Sunday, September 21, 2008

Napoleon's Wedding Gift to Josephine

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I am on the hunt for an image.
Napoleon presented Josephine with one wedding gift. "a simple necklace of chains of hair holding a gold enameled medalion on which was engraved "To Destiny."
I have found many references to it...but no image.
Still looking through my books.
And is the hair Napoleon's for the chain?
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4 comments:

The Antiques Diva™ said...

Hi - I just discovered your site through a comment you left on our mutual friend Franca's site for her daughter. I too am a Napoleon fan - but I had never heard that this is what he gave her for a wedding present.

Interestingly I just discovered an antique jewelry store in Amsterdam selling these "hair jewlry" antique pieces. Typically in instances such as this "chain of hair", the hair was often cut from peasants who sold their hair for profit, though it was also cut from horses as well or it was made from the hair of a loved one who had passed away (as a memorial or mourning piece). Thus, I doubt that the hair was actually Napoleon's. It's possible the Victorian Hairworks Society would know the answer to this question!

Sometimes medallions would feature "hair art" images in the center of a pendant which would hang from a chain. These pendants were usually containing a small amount of hair and they were made as a sentimental way to remember a loved one.

Have you see "hair jewelry" before? I was in A'dam shopping and had seen the most intricately woven bracelet (Victorian) and was admiring it. When the sales clerk said it was made of human hair, I literary dropped the piece! As gorgeous as it was, the mere thought made me sick!

Thanks for posting, nice to meet you.

The Antiques Diva (TM)

ford said...

Wow! that was a great gift,Josephine is very lucky. Thank you so much for this. :)

gifts Philippines

Don Juan's Other Daughter said...

The Louvre Museum presents “Napoleon’s Goldsmith - Martin-Guillaume Biennais,” on view through January 19, 2004. Martin-Guillaume Biennais (1764-1843), a modest craftsman, attracted the attention of General Bonaparte and, in doing so, ensured his future success. When Napoleon became emperor, Biennais was appointed First Goldsmith and commissioned to make court dinner services and numerous objects. This exhibition recalls the diversity of Biennais’ production, which is particularly well-represented at the Louvre, and will be an opportunity to admire the ceremonial and personal objects used by Napoleon I and those close to him.
You may want to checkout this link to see if you can see images of Biennais' work. He may have made the locket for Josephine. Good luck with your search!

http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=7465

Don Juan's Other Daughter said...

PARIS, FRANCE.- The Louvre Museum presents “Napoleon’s Goldsmith - Martin-Guillaume Biennais,” on view through January 19, 2004. Martin-Guillaume Biennais (1764-1843), a modest craftsman, attracted the attention of General Bonaparte and, in doing so, ensured his future success. When Napoleon became emperor, Biennais was appointed First Goldsmith and commissioned to make court dinner services and numerous objects. This exhibition recalls the diversity of Biennais’ production, which is particularly well-represented at the Louvre, and will be an opportunity to admire the ceremonial and personal objects used by Napoleon I and those close to him.
You may want to check out Biennais' work, specifically his insignia work. Perhaps, he made the locket for Josephine.

The link is:

http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=11&int_new=7465