Napoleon Bonaparte is everywhere in the collections of many British cultural institutions.
In the Napoleon section of this website, you can find some Napoleon Trails in a few of these institutions: the Royal Collection, the Wallace Collection, Westminster Abbey. They propose dozens of works of art, archives, and items showing the legacy of the Emperor in the British identity.
Some other institutions agreed to be involved in this Year Napoleon through Curator’s Choices. with just 3 iconic items. Here is the selection of Dr Anthony Morton, Curator of the Sandhurst Collection at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
The French version is available here.
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) is the British Army’s initial officer training centre. It is located in the town of Sandhurst, Berkshire, though its ceremonial entrance is in Camberley. The Academy’s stated aim is to be « the national centre of excellence for leadership ». The RMAS was formed in 1947 from the amalgamation of two historic organisations: the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich and the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.
The Royal Military Academy (RMA) was founded by Royal Warrant in 1741 to train Gentlemen Cadets from 12 years of age to study mathematics, science and military subjects in preparation for a commission in the Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and later Royal Signals.
The Royal Military College (RMC) was set up in 1799 to train young boys aged 13 to 18 in the Junior Department for a commission in the Cavalry and Infantry Arms, and in the Senior Department young officers of at least four years’ service to become Staff Officers. The Senior Department later became the Staff College in 1858, which in turn became the Joint Services Command and Staff College in 1997.
The objective for amalgamating the RMA and RMC to create the RMAS was to provide officer training for all arms and services. Today all British Army officers, including late-entry officers who were previously Warrant Officers, as well as other men and women from overseas, are prepared at RMAS to take on the responsibility of leading their fellow soldiers and to instil in them the core values of the British Army. During training, all officer cadets learn to live by the academy’s motto: ‘Serve to Lead’.
‘Battle of Waterloo from the English Side, 18 June 1815’
Painted by the Scottish history painter Sir William Allan RA (1782-1850) in 1843. It shows the repulse of the French Imperial Guard by the British 1st Foot Guards at the climax of the battle between 1930 and 2000 hrs. La Haye Sainte centre-left, Hougoumont out of picture on rear right and Prussians out of picture rear left. Purchased by the Duke of Wellington. Donated to Sandhurst by the United Services Club, London in 1955. On display in the Wellington Room, Old College.
Arms of the Duke of Wellington
A hatchment with two oval sets of coats of arms of the Duke of Wellington, one of which is surrounded by the Garter belt, signifying membership of the Order of the Garter. Both coats of arms are surmounted by a ducal coronet. The hatchment was on display in St Paul’s Cathedral and was given to General Sir George Scovell after Wellington’s funeral in 1852. Sir George was Governor of the Royal Military College from 1837 to 1856.
French Bronze Light 12pdr Cannon
One of many French cannon captured by Wellington’s army at the battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815. This cannon was manufactured in 1793 by ‘Arsenal De Paris Brezin’ and is on display on the parade ground in front of Old College. At Waterloo it would have been one of 80 guns that formed Napoleon’s ‘Grand Battery’ on the ridge in the centre of the French line at Waterloo. Two other captured French cannon, another 12pdr and a 6pdr, are also on display at Sandhurst.