This week: Napoleon’s charger Marengo

Country Life Every Week - - Athena -

The skull from the newly con­served and re­assem­bled skeleton of Marengo, one of Napoleon’s favourite horses, which was cap­tured af­ter the Bat­tle of Water­loo, is among the ob­jects back on dis­play at the Na­tional Army Mu­seum, Chelsea SW3, which has just re­opened fol­low­ing a three-year re­de­vel­op­ment at a cost of £23.75 mil­lion.

Napoleon ac­quired Marengo, a sixyear-old Arab stal­lion, in 1799 and named him af­ter one of his vic­to­ries fought the fol­low­ing year. Marengo stood just over 14 hands high—tech­ni­cally mak­ing him a pony—and had a light-grey coat. He died in 1831.

Dur­ing re­cent con­ser­va­tion work at the Nat­u­ral History Mu­seum, the skeleton was cleaned and re­assem­bled in a more life­like pos­ture. Two hooves are miss­ing from it and sur­vive as snuff boxes. Cu­ri­ously, another of Napoleon’s horses is, to­day, all skin and no bones; the stuffed skin of Le Vizir was re­cently con­served and is on dis­play in the Musée de l’ar­mée at Les In­valides, Paris.

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