In 1871, Carpeaux was invited to sculpt the emperor while they were both in exile in England. Sittings in 1872 were interrupted by the emperor’s illness, and Carpeaux arrived at Chislehurst too late by one day: Napoleon III died January 9, 1873, and the marble is dated January 13, implying that Carpeaux touched up his model after viewing the corpse.
Signature: Signed and dated (on left tranche): Chiselhurst [sic] / 13 Janvier 1873 / JBte Carpeaux.
Inscription: on front vertical tranche: NAPOLEON. III.
Empress Eugénie de Montijo , Chislehurst, London, then Farnborough Hill, Hampshire, England (1873–d. 1920); [ her sale, Hampton and Sons , Farnborough Hill, July 18–27, 1927; to Fabius ] ; Raymond Fabius , Neuilly-sur-Seine (1927–56) ; [ Fabius Frères , Paris, until 1974; sold to MMA ]