Napoleonic Tiger

by Dorothea

“What news? Ma foi! The tiger has broken out of his den. The monster was three days at sea. The wretch has landed at Fréjus. The Brigand has arrived at Antibes. The Invader has reached Grenoble. The General has entered Lyons. Napoleon slept last night at Fontainebleau. The Emperor proceeds to the Tuileries to-day. His Imperial Majesty will address his loyal subjects to-morrow.”

This is how Napoleon’s return from Elba was progressively regarded in Paris.


After zebra and leopard, we still have to discuss tiger print… Less common, but perhaps more subtle, tiger print works well in velvet and silk, and when used sparingly, has maximum effect. The lady above has adorned my mood board for years: a total look, but irresistible!

I consider the tiger the supreme feline, it is one of the most endangered species on the planet, with only about 3 200 surviving in the wild today, spread out over many countries in South East Asia.

Tiger1Royal Tiger by Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)

Tiger skins and patterns have been “in vogue” throughout the centuries from antiquity onwards, the real skins amongst the  most coveted for their rarity and impressive beauty. In Napoleon’s Empire Style, tiger pattern featured in upholstery like here:

StoolAn Empire stool with silk velvet in a tiger pattern

If you really want a live mini tiger in your life you can consider a beautiful breed called Toyger, a cross between a Bengal cat and a domestic shorthair:

ToygerToyer Cat – Photography by Tetsu Yamazaki

“TIGER, tiger, burning bright

In the forests of the night,

What immortal hand or eye 

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?”

William Blake. 1757–1827