 March 1767 - 13 October 1815) received numerous titles from the Emperor of the French. After being made Marshal of France in 1804, he became Prince of the Empire in 1805, Grand Duke of Berg and Cleves in 1806, and was King of Naples and Sicily from 1808 to 1815.
Murat's portrait shows him heavily decorated with military medals and orders, notably with the military star, the insigna of the Légion d'Honneur (with profile of Napoleon) and the Plaque du grand aigle de la Légion d'Honneur (the imperial eagle holding lighting in its claws).
The reverse of the medal shows the capture of the island of Capri from Hudson Lowe's troops on 16 October 1808.

According to Forrer (1907, III, 54), Louis Jaley (1763-1838) was a pupil of Moitte and Dupré. He specialised in commemorative medals, most notably of the Napoleonic era.
After the fall of Napoleon, memorabilia of the Empire became collectible, notably sought in Great Britain.

Descriptive line

Medal, Murat King of Naples and the two Sicilies and the capture of Capri, struck bronze, by Louis Jaley, French, 19th century, 1811

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1886. London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1887, p. 28.
Bramsen, L., Médallier Napoléon Le Grand, ou description des médailles, clichés, repoussés et médailles décorations relatives aux affaires de la France pendant le Consulat et l'Empire…, 3 vols, Paris : Picard, Copenhague : Meyer, 1904-1913, vol. I, pp. 120, 123.
Chavignerie and Auvray, Dictionnaire général des Artistes de l'Ecole Française, Paris, 1882.
Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists…, London: Spink & Son, 1907, III, p. 54.
Catalogue général illustré des éditions de la Monnaie de Paris, 2 : De la 1ère à la 3ème République, Paris, 1977, p. 86, E, G.237.

Materials

Bronze

Techniques

Struck

Subjects depicted

Seas; Medals; Ship; Fleet; Island; Military uniform; Decorations

Categories

Sculpture; Politics; Portraits; Coins & Medals

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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