LONDON, 399 Strand – With 2015 marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions and A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd presents The Military Sale: Wellington, Napoleon & The Napoleonic Wars on June 23 – an auction centered on Napoleon and the Napoleonic Wars. Prices range from £50 – £22,000 across approximately 300 lots, featuring a Napoleon death mask and private letters from the French Emperor alongside medals, militaria and works of art.
A reduced size bronze copy, by Dr François Carlo Antommarchi (1780-1838), signed with his name on truncation, 85.5mm, mounted on black marble as a paperweight. Dr François Carlo Antommarchi was appointed Napoleon’s physician in St Helena in 1818 remaining so till his death in 1821. There is a dispute as to whether the original death mask was taken by Antomarchi or Dr Francis Burton, stationed with the 66th Regiment in St Helena. Certainly it was Antommarchi who, on his return to Paris, had reproductions made in life and reduced size in bronze. Some examples are found with the founders’ names, L Richard, and Eck et Durand. £800-1,000 [Lot 85]
Confidential and Rare Three-page Autographed Letter to Sir William Hamilton (1730-1803), English ambassador to Naples and husband of Lady Emma, soon to be Nelson’s mistress. Still written with his right hand. £8,000-12,000 [Lot 52]
A Rare Printed Silk Commemorative Kerchief decorated with Napoleon Bonaparte, early 19th century. Decorated with honey bees, signifying immortality and resurrection. Bees were royal emblems of the Merovingians, later revived by Napoleon. £5,000-7,000 [Lot 27]
Napoléon a Waterloo, after Charles Auguste Steuben (1788-1856), Etching and Aquatint, on thick wove paper, c.1850, 590mm x 730mm. £300-500 [Lot 18]
A Pair of Patinated Bronze Equestrian Groups of a grenadier a cheval and a hussar £15,000-20,000 [Lot 39]
A Wonderful and Complete Collection of the Gutta Percha, Electrotypes and Electrotype Mould of Benedetto Pistrucci’s magnificent Waterloo Medal. In 1816 Pistrucci was asked to submit designs for the medal, which were to be struck in gold for allied sovereigns, their ministers and generals. Although he produced preliminary designs quickly, work on the medal itself proceeded slowly then lapsed due to his rivalry with others in the mint, and it was not until 1844, after many years of bitter negotiations over salary and status, that the work resumed. The dies were only completed in 1849 by which time the four allied sovereigns had died. Difficulties in producing such massive dies meant that they were never hardened and the only medals produced were extremely rare gutta percha impressions and electrotypes. The wax model for the medal is in the Mint Museum in Rome and the dies are in the Royal Mint Museum. It remains one of the most iconic commemorative medals in the British series. £1,800-2,200 [Lot 70]
The Peninsular Wars Army Gold Medal, awarded to Major-General Charles Edward Conyers CB, 1st Battalion 82nd (Prince of Wales’ Volunteers) Regiment, who fought and was wounded in action on three occasions on three separate continents during a significant and varied military career spanning some 60 years throughout the Napoleonic Wars and beyond. He was awarded the Army Gold Medal for commanding his regiment at the Battle of Orthes, 27 February 1814, until severely wounded. £18,000-22,00 [Lot 87]