Research Grants 2006


  • Arnaud DENIS: The Pope’s apartment at the Château de Fontainebleau: a study of the architecture and the furniture 
    Supervisor: Professor Yves Carlié,
    École du Louvre

    In importance, the Pope’s apartment at Fontainebleau came after those of the king-emperor and those of the queen-empress. It comprised eleven rooms and two galleries and had always served as the living rooms for the most important members of the royal-imperial family or for personalities upon whom the regimes wished to bestow a certain distinction. Hence in An XIII the rooms were to be offered to Pope Pius VII when he came to France to crown Bonaparte emperor. This short stay, which was to be the starting point for a new lease of life for the château, led to the refurbishment of the apartment. When the rooms were to be given as lodgings to Prince Louis, Grand Connétable and King of Holland and his wife Hortense de Beauharnais, the rooms were to be entirely refurnished a second time. In 1808, they became a place of stay for the dethroned monarch of Spain, Charles IV. Louis returned for a short time after the separation from his wife.

    On 19 June, 1812, Pius VII, then the emperor’s prisoner, was to be cloistered in the apartment until his departure at the end of January 1814. This enforced stay, though not leading to significant modifications in the apartment decorations, was to lead to the rooms being named the “Appartement du Pape” during the Restoration.

    The reign of Louis-Philippe was to be a second period of significant modifications during the 19th century. The apartment was initially given to the Duc d’Orléans and then restored and refurbished in 1837 on the occasion of the marriage of the Prince royal.

    The rooms were to keep these furnishings until the beginning of the Second Empire, a period in which the apartment was reserved for the Grande-duchesse Stéphanie de Bade. It underwent a further restoration and refurbishment in 1859-1860, under the direction of the Palace architect, A. Paccard. It would appear certain that the Empress Eugénie intervened directly in this work when she visited the site (such as for example the removal of the tapestries in the Salon d’angle). It is this Second Empire aspect which is present today.

  • Rémy HÊME DE LA COTTE: The sovereign’s religious service and his religious personnel in France during the Empire and the Restoration (1804-1830)
    Supervisor: Professor Jacques-Olivier Boudon,
    Université de Paris IV – Sorbonne

    The question of the religious service of the sovereign and his men relates to all the religious actions, both pious and charitable, undertaken by the monarchs of the Empire and the Restoration and their families and all those who took part in these actions. After the desacralisation of the Revolution, in 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte (independent of his own personal faith) made a return to religion with a religious practice which was elaborate and, though firmly fixed in the monarchical tradition, nevertheless modernised and adapted to new circumstances. By recreating a religious context for his court (in particular during the Empire) and specifically in the ceremonies at which he was present, he gave a new vision of monarchical piety whilst still affirming his pre-eminent position amongst believers and the spiritual prerogatives which the Concordat invested in him. Of particular interest are the clergy detailed to the sovereign and, from 1804 to 1830, the “grande aumônerie”, a body restored during the Empire, with its ordered structure including important religious dignitaries (under the authority of Cardinal Fesch during the Empire). Indeed, because of its closeness to the ruler, the “grande aumônerie” became a key part of the Gallican church, although it did not have canonical status in the concordatory system. In addition to its duties of office, the clergy at court were actively involved in the negotiations with Rome during crisis periods and weighed in in internal clergy affairs. The aim of this thesis is to consider the convergent and divergent modalities of this religious service – a unique link between the sovereign and the church – of the two regimes.

  • Benoît ROGER: Frenchmen in Poland (1806-1808). A two-year relationship of liberation and occupation
    Supervisors: Professors Bernard Gainot, Panthéon – Sorbonne Paris I, and Andrzej Nieuwazny, Université Nicolas Copernic Torun

    When historians talk about relations between the Grande Armée and the peoples with which it came into contact, they limit themselves for the most part to the Spanish example. Remarkably, it would appear that the occupation by the French army of other countries has not been the object of much research, despite the fact that the picture presented is very different from that in Spain.

    The study of the Polish situation (from the Grande Armée’s entry into “Poland” in November 1806 until its departure in the autumn of 1808) will serve to shed more light on the originality and complexity of the army’s rapport with Polish society.

    The arrival of the army in “Poland”, ten years after that state’s disappearance, took place against the backdrop of talk of national liberation, talk which was enthusiastically received by the population (or at any rate the elite) and which was to lead to the ‘ralliement’ of the latter. The heart of this thesis will be to consider the “pro-Poland” French discourse in the context of military occupation. This will lead to two questions: how far did the French take account of the “pro-Poland” party in their occupation of the country in 1806-1807? And how far did the reputedly good behaviour of Davout’s corps (present in the duchy from 1807 to 1808) compensate for the national disappointment after the Peace of Tilsit which brought to patriots not “Poland” but rather the « Duchy of Warsaw », and thus give back to France a golden image of protector and benefactor?

  • Chantal SERENE: The relationship between stage costumes and clothing fashions during the First Empire (Opéra, Comédie Française)
    Supervisor: Professor Jacques-Olivier Boudon,
    Université de Paris IV- Sorbonne

    This thesis by Chantal Serène on stage costumes and clothing fashions follows on from a “maitrise” on François-Xavier Fabre’s three portraits of members of the Clarke family and a “DEA” on the history of the Ballet de l’Opéra and its costumes.The aim is to try to understand how clothing fashions were influenced by the stage costume designs and therefore to find out whether the elegance of the Napoleonic court depended directly on the great institutions such as the Opéra and the Comédie Française.The first half of the project will entail working in the Archives de la Bibliothèque de l’Opéra, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Archives de la Comédie Française, so as to describe and understand how the costumes were made and what place they had in the performances for which they were created. The second part will then be to compare these results with the fashion papers, engravings and dress-maker’s patterns so as to get a clear idea of their reciprocal influence.


  • Camille MESTDAGH: The Beurdeley dynasty, collectors, merchants and manufacturers of 19th-century fine furnishings
    Supervisor: Professor Bruno Foucart,
    Université de Paris IV – Sorbonne

    The house of Beurdeley was founded in Paris in circa 1815 by Jean Beurdeley (1772-1853), antiques merchant and collector. It was at that time a “curiosity” shop, i.e., very old furniture and objets d’art. It was such a success that at the beginning of the Second Empire Louis-Auguste-Alfred Beurdeley (1808-1883) son and heir of Jean, added to the shop the fabrication of artistic furnishings. These comprised very high quality furniture and decorative objects created, following Louis-Auguste’s own designs, in Renaissance and 18th-century styles, and these were much sought after by a wealthy clientele. Such was the success in exhibiting their works at international and universal exhibitions that the Maison Beurdeley soon opened a branch in New York.

    The business was later taken on by Louis -Auguste’s son, Emmanuel-Alfred Beurdeley, and he ran it until his retirement in 1895, at which time the business closed.

    The study of this family will contribute to preservation of savoir-faire in French art furnishings, and will consider the family’s productions in the light of the history of Second Empire decorative arts. It will also bring to light details concerning other producers, both French and international, and contribute to the definition of what we call Second Empire style.

  • Flavie SEZNEC DE MONTGOLFIER: Théodore and Albert Ballu, architects
    Supervisor: Professor Bruno Foucart,
    Université de Paris IV – Sorbonne

    This study of the life and work of the architects Théodore and Albert Ballu, born into a family of builders active during the First Empire, will be of particular interest for the history of architecture and restoration in France.

    Théodore Ballu (1817-1885) began his career as an architect builder during the Second Empire, and it was at this time that he completed the majority of his work in Paris, and during which he began to be officially recognised. But Théodore’s work was not limited to official commissions for religious buildings. Work previously undertaken by Flavie Seznec de Montgolfier has shown that a great number of his other works have been forgotten. In fact, his output was rich and varied. Like Viollet-le-Duc, during the Second Empire Ballu also pursued a career as architect of private houses and other non-public buildings. It is hoped that this thesis will make it possible to map precisely his artistic development from Neo-Gothic to Second Empire eclecticism, and then, during the Third Republic, his engagement in the institutional and architectural debates of his time, leading to a definition of what could be called his concept of architecture and urbanism; Ballu was exceedingly well known and very influential amongst the architects of his time and thereafter, both in France and abroad.

    The thesis will then go on to chart the life of Théodore’s son, Albert (1849-1839). This will lead in turn to a study of Théodore’s influence on Albert’s historicist constructions. It will also evaluate the importance of the work of this diocesan architect, restorer and inspector of historical monuments on the architecture of his time, on the establishment of architectural models and the development of modern architectural techniques and constructions.

    The aim is to show the fundamental importance of the work of these two architects in the art of construction and restoration from the mid-1800s to the 1920s.