La Rochere pitcher and 3 glasses with bee emblem placed on picnic table outdoors
La Rochere pitcher and 3 glasses with bee emblem placed on wooden tray
6 La Rochere glasses with embossed bee emblem
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La Rochere Bee Collection Glassware

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La Rochere has been producing artisanal glass in the heart of France for more than 500 years, making it the oldest continuously running glass factory in Europe.

The Symbol of the Bee -

After much consideration, Napoleon chose the bee as the emblem to represent his status as Emperor. It is a motif rich in meanings.

Due to its industrious habits the bee has come to symbolise hard work, diligence, industriousness and orderliness. Because it is also the producer of honey, the bee also symbolises sweetness and benevolence.

According to legend the bee never sleeps so it has also come to imply vigilance and zeal – both attributes Napoleon was happy to own. In seeking an appropriate emblem for himself, Napoleon looked to one of his great heroes and antecedents, the Emperor Charlemagne who had adopted the cicada as an emblematic device. Napoleon mistook its outline for that of the bee and, recognising the conventional symbolism associated with the bee found it suitable for his purposes.

Numerous versions of the bee were commissioned by Napoleon – from tiny sculptural representations, usually gilded and commonly attached to items such as snuff boxes, to the embroidered motifs on his coronation robe and printed or painted images on wallpaper.