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Silver and gold plate

THE KEYS TO THE CITY OF LYON

Room 20, L'Empire (the Empire), Inv. 204, 82 a and 82 b

Symbolic, these three keys are objets d’art and do not actually open any door in the city. They represent the three divisions (west, southern and north), which made up the city under the first Empire (1804-1814). Each one is decorated with a symbol illustrating the specific features of the district.

They were made to commemorate the visit to Lyons of Emperor Napoleon I and Empress Josephine on 10 April 1805. They were presented to the Emperor publically, before an audience of politicians whose names are engraved on the back of the plaque, as a sign of the allegiance and gratitude of the city of Lyon.

The keys are made from gilt bronze and the plaque, made from gilded silver, is engraved with the arms of Lyon. The pieces were designed by sculptor Joseph Chinard (1756-1813) and produced by silversmith/goldsmith Antoine Saunier.

See the detailed sheet