This week: Napoleon’s charger Marengo
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.