This article takes as its point of departure Sudhir Hazareesingh’s research on the “cult of seditious objects” which flourished in France during the Cent-Jours and the Bourbon Restoration. Its aim is to offer an unconventional perspective of the emotional waves linked to Napoleonic nostalgia and revival in the Italian peninsula of the Restoration Age. In the case of France, the Napoleonic political drama was nourished with accessories and images portraying Napoleon and his son, the mass production and circulation of which coincided with the periodic expectations of their return to power. Furthermore, it was Napoleon himself ̶ who left objects that had been in contact with his own body to his son, including his beloved snuff boxes ̶ who believed that such a physical relationship was meant to transfer enduring affection and memory, while shaping a political identity and heritage based on what rapidly came to be understood as the joint narrative of «the Eagle and the Little Eagle». A similar phenomenon also took place in some areas of the Italian peninsula during the early phase of the Risorgimento, and even in the post-1848 period, when private purchasers and collectors played a role in international and local networks of Napoleonic ‘mementoes’ and relics, the connections and geography of which still await scholarly investigation. Based on a significant sample of everyday objects from both private and museum collections (most notably, those held in the Museo Glauco Lombardi in the city of Parma, capital of the Duchy assigned by the Vienna Congress to Napoleon’s wife, Mary Louise of Austria), this essay focuses on the emergence in Italy of a material tale of the Napoleonic adventure consisting of bodily, tactile and visual experience. Being worn, touched and seen, such objects were meant to testify, revive or share political feelings, especially in a private and safe environment. Loyalty and nostalgia, if not open protest, could thus survive by means of relics and handmade articles, shaping fashionable short-term fetishism and political long-term memory.
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