Brilliant soldier-statesman and legendary conqueror, Napoléon Bonaparte was one of the Western world’s most powerful leaders, as well as one of its greatest patrons of the arts. Please join M.S. Rau Antiques in celebrating the emperor's 250th birthday, with a champagne toast, delectable French desserts and a special gallery tour that explores the life and legacy of this fascinating historic figure.

 From a monumental portrait of Napoléon before the Battle of Moscow to an original bronze death mask of Napoléon, the tour offers a glimpse into the intimate life and ultimate legacy of the soldier, statesman and ruler. On special display will be the deposed emperor's personal desk that he used during his exile on the island of St. Helena. This rare opportunity to celebrate Napoléon's life and legacy is not to be missed.

LOCATION

M.S. Rau Antiques

630 Royal Street

New Orleans


 

WORKS FROM THE
NAPOLEON COLLECTION

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Bronze Death Mask of Napoleon I

This captivating bronze death mask of the Emperor Napoleon I is cast from the mold created by Dr. Francesco Antommarchi, Napoleon’s personal physician and companion during the last two years of his life. Cast by the French firm of L. Richard et Quesnel, this mask is one of the few French bronze masks created at Dr. Antommarchi’s request. 

One of the most intriguing reliquary objects in history, the story of the cast remains one of great fascination. Taken one and a half days after the deposed emperor’s death on the island of St. Helena on May 5, 1821, there remains some dispute about who took the original "parent cast" of the deposed emperor. It is now believed that the first mold was cast, not by Dr. Antommarchi, but by Dr. Francis Burton of Britain’s 66th Regiment, stationed at St. Helena. Dr. Burton took the mold on May 7th, after gathering the materials to mix a rudimentary plaster-of-Paris. After setting it to dry, he reluctantly entrusted it to a Madame Bertrand, who had been a member of Napoleon’s court and shared his exile, for safekeeping until it was dry enough to pack away. Unfortunately, Madame Bertrand must have had no intention of giving this precious item up, and removed all but the back third part of the mask before returning to France with her husband. Burton himself has even stated that Bertrand took the mask without his knowledge or consent. In fact, upon his return to England, he attempted to sue her for the return of the mask, but to no avail. 

Skillfully crafted of carved nephrite, this one-of-a-kind sculpture is a fantastical recreation of the tomb of Napoleon on St. Helena, the island of the Emperor’s final exile and eventual death. Almost certainly made in the first years following the legendary leader’s death, the work lends Napoleon’s tomb a grandeur and opulence it never achieved in life; the original tomb in St. Helena’s Sane Valley was a simple, unadorned plot beneath a willow. The present piece, however, is crafted with a complexity and majesty befitting the French leader. Fascinating in subject and design, this objet d’art is an intricate and dazzling display of nephrite workmanship.

An island 1,162 miles from the west coast of Africa, St. Helena was chosen as the place of Napoleon’s final exile precisely for its isolation; the British feared a repeat ...

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Nephrite Napoleonic
Tomb Sculpture

Napoléon's Tomb

1818-1871  I  American
Oil on Canvas

This exceptional work by the American painter Thomas Prichard Rossiter represents a masterful combination of American romanticism and historical genre painting. The subject is the tomb of the French Emperor Napoléon on the island of St. Helena, where he had been exiled by the British from 1815 until his death in 1821. Rossiter presents a romantic and idealized vision of Napoléon’s resting place, executed with a distinctively American eye for the romantic in its juxtaposition of light and shadow. Cleverly hidden between the trees is the silhouette of the emperor himself, gazing out towards the sea as though longing to return to France.

Having been imprisoned and exiled on St. Helena by the British following the Hundred Days and his defeat at the...

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This exceptional Empire plate warmer was specially crafted for one of the most legendary men in Western history, Emperor Napoléon I. Made especially for the Emperor's home service, the plate is the work of the preeminent Martin-Guillane Biennais, the Goldsmith to the Emperor who was, in his age, considered the best jeweler in France. Displaying the high level of craftsmanship for which Biennais is renowned, the plate is formed in the elegant neoclassical style that pervaded...

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Emperor Napoléon Plate Warmer By Biennais

This amazing footbath was created for Napoleon Bonaparte. It was part of the toilet service to be used during his exile on St. Helena. Just before shipment, a member of Parliament rejected the service because its laurel leaf decoration looked too much like a victor’s wreath, and he did not want Napoleon to feel he had been victorious in any way. Though never used by Napoleon, the fact that this intriguing footbath was destined for one of the most significant figures in world history makes...

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Napoléon's Footbath
By George Bullock

Bronze Isis By Emile-Louis Picault

The Egyptian goddess Isis strikes a regal pose in this extraordinary group of bronze figures by famed French sculptor Émile-Louis Picault, one of the most celebrated Orientalist sculptors of the 19th century. Renowned for his magnificent work celebrating allegorical, mythological and patriotic subjects, Picault's Egyptian-influenced works such as the present group are among his most desirable, bringing upwards of $114,000 at auction. This extraordinary group embodies the high level of detail and elaborate design for which Picault's work is so loved.

Seated on an Egyptian column atop faux marble bases and proudly clutching a scepter in the shape of Anubis, this beautifully modeled figure exemplifies the formidable beauty of the Egyptian deity. Her magnificently carved robes drape elegantly over her voluptuous figure, while a traditional headdress adorned by a vulture rests atop her head. She is joined by two attendants, a man and a woman, whose stances evoke the drama of ancient Egypt and the...

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Napoléon's St. Helena Desk

This exceptional Regency desk was specially crafted for one of the most legendary men in Western history, Napoléon Bonaparte. Commissioned by the British government for Napoléon's personal use during his exile on the island of St. Helena, the exceptionally rare relic was crafted by George Bullock, one of the most important British cabinetmakers of the 19th century. Absolutely extraordinary in both provenance and craftsmanship, a piece of furniture of this incredible importance is rarely seen on the market.

When Napoléon was exiled to St. Helena in 1815, an order was issued by King George IV (then the Prince Regent) that the former Emperor “should be furnished in his banishment with every possible gratification and comfort.” It was thus that the renowned George Bullock was commissioned to create a group of furniture that was relatively unadorned, yet befitting Napoléon’s former status. This stately, masterfully crafted desk was among them and resided in Napoléon’s own bedroom during his six years on the ...

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Help Us Celebrate

Self-Guided Tour:
Monday, August 12th - Saturday, August 17th

Champagne Toast & Dessert:
Thursday, August 15th from 12:30pm - 3:00pm

Joseph Franque
1774-1833 | French

Sa Majesté l’Empereur: Le matin de la bataille de la Moskowa
(His Majesty the Emperor: The Morning of the Battle of Moscow)
Oil on canvas

"Better not to have been born than
to live without glory."
-Napoléon Bonaparte

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Tour Hours
Monday - Saturday • 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. 

Regiment Des Dromedaires Camel Saddle

This fascinating piece of military history is a camel saddle created for and used by the Dromedary Regiment (Regiment des Dromedaires) during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaigns between 1798 and 1801. The term “dromedary” refers to the dromedary camel, better known as the Arabian camel, that features a single hump on its back. This saddle is perfectly suited to fit snuggly around the hump and secure two soldiers upon the camel’s back. The wooden saddle bears iron reinforcements and brass mountings with openwork underlain with silver. The dromedary camel proved to be a vital asset for Napoleon’s military campaign, due to the fact the animal is well adapted to life in desert, able to transport a large amounts of cargo and is highly intelligent and easily managed. Specialized equipment such...

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This extraordinary pair of Egyptian Revival obelisks are elegantly crafted of composition stone and faux marble. The rare 19th century models are adorned by intricately hand-carved hieroglyphics that extend upwards on their proportionate forms, while the Egyptian gods Kohnsu, the god of the moon, and Mut, the mother goddess of Thebes, grace each base. To find such an exceptional garniture, and superb example, in this intriguing style is quite rare.

Models such as these influenced by the ancient world pervaded interior design and the decorative arts of the 19th century. Interest was already high Egyptian art in 1798 when Napoleon...

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19th Century Egyptian Revival Obelisk Models

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French Nécessaire
de Voyage

This exceptional and rare French nécessaire de voyage is almost certainly the work of the highly respected Parisian manufacturer Pierre-Dominique Maire and the silversmith Jacques-Brice Beaufort. Extraordinary in both size and craftsmanship, it is truly one of the finest dressing and dining sets ever created. Commissioned especially for the noble de Montboissier family, this set exhibits an exquisitely executed Empire design that incorporates the de Montboissier crest throughout. The interior is lined with Moroccan leather and contains an impressive array of personal accouterments, all perfectly fitted in their own compartments in a sumptuous presentation.


Framed Napoleonic Government Documents

This historically significant collection of letters is from the Ministers and trusted Generals serving Napoleon Bonaparte during his reign as the French Emperor from 1804-1814, and the Hundred Days in 1815. Napoleon had structured his government after that of the Roman Empire. Ministers occupied the fourth position in the imperial hierarchy, after the Emperor and the Empress, the imperial family and the Grand Dignitaries. These correspondences provide invaluable insight into the workings of the First French Empire. 

Napoleon was known for his charisma in attracting and retaining officials in his government of great experience, diversity and intelligence. However, as time passed and the Emperor's hubris grew, the French Empire became less of the liberal revolution-based government it was intended to be and more...

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Discover the Napoleon

Collection at Our 

French Quarter Gallery

Self-Guided Tour:
Monday, August 12th -
Saturday, August 17th

"Better not to have been born than to live without glory."
-Napoléon Bonaparte

An incredible and extremely rare artifact of world history, this mutton bone model of a guillotine was created during the Napoleonic wars by a French prisoner of war. Many of the inmates at the prisoner of war camps were skilled artisans long before they were soldiers, and because of the long duration of the conflict and cost of care, their captors encouraged detainees to use their skills to create objects to be sold at civilian open markets. Because of the intricacy of these fascinating objets d'art, very few of these models have survived the test of time. Adding to the rarity of this piece is that it has moving parts, as only a scant few model carvings were ever created with such mechanical accuracy.

Standing nearly two-feet tall, this masterpiece is impeccably detailed. Twenty-seven soldiers and 24 cannons line the platforms. The soldiers have movable arms, while the guillotine features a movable ...


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Napoleonic Prisoner-Of-War Guillotine

This impressive equestrian bronze captures the legendary Emperor Napoléon riding triumphantly astride his favorite horse, Vizir. The sculptor is the celebrated general-cum-artist Jean-Baptiste Duchand de Sancey, an officer of Napoléon's horse artillery who put his knowledge of the equine figure to the test in the present bronze. He perfectly translates the majesty of Napoléon's mount in the piece, as well as the emperor's own grand and determined spirit. Wearing his familiar bicorne hat atop a strong brow, the famous Napoléon exudes the distinguished air and unwavering tenacity for which he is remembered.

The artistic achievements of Jean-Baptiste Duchand de Sancey are often overlooked because of his great military merit. Raised to the rank of officer in 1798, he led Napoléon's horse artillery at the Battle of Waterloo as a Colonel, and eventually earned the rank of General. Following a brilliant military career, he ...


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Napoléon on Horseback
by Duchand