The only son of the emperor Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie de Montijo, here about eight, is shown with the Emperor's dog.
As his drawing tutor, the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux knew the young prince well. He asked another boy to pose alternately so he could concentrate on the details of the clothing. The crown prince has the natural look of an upper class child of his time, but no imperial attributes or official costume. He thus illustrates the new importance that children had acquired within the family.
The portrait of the crown prince was very well received. It was reproduced in different sizes, in bronze, plaster, terracotta and biscuit.
Even after the fall of the Empire and the tragic death of the crown prince, killed by the Zulus in South Africa in 1879, the Sevres porcelain factory continued to sell his portrait under the title Boy with a Dog.