I have often said on this blog that I am very interested in the Napoleon details that may escape the attention of the war historians. I love to see and read about the everyday artifacts. This velvet sleeve really caught my eye. I am reading Napoleon: The Immortal Emperor and it is chock full of paintings and photos. This sleeve belonged to one of the coats Napoleon wore as First Consul. It was stained over the course of a dinner and Napoleon's tailor removed the sleeve from the jacket and stitched on a new one. The original coat disappeared in 1815. I don't know how they know that. Perhaps it was stolen from some sort of a collection...but the sleeve was saved. This tiny snippet of information answers a few questions for me and also provides me with a little more insight into the life of Napoleon.
1. I always wondered how in the world people could wear velvet for huge long functions. It wrinkles and get's marked so easily. I know, I have a velvet skirt. If I sit wearing it the wrinkles on the back become permanent..... 2. Napoleon was indeed thrifty. Instead of throwing the jacket away or moving it to the back of his closet, he replaced just the sleeve. 3. Even a tailor knew that a sleeve from a jacket worn by Napoleon would be museum worthy someday in the future.