- Duc de Reichstadt = Napoleon II (1811-32, TB), infant dress reflects his still only being 21 in 1832?
- Mariée = his (married) mistress, Sophie of Bavaria (1805-72).
- Baby = Maximilian I of Mexico (1832-67, in most unfortunate circumstances), widely believed to be their lovechild.
- The (mechanical acrobat) Pulcinella & Mameluke toys = what has become of Napoleon I’s Italian and Egyptian imperial fantasies.
But perhaps d’Allemagne, not the toy manufacturer, is responsible for the composition of the image.
A popular print of the King of Rome (sic), now aged two, on a rocking horse in a The First Race of Childhood – happier times:
Another Polichinelle, with Harlequin and, apparently, Bobéche:
It seems to me that the 19th century Pulcinella acquires characteristics of Napoleon I – another swaggering bully, in caricature at least – and that in particular Pulcinella’s hat is often simplified to resemble that of the Corsican’s, even as Napoleon’s medical problems gradually converted him into a woman. Here is a nephew of Napoléon, son of the King in the Kassel, as a nicely humpbacked Polichinelle:
And this is apparently the great man himself as Punchinello – bone, date unclear:
There is probably a dreadfully earnest book somewhere about such things. But here, from d’Allemagne’s splendid book, is something infinitely more amusing:
- A sensational 1810 Parisian fire scene on top of an 1840s Russian barrel organ
But who are the three noseless Austrian ladies?
- The secret life of organ-grinders
Speculation in French revolutionary fiduciary currency, the murder of the great British ballad-singer, & a revised date (1802) for the start of the supposedly post-Napoleonic emigration of Italian puppeteers & organ-grinders
- Sister Mary and the Bird
Translations from Welsh and Yiddish revealing ornithomancy amongst the 19th century north Welsh and Jewish Lithuanians.
- The Singing Organ-Grinder’s top 10 pig songs
Sincerity meets spam.