Baton of Marshal of France from the Second Empire period
Baton of Marshal of France from the Second Empire period
Attributed to Marshal Randon
Object N° 2200

Service and campaign model. The cylindrical brass body is covered with midnight blue silk velvet strewn with thirty uncrowned imperial eagles in stamped gilt brass, encroaching on a thunderbolt from which lightning falls, spread over six columns. The upper end, in gilded brass, has a band with a matte background bearing the motto "TERROR BELLI, DECUS PACIS" of which each letter, without serifs, is welded and burnished; the amati-bottomed top is adorned with a twisted imperial eagle, in high relief, encroaching on a thunderbolt throwing two burnished lightning bolts. The tip

lower in gilded brass, has a band and a slightly domed bottom.

Good general condition, missing its velvet revealing the silk weft.

Paris, 1854-1870, circa 1856.

L. 50 x D 5 cm. Gross weight: 567.5g.


- Most likely, Marshal Jacques Louis Randon (1795-1871).

- Descendants of Marshal Ney (1769-1815).

- Binoche and Giquello sale, June 20, 2012, lot 107.


Under the Second Empire, general officers elevated to the dignity of Marshal of France received a staff with vermeil ornaments, the lower cap of which bore the dedication and the date of attribution: "Given by the Emperor Napoleon III to his cousin the Marshal… The…”. This precious baton was to be worn with the ceremonial dress of marshals. However, pictorial or photographic iconography from 1848 to 1870 shows us that marshals exercising a military command or an administrative function displayed a baton in all circumstances, whether in large or small uniform. It then seems obvious that these marshals were forced to acquire one, or even two, service and campaign batons with less fragile ornaments in gilded brass, in order to

to preserve all its original luster to their precious vermeil ceremonial staff.

The official supplier of ceremonial batons, under the Second Republic and the Second Empire, was Maison Thiébaut (jeweler manufacturer,

178 rue Montmartre in Paris) of which we know the batons of a few marshals, most of which are kept at the Musée de l'Armée in Paris: Harispe named in 1851 (inv. 2003.10.8 – in vermeil and dumb), Magnan and Castellane in 1852 (inv. 04869, Cc922 – in vermeil with dedication & 6624, Cc336 – in vermeil with dedication), Regnault de Saint-Jean d'Angély in 1859 (inv. 04014, Cc900 - in vermeil), and d'Ornano in 1861 ( 27769, CC); that of Marshal Randon, named in 1856 and illustrated in Count Spada's work "Onore e Glorie, Francia, Russia, Austria" (pp. 148-149), is also by Thiébaut.

The service and campaign batons do not seem to come from goldsmiths but from suppliers of military articles such as Michel-Ange Marion (21 rue de Haute Feuille in Paris), best known for his production of flag eagles, including those in aluminum Golden. These batons, intended to integrate baggage sent far away and to appear on military operations, were silent (without dedication or coat of arms), in the event of loss or capture.

To date, two service and campaign batons are listed with a given affiliation: one for Marshal Canrobert and another

for Marshal Randon. The first, kept at the Risorgimento Museum in Milan (Palazzo Moriggia), bears eagles similar to those on

the baton shown here, but its tips are different. The second, kept at the Musée de l'Armée in Paris (inv. 16354 – in gilded and mute brass), is identical, even in terms of its individually soldered sans serif letters.

The attribution to Marshal Randon of the baton presented here is supported by his career and confirmed by the presence of his seal in the sale of Marshal Ney (see above), both with the same provenance.


Jacques Louis Randon (1795-1871) was elevated to the dignity of Marshal of France in 1856, while he was Governor General of Algeria. He exercised this function from 1851 to 1858 and, in this capacity, made numerous crossings between France and Algeria, and led several military expeditions there. From 1859 to 1867 he was Minister of War. Such a quarry suggests the probable use of two service and campaign batons, ordered from Marion, which explains its perfect similarity with that of the Paris Army Museum (inv. 16354) which is also mute and with wear. pronounced velvet in the lower part. It should be noted that this baton of Marshal Randon comes from the former Franchet d'Espérey museum in Algiers and was returned to the Paris Army Museum on September 29, 1962.

During the Second Empire, besides Randon, only two other marshals of France had an R for the initial of their name: Reille and Regnault de Saint-Jean d'Angely. The first was elevated to dignity in 1847 and he exercised neither military command nor administrative function during the Second Empire. The second one's ceremonial baton, by Thiébaut, is kept at the Musée de l'Armée in Paris (inv. 04014, Cc900) and bears traces of impact on its silver-gilt tips, showing that Regnault de Saint-Jean d'Angély probably used no other baton.