Research Grants 2007


  • Eman VOVSI: The forgotten Napoleonic code: the Code Militaire
    PhD thesis supervised by Rabe Blaufarb, Florida State University, Tallahassee (Florida)

    The bitter experience of the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries has led military historians to re-examine war as a cultural and social phenomenon. The study of the French army during this period – namely the last years of the Ancien régime and the years of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars – is a particularly difficult task. The army was particularly traumatised (and renewed) by the Revolution. The political upheavals, and the social changes which accompanied them, completely transformed the Royal military institutions. Under Napoleon, the French army became not only a powerful tool of war but also one of the pillars of the political and economic life of his empire and the vector of a new, modern mentality. One of the key features of Napoleon’s system was the attempt to provide a system of law codes to underpin the restructured state and the victorious but disorganised army.

  • Cyril LECOSSE: Jean-Baptiste Isabey (1767-1855): the artist and his times
    PhD thesis supervised by Professor Philippe Bordes, Université Lyon II

    Isabey was a hugely talented miniaturist and draughtsman who enjoyed a very long career, running from the Revolutionary period to Napoleon III. He was born in Nancy but studied mostly in Paris. As a pupil of Jacques-Louis David (1748-1825), he frequented the Académie de peinture, specialising in miniatures and sketches, and he was to find his first success at the art salons of the Revolution. He soon became the favourite painter of the elite of the Directory and Empire, and he was influential in Napoleon’s imperial art policy. After his appointment as Dessinateur du cabinet, he was to receive many other responsibilities. He was a sincere supporter of the Napoleonic regime and joined the opposition to Louis XVIII during the restoration, professing several times his fidelity to the Roi de Rome. Some of his engraved and exhibited works caused political scandal. He was thrown out of the royal household for his Napoleonic sympathies but was to be re-instated as Dessinateur du cabinet by Charles X. From the July Monarchy to the Second Empire his output diminished and his son Eugène, seascape painter, became popular. In 1830 Louis-Philippe gave Isabey lodgings in the Palais de l’Institut and the painter was appointed Conservateur adjoint des Musées royaux. Towards the end of his life Napoleon III was to grant him a pension and the honorific title of Conservateur des musées impériaux. He was made Commandeur of the Légion d’Honneur shortly before his death.

    The aim of this thesis is to describe this artist’s exemplary career and his massive and varied life’s work. It will be divided up into three major sections – Revolution, Empire-Restoration and Second Empire.

  • Eléonore PAHLAVI: Britain and French Emigration: joint projects for a restoration of the monarchy in France (1793-1814)
    Thesis supervised by Professor Jacques-Olivier Boudon, Paris IV Sorbonne

    The thesis has Revolutionary, Consular and Imperial France as its time period and it aims to consider the question of British and French joint projects for a restoration of the monarchy in France. After consulting the secondary literature, the English sources to be studied are manuscripts in the British Library, the National Archives in London (including documents from the Foreign Office, War Office and Home Office series). Other archives to consulted will be: the Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères (including documents from the Mémoires et Documents du Fonds Bourbon series), the Archives Nationales de Paris (including documents from the Affaires étrangères, Archives privées, Maison du Roi and Police Générale series). The Musée de Condé and the Service historique de l’Armée de Terre will also be consulted.

    The thesis will be arranged in three chronological/thematic sections: namely, the creation of the alliance during the Counter Revolution from 1793 to 1800; the repercussions upon the alliance caused by political events which led to the coming to power of Napoléon Bonaparte, 1800 to 1807; and the rooting of French emigration in Great Britain leading to the “great return”, 1807 to 1814.

  • Bernd PAPPE: Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin
    PhD thesis supervised by Professeur Pascal Griener, Université de Neuchâtel (Switzerland)

    Jean-Baptiste Jacques Augustin (1759-1832) was the greatest French miniaturist of his time, together with Isabey, who like him, was also from the Lorraine. He was born in Saint-Dié des Vosges, and he left for Paris in 1781 and lived there until the end of his life. From 1791 he regularly exhibited his works at the Salons and was much appreciated by the art press. During the empire period, Augustin was appointed “official painter to the imperial court” and he was to play a key role in the diffusion of the image of the emperor and his brother and sisters. He won a gold medal in 1806. In 1814, Augustin received the title “painter in ordinary to the king”, and in 1821 he was awarded the title “chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur”. In 1824 he became “premier peintre en miniature du cabinet du roi”. He died of cholera in 1832.

    Augustin’s many miniatures are some of the finest and most perfect works ever produced. His eminence is due partly to this excellence and partly to his position as professor of painting. Augustin had more than 400 pupils, indeed his atelier was the most important in Europe in terms of miniature painting. His life and works are unfortunately little known. The last books on him dated from 1880-81 (G. Save), 1907 (H. Bouchot) and 1908 (G. C. Williamson). After a century of absence from the history books, now is to the time to resume research into this artist, star of french miniature painting.

  • Jean-Philippe REY: A municipality during the First Empire: Lyon, 1805-1815
    PhD thesis supervised by Professor Bruno Benoît, Université Lyon II

    Napoleon paid particular attention to the town of Lyons. The decision to give the town a single town hall (Ventôse XIII) came just after the proclamation of empire and as such is evidence of the importance which Napoleon attributed to the establishment of a trustworthy local administration. In Vendémiaire An XIV a municipality was created. The Revolutionary politicians who led the town were gradually replaced by men of the regime, and the town was kept under close surveillance by central government and its local representative, the “préfet”. Analysis of the administration and how the municipality worked is a good way of understanding the complexity of the Napoleonic project in terms of the political and administrative re-organisation of the country. The “édiles” were placed at the heart of the elite which Napoleon wished to establish in France. Their different characteristics are the main object of this study. In addition to this there will be an analysis of the ways in which relationships linked many of the local elite in a network with influence both regionally and nationally. The cogs of this machine and the complex relations between Lyons and central government will be the final part of the thesis. The aim of this thesis is to identify the position of Lyons in the context of the nascent Napoleonic system of government.

  • Leïla SAADA: The First Consul’s participation in the preparatory work for the Code Civil
    PhD thesis supervised by Professor Alain Desrayaud, Université Paris XII

    The aim of this thesis is to consider the reasons for which General Bonaparte, as chief of government in the form of the First Consul, became so closely interested and involved in the elaboration of France’s civil laws, encouraging, speeding up and firmly driving the commission set up to establish the “Code civil”. Bonaparte in fact, despite the pressing political preoccupations of the period, presided over more than half (57) of the 102 sessions held at the Conseil d’Etat.

    Two questions are to be approached: firstly, what was the first Consul’s real role in the elaboration of the Code civil as opposed to the way he presented this role himself, notably in exile on St Helena; and secondly, what aim did he have in mind in becoming so interested in the codification of civil laws?


  • Marie-Emilie VAXELAIRE: Mellerio/Meller, the history of a Parisian jewellers in the 19th century
    PhD thesis supervised by Professeur Bruno Foucart, Paris IV – Sorbonne

    The Mellerio family were French jewellers originally from Lombardy. Their ancestors held the privilege of “carrying and selling cut crystal, ironmongery and other small items” throughout the kingdom of France, by a royal decree obtained in 1613 from the Regent, Marie de Médicis for all Lombards. Despite the fact that their commerce prospered at the end of the 18th century, it was not until the beginning of the 19th that the Mellerio family finally set up shop definitively in Paris.

    With the arrival of Napoleon to power, jewellery in Paris experienced boost, re-becoming “the capital of fashion and jewellery which it had once been before the Revolution of 1789”. It was François Mellerio (1772-1843) who laid the foundations. He was to receive several key commissions from Josephine, and he was to become supplier by appointment not only to the empress but also to the Napoleonic haute bourgeoisie. The shop soon made a great deal of money.

    The house was to too its greatest days during the Second Empire, both financially and artistically, managing always to stay ahead of the game. The imperial couple greatly admired Mellerio’s talents and ordered many items throughout their reign. The aim of the thesis is to consider French jewellery style and taste during the 19th century, particularly during the Second Empire when the house was at its apogee. After 1870, and unlike the imperial court, the ‘maison’ of Napoleon III was not seen as archaic. Having, in effect, descended from the royal ‘maisons’, it had successfully cemented its role in presenting an image of power, of which the Third Republic would later take advantage.