Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Napoleon?

I spy with my little eye... you really need to look very high up to see this statue atop a very tall building in King Street. Is it Napoleon? And if not him, then who? I'd love to know but even my friend Norman who knows Sydney inside out couldn't find anything about him. A Hermes sign placed next to it increases the sense of French connection. Strange...
(note: this is not the Napoleon Bonaparte Sally showed you a couple of weeks ago)

Il faut vraiment lever les yeux très haut pour découvrir cette statue au sommet d'un grand immeuble de King Street, mais mon oeil averti a flashé sur le bicorne. Est-ce Napoléon ? Et sinon, qui est-ce ? Même mon ami Norman, pourtant grand connaisseur de Sydney, n'a pu trouver de renseignements sur lui. Curieusement, une publicité pour Hermès placée juste à côté augmente le sentiment d'une "French connection". Bizarre autant qu'étrange...
(à noter : et il ne s'agit pas du Napoléon que Sally vous avait montré il y a une quinzaine de jours)


Can you see him up there? (if not, click to enlarge the photo)
Vous le voyez tout là-haut ? (si non, cliquez pour agrandir l'image)

35 comments:

Pat said...

That's really interesting. Let us know if you find out why he's there. :)



My PAD and
Guelph Daily Photo

Olivier said...

tu as le coup d'oeil, car a voir sur la deuxieme photo, je ne l'aurais jamais remarque. Napoleon, pourquoi pas ? (si je me rapelle sally nous avais deja fait le coup en nous montrant une photo d'une statue d'un general, en nous demandant si ce n'etait pas Napoleon (pas la meme statue que toi) ).

Karola&Pamp said...

Is it really situated so high?
The monument is very pretty, but almost nobody can see it. Very strange.
I think that must be Napoleon. This pretty small guy always wanted be on the top of the world. ;)))

Sally said...

I consulted the resident Napoleon expert who says: Hmmm - very interesting! Definiteoly Napoleonic - the bicorn hat (which you mention in your French text) and Napoleon did indeed have a white horse.

I wonder whether the flags on the staffs are ACTUAL flags or just sculptures.

I wonder if the building ever housed the French consulate? Or Alliance? I think on this one we really have to consult a Sydney historian!!

Fascinating.

(The one Olivier refers to was Gov Bligh at Circular Quay/The Rocks who someone else mistook for Napoleon.)

hpy said...

De quelle couleur était le cheval blanc de Napoléon?
C'est surement l'empéreur!

Peter said...

Surprising! How did you spot it? Of course, now, with our "blogger eyes", we have maybe another view on things?

Doesn't he look a bit thin for Napoleon? I guess that his opponents used similar hats, very fashionable in the beginning of the 19th century.

Do you know if the building has a "name"? That could possibly give an explanation? ... or of course who were the first occupants. ("Occupants", a word that may refer to Napoleon.)

GMG said...

Napoleon in Sydney! That's amazing how it looks like Lenin in New York, on the top of Red Square building... Great blogger eye!

Abraham Lincoln said...

Wow. He is way up high there. I see him. It is very high up for anything.

Abraham Lincoln
Just a Lily today, plus a shaft of sunshine on my oak tree. A blessing for a bountiful crop — I hope.
Brookville Daily Photo

Nathalie said...

Sally, sorry I hadn't put a link to your own Napoleon Bonaparte in my original message, corrected now.

I'll try and go back tomorrow and see what's on the ground level of that building, I think it's a Chanel boutique shop.

Beetle said...

It's trully higher where he is but what for so high? and in small size made more hard to notice him

Jilly said...

Maybe it's Bligh - as per Sally's posting? Very interesting tho. So high up. Perhaps there's a restaurant up there called Napoleon's and so it's a gimmick. I'm only kidding really...

Imparfait présent said...

Il ne t'es jamais arrivé de te cogner quelque part en marchant la tête en l'air comme ça?

Dsole said...

oh I didn't have noticed if you didn't tell us! what a nice finding! :)

Sally said...

There's a Napoleon's bookshop in Sydney - maybe they were in that building once...?
I wonder if there's a French bank with a logo like that?
My blog makes an error I THINK - I think I said tricorn hat? (better check!)

Kate said...

I have a feeling that either you or Sally will solve the mystery. Maddening when it isn't readily available, right? How DID you spot it initially??

isabella said...

Who else would ride a white horse?
And who else had a strong desire to conquer the world? Why not Australia ;-)

bv said...

Can't be Napoleon Bonaparte, remember, we are still part of the British "Empire". Might be Nelson. Nathalie you should find a way to get up there and check the guy's eye ;-)

Well, speaking about Napoleon, I think I did spot a Napoleon Street in Sydney, crossing with Sussex St. Nath, it's not far from your place, you might want to check this too. And therefore, if you confirm, my British comment here above, falls in pieces...

Ce ne peut être Napoléon Bonaparte, voyons, nous sommes ici dans une colonie britannique! En revanche, il s'agit peut-être de Nelson. Nathalie, trouve un moyen de grimper là haut et vérifie son oeil ;-)

Enfin, à propos de Napoléon, je crois avoir remarqué une Rue Napoléon à Sydney. Nath, elle est tout près de chez toi, tu devrais y jeter un oeil. Si c'est bien le cas, ma remarque ci-dessus à propos de la colonie britannique ne tiend plus debout...

Sally said...

There certainly is a Napoleon St, bv...in just the area you mention.

I suspect it is most likely to relate to the original occupants of the building.

But, come on, when have you ever seen Nelson on a white horse rampant??? Did he ride round the recreation deck of
The Victory??? :-)))) That's so classicly Bonaparte imagery.

And...Nelson's hat seems different from pics on Google images- doesn't go down at the sides.

bv said...

well Sally, you are the expert, no doubt it's not Nelson. Missing the ship deck indeed.
maybe an obscur english sailor converted cavaliere... this one has more than 15mn of fame, hasn't he ;-)

Norman said...

Napoleon's Bookshop was never in that building. I knew the original Bookshop owner, an interesting Qld Liberal Party member who always voted Labor in Qld State Elections until Joh was defeated, on the grounds that the State Government was so corrupt, and the electorate boundaries so rigged against Labor, that it was immoral to do anything other than vote aginst his own Party at State level, until Labor won at least one State Election.

He sold a share in the Bookshop back then to a Castle Hill Nurseryman, an enthusiast on military history who describe himself, not altogether accurately, as being to the right of Genghis Khan. He also was prone to proclaim that the only decent French General ever was Napoleon --- pause --- but that was only because Bony was really a Corsican. Similar comments were occasionally made about Italy having lost the only decent General they might have had, because they lost Corsica. Bill no longer has a share in the bookshop, the Nursery is sold, and he runs a paintball business. Obviously he's still alive.

There are interesting, even colourful, people out there if only one looks
for them.

Nathalie said...

Norman, this is fascinating and I laughed aloud reading about these colourful characters/

Still the mystery remains unresolved...

Sally said...

Norman that's very funny. OK, so not Napoleons bookshop (where many a tome has been purchased by my resident historian!)

Cergie said...

Il faut avoir les yeux en l'air pour faire de belles découvertes, mais ne pas oublier où on met les pieds...
Trois couleurs pour une belle composition
Je ne pense pas que le bicorne soit l'apanage de Napoléon et je suis sûre que les anglais l'abhorrais et le craignait

Nathalie said...

By the way, this is almost on the corner of King and Elisabeth Streets.

Pod said...

i spotted him just the other day!

Nathalie said...

I hope there will be a closure to the Napoleon story. Sally is incredibly resourceful, she's asked ABC Radio to look into it!!!

Apparently there is a section on the ABC radio website where the breakfast team want suggestions for tracking down unusual things in Sydney! So she wrote to them.

They seem to have embraced the project enthusiastically. Now let's wait and see! Will keep you posted.

claude said...

Et ben ! cette staut pose intérrogation ! Napoléon or not Napoléon ? That is the question ! Qye ce soit lui ou Nelson, quelle idée de l'avoir perché si haut. Il faudrait pouvoir savoir de quelle couleur sont les drapeaux. And why not Napoléon, mais dans ce cas là, je me demande pourquoi...

Philippe said...

Mon avis...
Pas Napoléon ça c'est certain! Parce que C'est un tricorne et non un bicorne (faut beaucoup agrandir!^^), pas la silhouette du "corse". L'uniforme non plus ne correspond pas à ce qu'il est coutume de voir sur l'homme, et il semble d'ailleurs porter une péruque. Bref, Hermes étant à côté, je pense tout simplement à un cavalier; et oui, Hermes c'est avant tout un équipementier pour cavaliers... Désolé pour ceux qui y ont vu l'Empereur... Et quand on y pense: méritait-il une statue? Mais c'est une autre histoire...

richard said...

I guiltily confess to not reading all the comments in detail, however I too am of the "pas Napoleon" persuasion. It doesn't look very Napoleon like anyway in attitude, and I can't imagine why he would be carrying two flags.

However it did lead me to investigate the Hermes website, which is quite refreshing actually

Norman. said...

I still don't know.

Norman said...

I cross-examined several residents of the "Napoleon" building on Friday, Nathalie, but no luck. Some didn't even know the statue was up there. I'm still trying to catch up with a Barry, who some thought would know, but he's not easy to find.

Anonymous said...

Napoleon? je ne sais pas, mais allez faire un tour sur le blog d'Eric : Paris Daily Photo. La photo du 16 aout 2007 represente le meme cavalier, apparemment symbole de la maison Hermes. C'est naturel car apres tout, avant les sacs a main, Hermes est un celebre sellier...

Anonymous said...

they have that on top of most Hermès stores or buidings.. the 2 flags are usually 2 hermès carré, scarves..

E-PENGUIN said...

Bonjour! Je suis passé par votre blog par hazard et bien que je vive à Sydney depuis ma jeunesse, je n'avais jamais vu des photos de Sydney autant belles que celles sur votre blog!

Par rapport au panneau d'Hermes, le siège social d'Hermes Australia se trouve au niveau 11 du bâtiment ayant la statue de Népoleon en haut :)

E-PENGUIN said...

Ahh je veux dire "Napoléon"...