Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Assassination of Kléber or The French in Egypt c1825

This lovely fragment of printed French toile depicts the Assassination of Jean Baptiste Kléber in Egypt: "Jean Baptiste Kléber (9 March 1753 – 14 June 1800) was a French general during the French Revolutionary Wars. His military career started in Habsburg service, but his plebeian ancestry hindered his opportunities. Eventually, he volunteered for the French Army in 1791, and rose through the ranks. Kléber served in the Rhineland during the War of the First Coalition, and also suppressed the Vendee Revolt. He retired to private life in the peaceful interim after the Treaty of Campo Formio, but returned to military service to accompany Napoleon in the Egyptian Campaign in 1798-99. When Napoleon left Egypt to return to Paris, he appointed Kléber as commander of the French forces. He was assassinated by a student in Cairo in 1800." Wikipedia
It was roller-printed on cotton and manufactured by Hartmann et Fils in Munster, c1825.

It is interesting to note the that assassin is depicted wearing a typical European paisley shawl from the period with characteristic upright boteh; Patricia Frost says in her book Miller's Collecting Textiles: "It is said that the Indian shawl came to Europe with Napoleon's soldiers returning from the Egyptian campaigns - by the end of the 18th century, fashionable European ladies were clamouring for 'cachemire' shawls to drape over their shoulders over the Empire-line fashions of the day."

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