• 1817
  • Drawing

Explanation

  • Ali, a stallion born in 1793, was Napoleon Bonaparte’s (1769-1821) personal war horse. It was an Arab stallion, bought after the Battle of the Nile. It is thought that the following year, after the Battle of Marengo on 14 June 1800, Napoleon started to call his stallion Marengo. The stallion was small, but quick and endowed with great endurance. Napoleon rode it at Austerlitz in 1805, Jena in 1806 and Wagram in 1809, and it survived the Russian campaign in 1812. Marengo was wounded eight times. After the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, it came into British hands. It subsequently became a public attraction and while still alive was exhibited in Pall Mall in London. It died in 1831. Peter von Hess had accompanied the Bavarian forces in the years before the fall of Napoleon. When Hess drew the stallion standing in the desert in 1817, no fewer than eighteen years had elapsed since Napoleon’s battles in Egypt. Heat and thirst were among the challenges facing the French army in Egypt. And the horses were spared having their tails cropped in order to reduce the nuisance from insects.

Dimension

  • Height 375 mm
  • Width 480 mm
  • Hess 1817
  • Inscription