Archive for October 17th, 2009

Napoleon’s ass was here

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

Napoleon sat in this chairA chair which hosted the butt of a certain Napoleon Bonaparte the night before the Battle of Waterloo is up for auction this weekend. It’s expected to go for £15,000 ($24,500) or so.

Napoleon stayed that night with the Cambier family in Courcelles in Belgium, 22 miles from the battlefield. The daughter, Pauline Cambier, took good care of the chair, always mindful of the famous ass that once plonked upon it.

Featuring eight stretcher rungs, a rush seat and seven spindles, plus decorative features, it is at odds with the grandeur of the self-styled Emperor who sat on it.

It has had several owners and now is to be sold at auction and collectors from around Europe are expected to bid on it.

The chair dates to the late 18th or early 19th century. It has some wormwood holes and some age wear but it’s still in good condition, even good enough to sit in should you wish to sit in the buttprints of the great little man.

Napoleon memorabilia is a hot ticket, especially on the continent, and given this piece’s strong provenance and connection to his final downfall (now a metaphor for everyone’s final downfall), it’s bound to make a mint.

International Autograph Auctions, the same auction house that is selling the chair, is also running an autograph auction this weekend. Just as an interesting comparison, I checked out their Napoleon-era offerings, and it turns out that in the long term, to the victor do not necessarily go the spoils.

The Duke of Wellington’s handsome autograph goes for £150-200 ($245-$327), whereas Napoleon’s chicken scratch initials run £600-900 ($981-$1472).

Wellington autograph Napoleon autograph

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