Enfilade

At Auction | Gold Laurel Leaf from Napoleon’s Crown

Posted in Art Market by Editor on October 13, 2017

Martin-Guillaume Biennais, gold laurel leaf from the crown made for the coronation of Napoleon, 1804.

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At Fontainebleau on November 19, Osenat plans to auction a gold laurel leaf from the crown made by Martin-Guillaume Biennais for Napoleon’s 1804 coronation, estimated to sell for 100,000 and 150,000 euros ($118,000 to $177,000). As reported by Agence France-Presse, via Art Daily (12 October 2017) . . .

The French leader crowned himself emperor at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris in 1804, famously taking the Roman-style laurel wreath and putting it on his own head, instead of letting Pope Pius VII do the honours. But at a fitting for the crown in the days leading up to the spectacular event, the ‘little Corsican’ had complained that it was too heavy, the Osenat auction house said. So goldsmith Martin-Guillaume Biennais took six large leaves out of the crown, later giving one to each of his six daughters. . . .

The original wreath was melted down after Napoleon’s fall in the wake of the Battle of Waterloo. . . . [It] had 44 large gold laurel leaves and 12 smaller ones. It cost him 8,000 francs, a considerable fortune at the time, with the box it was stored in setting him back a further 1,300 francs. . .

The full article is available here»

Jacques-Louis David, The Coronation of Napoleon in the Cathedral of Notre Dame; oil on canvas, 1805–07 (Louvre, Paris).

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