Preparations for the Reception of Napoleon III
and Empress Eugénie in Algeria
Signed, watercolour drawing
32 cm x 46 cm
In 1860 Napoleon III and his wife, Empress Eugénie of France, visited Algeria. After a much talked-about railroad journey through France, the Imperial Couple departed at Toulon in their yacht L’Aigle (‘The Eagle’), accompanied by several frigates and a ship specially assigned to transport the royal carriages.
The celebrated artist Gustave Jundt, who was in continuous attendance at the Salon from 1857 onward, was in the French colony at this time. He kept a sketchbook in which he recorded the enchanting events and scenes that he encountered.
In this drawing, Jundt shows us a priest and nun putting up decorations for the arrival of the French Emperor and Empress (the wooden banner reads ‘Vive L’Imperatrice’ or ‘Long Live the Queen!’). One Algerian child has come to aid them while two others – a boy and a girl (dressed in a burqa!) – stand and marvel at the decorations. In the distance we see the country’s capital city Algiers, and if you look carefully you might also distinguish the mast and sails of a ship. Has the Imperial Couple arrived already?
For other drawings that Jundt made on his voyage around Algiers, see Mahmal et Attatichs, op. cit. nr. 25-28.
The ‘Outre-Mer et Colonialisme’ Auction, Drouot, Paris, 18 February 1980, Lot 173;
Bought by a landed English gentleman, whose daughter moved to Leiden.