Murat became famous–perhaps “notorious” would be a better word–for designing outlandish uniforms for himself, to make himself stand out not only on the battlefield, but wherever he went. While Constant, Napoleon’s valet, who liked Murat, charitably recalled that Murat was “the man in all France who dressed with the most care, and nearly always in good taste,” Napoleon himself could be less charitable on the subject. The Emperor bestowed upon his brother-in-law a number of nicknames over the years, including that of “King Franconi”–Franconi being a famous circus performer. Napoleon, though generally amused by Murat’s unique attire, occasionally drew the line when his brother-in-law appeared to be on the verge of stealing too much attention or causing the Emperor embarrassment among foreign powers. Unimpressed with Murat’s Polish-inspired uniform right before his meeting with Tsar Alexander at Tilsit in 1807, Napoleon grumpily ordered Murat to “Go put on a General’s uniform; you look like a circus rider.”
Below are several random pictures of Murat, by various artists, to provide a (small) glimpse into the variety of his uniforms over the course of his career.