Monday, March 17, 2014

Napoleon's last leaf

This is the last remaining gold laurel leaf from the wreath that Napoleon wore at his coronation in 1804. The leaves (and berries) - all fashioned by the court jeweler Martin-Guillaume Biennais in naturalistic style - were later melted down by Louis XVIII during the Restoration. This leaf survived because Napoleon gave it to the painter Jean-Baptiste Isabey, who later had it mounted in this box with an accompanying note about how he came to have it:

"At Saint-Cloud in 1805, before the departure for Milan, I was helping the emperor as he tried on the royal crown which was supposed to go above the golden laurel wreath made for the coronation in Notre-Dame. One of the leaves fell off. Just as I was about to give it to the head chamberlain, His Majesty said to me: 'Keep it; it will make a good souvenir of your clumsiness.'"

It is worth listening to the short audioguide for this piece. 

Laurel leaf image courtesy of The National Museum of Sweden
Quotation via


Unknown said...

So much prettier in person. Very petite and beautiful, understates but simply gorgeous. The picture is nice but we have a million times better antique jewelry .
If you don't mind please have a look to my jewelry collection! hope you like it too!

Unknown said...

Diamond Jewellery Store In Delhi in 2016 with the latest jewellery design from the our online jewellery store.

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