Bonhams are to sell a near-contemporary portrait of Napoleon painted by his valet and close companion Louis-Joseph-Narcisse Marchand in its British & Continental Pictures auction in Knightsbridge, on November 30.
Marchand (1791-1876) was Napoleon Bonaparte's valet and friend. He became an Imperial servant in 1811, remained faithful to Napoleon after his abdication and was rewarded with promotion to main valet.
While Napoleon was on his deathbed he bestowed the title of Count on Marchand, which was confirmed by Napoleon III in 1869.
He kept extensive memoirs which provide historians with detailed and personal insights into the life of the Emperor as well as a sober and moving account of his death.
The pen and ink wash portrait is dated 1832, measures 11.5 x 9.5cm and gives an intimate view of Napoleon. It is estimated at £400-600.
That's a surprisingly low price. In comparison, a strand Napoleon Bonaparte's hair - cut the morning after the French Emperor's death in 1821 - sold for $13,200 in New Zealand auction.
Veronique Scorer, of Bonhams Knightsbridge said: "It is very exciting to have this posthumous portrait of Napoleon by his great friend Marchand.
"He has depicted the Emperor from the back because overt support for the Bonapartist regime during the July Monarchy was probably not a good idea."