Caroline Bonaparte brooch up 545.6% on estimate at Bonhams auction
A brooch belonging to Caroline, Napoleon Bonaparte's sister, enjoyed a 545.6% increase at Bonhams
Paul Fraser Collectibles, Monday 30 April 2012
The Bonhams Fine Jewellery auction saw the sale of a brooch gifted by Caroline Bonaparte sell for £51,650 on April 25.
The brooch went to auction with a pre-sale estimate of £6,000-8,000, displaying a remarkable 545.6% increase in the London showroom.
The intricate cameo brooch was given by Caroline, Napoleon Bonaparte's younger sister, to a distant aunt of the consignor.
Bonaparte was godmother to Caroline Moore, whom she met while in Trieste following the execution of her husband, Joachim Murat. Murat was one of Napoleon I's generals and later became the King of Naples from 1808-1815. Known as "The Dandy King" due his flamboyant style, he was eventually executed by the forces of Ferdinand IV, the rightful king of Naples.
The exquisite brooch was designed by Nicolo Morelli, an engraver who was patronised by the Bonaparte family. Finely carved in onyx, the brooch shows the head of the god Bacchus, with a fruiting vine wreath entwined in his hair and a lion's paw on his shoulder.
"Bonhams was delighted to offer a piece with such an unusual provenance," commented Jean Ghika, director of the jewellery department in the UK and Europe at Bonhams.
"Morelli was a much admired gem-engraver and similar cameos by Morelli can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and British Museum in London."
Paul Fraser Collectibles has several superb Napoleon Bonaparte items on offer. In this handwritten note from the military leader, he writes to the Duc de Feltre, who later became his minster of war.
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