St Helena Online

Tag: auction

Not for sale: the shirt worn by ailing Bonaparte on St Helena

A French court has stopped the auction of the shirt that was worn by Napoleon just before he fell into his final coma on St Helena, reports The Guardian.

The sweat-stained garment was one of a number of souvenirs taken back to France by Achille Thomas Archambault, a former horse-breaker who became a member of the fallen emperor’s domestic staff at Longwood.

The items, including a small walking stick and a lock of the emperor’s hair, were due to go under the hammer at Fontainebleau on Sunday, 23 March 2014.

But the servant’s descendants obtained an injunction preventing the sale shortly before it was to take place, fearing the objects would leave France. The newspaper also quotes the auction house, Osenat, saying that various people claim ownership rights, including a government minister.

Read the full story here.

Boney’s death mask fetches £170,000 – despite doubts

Click the pic to read John Tyrrell's full blog post
Click the pic to read John Tyrrell’s full blog post

A “death mask” made from a cast of Napoleon’s face at Longwood has been sold at auction for three times its expected price – despite doubts raised by a writer on St Helena history.

Bonhams of London sold it for £169,250 on Wednesday (19 June 2013). Its estimated sale price was only £40-£60,000.

Before the sale, historian John Tyrrell had questioned the story of how the island’s senior chaplain, the Rev Boys, had come to be given the mask when people closer to the exiled emperor had not. It was not clear whether he had even met Napoleon, he said.

SEE ALSO: Doubts voiced as Napoleon death mask is auctioned

LINK: Napoleon’s death mask fetches £170,000 at auction

Napoleon’s Longwood letter has experts debating

Alabaster bust of Napoleon at The Briars
Napoleon bust at The Briars on St Helena

A letter written by Napoleon at Longwood – in English – has set commentators off on a debate about whether he was any good at his captors’ language.

The letter is tipped to fetch in the region of £65,000 at an auction in the French town of Fontainebleau on Sunday.

America’s CNN quotes auction house expert Jean-Christophe Chataigner saying the emperor learned English without his captors’ knowledge as a form of revenge.

“I think that French people who learn English today make lots more mistakes than Napoleon at the time, so it’s a letter which is relatively well-written.”

But the BBC quotes lines from the letter, written to his secret tutor:

“It is two o’clock after midnight, I have enow [enough] sleep, I go then finish the night into to cause with you,” he wrote to the Comte de las Cases.

The BBC’s Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield said Napoleon’s pronunciation was “even worse” that his writing:

“The comte said it was like a completely new language, which only he, the teacher, could understand. Still, you have to admire the panache.”

SEE ALSO:
St Helena goes on show – in Australia – Napoleon exhibition

LINKS:
Rare Napoleon letter in English goes on sale – CNN
Napoleon’s halting English on show in auction letter – BBC

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