Partisan of the “Gardes De La Manche”
- Dated: 1679
- Maker: Jean Bérain
- Place of Origin: France
- Medium: iron, wood, textile
- Techniques: wrought, chased, engraved, gilded
- Creation place : France
- Measurements: height: 2,58 m; width: 0,10 m
The marriage by proxy of Charles II of Spain and Mademoiselle d’Orléans, niece of Louis XIV, was celebrated on 31 August 1679 in Fontainebleau. This was a chance for the King of France to welcome representatives from Europe’s leading figures and sign treaties with Sweden and Denmark, following the Dutch War.
On this occasion, the Gardes de la Manche (King’s guards) were given new partisans, whose decoration expressed the royal ideology and world view of the King of France. The Gardes de la Manche (literally “guards of the sleeve”) were the closest guards to the King, so close they touched his sleeve.
In 1679, they were given new tabards and weapons. The Herculean symbolism, inherited from Henry IV, was replaced in their decorations by the solar symbolism adopted by Louis XIV circa 1662. Indeed, the iron of the partisans represents the world (a globe) above which flies a chariot driven by Mars, the god of war (the King).
This chariot, drawn by four horses, crushes the eagle (the Holy Empire) and the lion (often associated with England but representing Spain in this context). The King is crowned with the victor’s laurels by an allegory of Renown, under the radiant sun surrounded by the motto "NEC PLURIBUS IMPAR".
Jean Bérain (1640-1711) was entrusted with making these weapons. In 1675, he began designing the costumes and decorations for the events - carrousels, funerals as well as parties and operas - held at the Court of France.
Source: Copyright © 2013 Musée de l’Armée