The Emperor and the Empress received by Senator-Count Mimerel

The Emperor and the Empress received by Senator-Count Mimerel

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Title: The Emperor and Empress received by Senator-Count Mimerel in Roubaix, August 29, 1867.

Author : JACQUAND Claudius (1803 - 1878)

Creation date : 1867

Date shown: December 29, 1867

Dimensions: Height 99 - Width 132

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage place: National Museum of the Château de Compiègne website

Contact copyright: © Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux website

Picture reference: 05-510416 NU / C86002

The Emperor and the Empress received by Senator-Count Mimerel in Roubaix, August 29, 1867.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - F. Raux

Publication date: May 2005

Historical context

In 1867, the prestige of the imperial regime was already greatly tarnished, in France and abroad. From 1865, the emperor's authority declined: he was ill and his will weakened. France suffers from failures everywhere: disastrous expedition from Mexico, humiliating policy of "tips" with Prussia ... In 1866, the Prussian victory of Sadowa over Austria clearly demonstrates the military superiority of the victor and the unifying ambitions of Bismarck, moreover, deeply convinced that German unity can only arise from a war against France.

From August 26 to 29, 1867, Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie made an official trip to the north of France to commemorate the bicentenary of the attachment of the towns of Flanders to French territory - conquered by Louis XIV in 1667, they have been officially and definitively integrated into the kingdom by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, concluded with Spain on May 2, 1668. The speeches he made in Arras and, above all, in Lille, are, in this respect, revealing : "Black dots have darkened our horizon," said the emperor, who however ended his speech by encouraging the French to trust.

Image Analysis

August 29, 1867 is the last day of the sovereign's official trip to northern France. After stopping in Tourcoing, the imperial couple went to Roubaix. Received at the town hall by the authorities, the emperor and empress then visited industrial establishments, in particular the very important cotton mill founded by Auguste Mimerel, where they had lunch.

Auguste Mimerel (1786-1871), who was then 81 years old, is a very important figure. Deputy from the North to the Legislative Assembly in 1849, he was a member of the Consultative Commission responsible for examining electoral files following the plebiscite of December 21 and 22, 1851. From January 1852, he was a member of the first appointed senators. Finally, he was elevated to the dignity of hereditary count by letters patent of May 20, 1866.

Claudius Jacquand's painting shows the senator at the height of imperial favor, when the sovereigns, who have accepted to have lunch with him, have just arrived in his house. In the background we can see a set table. Auguste Mimerel, standing to the right in his beautiful embroidered senator's coat, speaks to the emperor. Behind him, his son Édouard (1812-1889) who, at that time, actually ran the spinning mill, and his grandson Armand (1839-1889) hold hands at this moment so important to their family. On the ladies' side, Joséphine, wife of Auguste Mimerel, is in a gray dress in the background. Beside her, to her left, dressed in black, stands her daughter-in-law, Laure, wife of Edouard. Finally, on the left of the painting, Julie-Émilie, wife of Armand, pushes in front of her little Laure, her daughter, who presents to the seated Empress a frame containing a blessed boxwood branch, distributed in the Tuileries chapel during of the undulating of the imperial prince on March 17, 1856. Four generations of Mimerel thus appear on this table, perhaps even five, because there is reason to believe that the portraits hanging on the wall, on the left, are those of the parents of 'Auguste Mimerel, whose father had been judge-consul in Amiens in 1789.

Claudius Jacquand detailed this scene with anecdotal detail, probably at the request of Auguste Mimerel with whom he was linked.


This work by Claudius Jacquand is interesting in more ways than one. The painter materialized on the canvas an event that testifies to the social rise of a family of manufacturers who reached their peak. The Mimerel family is originally from Amiens, therefore of Picardy stock. Under the Ancien Régime, it belonged to the powerful corporation of cloth merchants. For at least five generations, she gave the city of Amiens consuls and aldermen. In 1820, the marriage of Charles-Antoine Mimerel to Adèle Delahoutre, daughter of the mayor of Roubaix, led to the exodus of the family to the North. Charles-Antoine's younger brother, Auguste Mimerel, commissioner of the painting by Claudius Jacquand, created important spinning mills in Roubaix. He was mayor of Roubaix, senator, president of the General Council of the North and of the Council of Manufactures. He was also one of the main promoters of the Roubaix Canal and founder of the Patronat Français. Thomas Couture (1815-1879) painted his portrait in 1850.

The table also highlights the close links that united the Second Empire to certain families belonging to the industrial and commercial upper middle class. Indeed, at the beginning of the reign of Napoleon III, industrial circles, the big bosses of the textile industry in particular, supported the regime. In 1860, however, the emperor, sensitive to the arguments of the Saint-Simonians of his entourage as much as desirous of an alliance with the United Kingdom, signed the Franco-English trade treaty and precipitated an evolution towards free trade that alienates the support of the employers' circles, favorable to the maintenance of a protectionist policy. Auguste Mimerel nevertheless remained loyal to the imperial regime as evidenced by the warm welcome he lavished on the sovereigns during their stay in Roubaix, but this courageous loyalty discredited him in the eyes of the employers, hostile to the liberalism of trade.

Finally, if there are innumerable figurations of the emperor and the empress in scenes of public life, their representation in what one might call "scenes of private life", as it is. the case here is much rarer.

  • bonapartism
  • bourgeoisie
  • family
  • Empress Eugenie (Montijo de)
  • Napoleon III
  • Second Empire


Éric ANCEAU, Dominique BARJO, Isabelle LESCENT-GILES and Bruno MARNOT (collective), Entrepreneurs of the Second Empire, Paris, Presses de l'Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2003. Jean-Marie MOULIN, "Musée national du Château de Compiègne. Recent acquisitions (1978-1986) for the museum of the Second Empire", in The Revue du Louvre and the Museums of France, 1-1988. Dominique RICHARD, Biography and catalog raisonné of the painted works of Claudius Jacquand (1803-1878), Works of the Institute of Art History of Lyon, cahier n ° 7, 1984.Dominique RICHARD, "Claudius Jacquand," this skillful artist "", in Ingres Museum Bulletin, n ° 45, July 1980. Jean TULARD (under the direction of), Dictionary of the Second Empire, Paris, Fayard, 1995.

To cite this article

Alain GALOIN, "The Emperor and the Empress received by Senator-Count Mimerel"

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