zondag 21 december 2014


The Josephine's House, building dating the XVIIIth century. Under the terror, Joséphine de Beauharnais left Paris with his two children, Eugène and Hortense to take refuge with the first floor of this house, from 1792 till 1794, accommodated by Mrs Campan, educator of the children of Louis XV and first chambermaid of Marie-Antoinette.
It is occupied by private individuals today and shelters the Museum of the Sleepsuit at the ground floor. grenouillere-museum

6 August, 1794: Rose, now a widow, was freed from the Carmes prison after the fall of Robespierre (28 July) and stayed in Paris. It is possible that, as she had trouble finding somewhere to stay, Rose may have spent some time in Fontainebleau before returning to Croissy with Hortense. Eugène was to follow the General Hoche. napoleon




zaterdag 13 december 2014

‘Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte,’ by Kate Williams

This year marks the bicentennial of the death of Josephine Bonaparte, but Napoleon’s empress has been having a moment for some time now. In the past two decades, she has starred in at least 20 new biographies, six museum exhibitions and six novels. Three editions of her correspondence have also appeared during this time, as have many more studies (of Napoleon and other Bonapartes) in which she features. The latest addition to this corpus is “Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte,” by Kate Williams, a biographer of Queen Victoria and Emma Hamilton. Beyond her appreciation for “flawed, vulnerable, engaging, powerful” women, Williams does not seem to have a compelling reason to tell this story. In the absence of new material or a new approach, she offers a breathless paean to the woman who, while “no great beauty,” could with “one twitch of her skirt . . . enthrall the man who terrorized Europe.” Read more: review/ambition-and-desire-the-dangerous-life-of-josephine-bonaparte-by-kate-williams

zaterdag 22 november 2014

Courvoisier lines up Christmas treats

For those with more modest budgets, the house has released 10 bottles of Courvoisier Réserve 1978, housed in a “vintage” bottle dating from the early 20th century, which carries an RRP of £1,100.
A rather larger scale release at 50 bottles is the Courvoisier Heritage De Louis Renard, which represents a blend of Cognacs laid down between 1869 and 1914. Packaged in Baccarat crystal decanters, the expression carries an RRP of £7,500.
The smallest release of all is the L’Esprit de The smallest release of all is the L’Esprit de Joséphine, of which just 8 Lalique decanters have been released with an RRP of £9,715 each. Inspired by French empress Joséphine de Beauharnais and her rose garden, the expression has been created from a selection of 19th and 20th century Cognac from Borderies, a region which traditionally offers a particularly floral style. courvoisier-lines-up-christmas-treats

woensdag 19 november 2014


RUEIL-MALMAISON, France — When Napoleon’s first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, bought the Château de Malmaison as a country refuge for themselves in 1799, she created a style that still influences this leafy community a few kilometers west of Paris. An amateur botanist with a taste from her Martinique childhood for rare and exotic plants, Joséphine was an avid collector of unusual species. During her 15 years of residence, she created an ambitious experimental garden where she introduced more than 200 new varieties to France, including the dahlia, the tree peony, the hibiscus and the camellia. To cultivate this precious collection, she built an orangery and several vast greenhouses. At Joséphine’s death, in 1814, Malmaison’s park covered 726 hectares, or 1,794 acres, and included two other chateaus. Parts were sold off over the years and, today, the Malmaison chateau is a French museum surrounded by six hectares of grounds.
Read more: orangerie-part-of-josphines-garden-at-malmaisonr=0

Assassin’s Creed Unity 101 Trailer [US]

Volgende week verschijnt 'Assassin's Creed: Unity', de zevende aflevering uit Ubisofts reeks historische thrillers over de eeuwenlange strijd tussen twee geheime genootschappen. De setting is vanzelfsprekend opnieuw een belangrijk moment in de wereldgeschiedenis, en het decor is - voor het eerst in drie jaar tijd - terug een grote wereldstad: Parijs, namelijk, ten tijde van de Franse Revolutie.
Le collier de perles de Joséphine de Beauharnais, reine de Norvège et de Suède, en vente chez Sotheby’s à Genève le 12 novembre 2014. Read more: parismatch

Een parelketting, uit de collectie van Joséphine de Beauharnais, koningin van Zweden en Noorwegen (1807-1876). Joséphine erfde de ketting van Prinses Augusta van Bavaria, Hertogin van Leuchtenberg (1788-1856). Augusta ontving de ketting hoogstwaarschijnlijk weer uit een gift van haar schoonmoeder, Joséphine de Beauharnais (1763-1814), de eerst vrouw van Napoleon Bonaparte en de Keizerin van de Fransen.

donderdag 16 oktober 2014

Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg

 Map of Europe after the Congress of Vienna, 1815.
Princess Augusta of Bavaria, Duchess of Leuchtenberg (German: Augusta Amalia Ludovika Georgia von Bayern) (Strasbourg, 21 June 1788 – Munich, 13 May 1851) was the second child and eldest daughter of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Although originally promised in marriage to the heir of Baden, Charles, the engagement was broken at the behest of Napoleon I of France. On 14 January 1806 in Munich, Augusta married Eugène de Beauharnais, only son of Josephine de Beauharnais and Alexandre, vicomte de Beauharnais and stepson of Napoleon. Although a diplomatic marriage, this union would turn out to be a happy one. In 1817, Augusta's father created his son-in-law Duke of Leuchtenberg and Prince of Eichstädt, with the style Royal Highness.
Augusta and Eugène had seven children:

woensdag 15 oktober 2014

Amélie of Leuchtenberg

She was the granddaughter of Josephine de Beauharnais, Empress of the French. Her father, Eugène de Beauharnais, was the only male child of Empress Josephine and her first husband Alexandre de Beauharnais and stepson of Napoleon Bonaparte. The mother of Empress Amélie was Princess Augusta Amélia, daughter of Maximilian I, King of Bavaria.

Emperor Pedro I of Brazil (King Pedro IV of Portugal, usually referred to as Dom Pedro) sent the Marquês de Barbacena to Europe to find him a second wife. Amélie came from a particularly distinguished and ancient line on her mother's side, the Wittelsbachs, but her father, linked to Napoleon Bonaparte, was not generally recognized as a Royal because of the hatred still arrayed against the onetime French Emperor in much of Europe. However, that was her sole "defect". The princess was tall, very beautiful, well proportioned, with a delicate face. She had blues eyes[4] and a brownish-golden hair.[5]

Amélie's mother foresaw the difficulties her daughter might face, and prepared her well. Besides a good dowry and trousseau, she gave her a great deal of advice, recommending that she be demonstrative of her feelings and overcome any timidity so as not to discourage her husband, that she be loving toward her stepchildren, and above all that she remain faithful, as empress, to the interests of the Brazilians. Scientist Carl Friedrich von Martius was sent with her on her journey to teach her about Brazil, and the Ana Romana de Aragão Calmon, Countess of Itapagipe, to familiarize her with her husband's personality and the customs of the Brazilian court, and to teach her Portuguese.[2]
In January 1830 the new empress was formally presented in court, with a dance at which all of the ladies dressed in pink, the empress's favorite color.

Upon settling into the imperial palace, the Paço de São Cristóvão, and perceiving what she considered an inadequate standard of protocol, Amélie established French as the court language and adopted a ceremonial modeled after European courts. She sought to update the cuisine and fashion, redecorated the palace, acquired new tableware and silverware, and attempted to refine the manners of the court. She achieved at least a partial success in this last, and the elegance of the Empress, always impeccably dressed, became internationally famous.[7] Their marriage was a happy one, unlike Dom Pedro's first, and she reportedly had a good relationship with her legitimate stepchildren as well. Her beauty, good sense, and kindness promptly won the affections of both her husband and his children by his first marriage.

After Dom Pedro I abdicated the crown, Amélie accompanied her husband back to Europe. They now held the titles of Duke and Duchess of Bragança. Amélie soon established residence in Paris, with Maria da Glória and with Dom Pedro's illegitimate daughter Isabel Maria, Duchess of Goiás, whom Amélie ended up adopting as her own daughter.[11] On 30 November 1831 Amélie gave birth to Princess Maria Amélia of Brazil (Maria Amélia de Bragança), who would prove to be her only child.[2]

Meanwhile, Dom Pedro I, as Duke of Bragança, began a bloody battle against his brother Dom Miguel I (Michael of Portugal) for the Portuguese crown, in the name of his daughter Maria da Glória.[2] Upon receiving the news of the Duke's victory in Lisbon, Amélie left with her daughter and stepdaughter for Portugal, arriving in the capital 22 September 1833.[13] With Miguel defeated and exiled from Portugal, Dom Pedro and his family established themselves first at Ramalhão Palace and later at Queluz National Palace.[14] The venturesome life of Dom Pedro had undermined his health; he contracted tuberculosis, and died 24 September 1834.[ Amélie never remarried; she moved to the Palácio das Janelas Verdes ("Palace of Green Windows," also known as the Palácio de Alvor-Pombal, now, as of 2012, Portugal's National Museum of Ancient Art) and dedicated herself to charitable works and to her daughter's education  wiki/Amelie_of_Leuchtenberg

dinsdag 29 april 2014

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.
A toilette mirror with a reconstruction of Joséphine’s pearl parure.

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.

A bill from Au Grand Turc, the most fashionable couture house in Joséphine’s Paris. Joséphine’s enormous debts were notorious as she spent vast amounts on clothes, shoes and accessories and never managed to stay within the confines of the already generous allowance bestowed upon her by Napoléon. This particular bill is for ‘un schal de cachemire vert pistache vendu à sa majesté impératrice et reine’ (a pistachio green Cashmere shawl) and was issued on the 6th April 1809.

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.
A tortoiseshell hair comb, set with a cameo depicting ‘Le chagrin d’Achille‘.

Photo: Châteaux de Malmaison et Bois-Préau, Malmaison France.

Crystal perfume bottles that once held Joséphine’s exquisite jasmine, lavender, lily and violet scents

woensdag 23 april 2014

Mathilde Bonaparte

Mathilde Bonaparte

Born in Trieste, Mathilde Bonaparte was raised in Florence and Rome. She was originally engaged to her first cousin, the future Napoleon III of France, but the engangement was later broken following his imprisonment at Ham. She married a rich Russian tycoon, Anatole Demidov, on November 1, 1840 in Rome.

Anatole was raised to the station of Prince by Grand Duke Leopold II of Tuscany shortly before the wedding to fulfill the wishes of Mathilde's father and to preserve Mathilde's station as Princess. Anatole's princely title was never recognised in Russia. They had no children. The marriage between these two strong and prominent personalities was stormy. Prince Demidoff insisted on keeping his lover, Valentine de St Aldegonde, which of course was fiercely resisted by Mathilde. 

  Portrait of Valentine, Duchess of Dino, by Vigée Le Brun

In 1846, Mathilde fled the household for Paris with her new lover Émilien de Nieuwerkerke and with Anatole's jewelry. The jewelry constituted the dowry that Anatole was forced to bankroll for his father-in-law so it formed the property of Anatole. Princess Mathilde's mother was Emperor Nicholas I of Russia's first cousin, and the emperor supported Mathilde in her clashes with her spouse, a Russian subject. As consequence, Anatole chose to live much of his remaining life outside Russia. The terms of the separation announced by the Tribunal in Petersburg forced Anatole to pay annual alimony of 200,000 French francs. Anatole vigorously pursued the return of his property, which led Mathilde and her strong circle of literary friends to mount highly personal and unfair counter-attacks using the public media. In the end, Anatole's heirs never recovered his property since Mathilde's last will was altered towards the end of her life.

Portret Émile de Nieuwerkerke van Mathilde Bonaparte (1856/7)

Princess Mathilde lived in a mansion in Paris, where she was a prominent member of the new aristocracy during and after the Second French Empire as a hostess to men of arts and letters as a salon holder. She disliked etiquette, but welcomed her visitors, according to Abel Hermant, with an extreme refinement of snobbery and politeness.

At the fall of the monarchy in 1870, she lived in Belgium for a while, but soon returned to Paris. Throughout her time in France, she maintained ties with the imperial court in Saint Petersburg, her maternal cousins. In 1873, following the death of Prince Demidoff in 1870, she married the artist and poet Claudius Marcel Popelin (1825–1892). She was the only member of the Bonaparte family to stay in France after May 1886, when the French Republic expelled the princes of the former ruling dynasties. In 1896, she was invited to a ceremony at Invalides par Félix Faure at a visit of Emperor Nicholas II Russia and his wife Empress Alexandra.
She died in Paris in 1904, aged 83.

dinsdag 22 april 2014

Mathilde Bonaparte: I'd be selling oranges in the streets of Ajaccio."

Mathilde Laetitia Wilhelmine Bonaparte, Princesse Française (27 May 1820 – 2 January 1904), was a French princess and Salon holder. She was a daughter of Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte and his second wife, Catharina of Württemberg, daughter of King Frederick I of Württemberg.

Princess Mathilde lived in a mansion in Paris, where she was a prominent member of the new aristocracy during and after the Second French Empire as a hostess to men of arts and letters as a salon holder. She disliked etiquette, but welcomed her visitors, according to Abel Hermant, with an extreme refinement of snobbery and politeness. Théophile Gautier was employed as her librarian in 1868. Referring to her uncle, Emperor Napoleon I, she once told Marcel Proust: "If it weren't for him, I'd be selling oranges in the streets of Ajaccio." wiki/Mathilde_Bonaparte
Prinses Mathilde (1820-1904), een nicht van keizer Napoleon III, was enorm aangedaan door het ter ziele gaan van de Bonapartedynastie. Haar vader huwelijkte haar in 1840 uit aan een Russische prins, Anatole Demidov de San Donato, maar dit huwelijk maakte haar niet gelukkig. Nadat ze officieel gescheiden was, vestigde zij zich in Parijs waar ze in 1852 deelnam aan een coup die een machtsherstel van de familie Bonaparte beoogde, en derhalve  tot doel had Napoleon III opnieuw op de Franse troon te krijgen. De prins-president Napoleon III maakt het Elysée-paleis tot zijn officiële residentie en organiseert er weelderige recepties die de gloriedagen van het koninklijk hof doen herleven. In deze periode beleeft ook prinses Mathilde haar gloriedagen. Zij, die bekend staat als "Notre Dame des Beaux-Arts" en als "Second lady van Frankrijk" -keizerin Eugénie is namelijk de first lady- zal vanaf 1853 het artistieke leven beheersen, daarbij genietend van de financiële welstand die haar neef  haar garandeert en waarmee ze haar juwelencollectie kan spekken. In haar eigen herenhuis aan de rue de Courcelles en in haar kasteel in Saint-Gratien omringt zij zich met kunstenaars en vrienden, waaronder Gustave Flaubert en Marcel Proust. Na haar dood laat zij haar neven een schitterende juwelencollectie na, waaronder dit prachtige stuk.

 Het verwerven van nieuwe rijkdom bood bepaalde families de kans om zichzelf snel te verrijken en zich de Europese levensstijl aan te meten. De families Dupont de Nemours, Gould en Vanderbilt, de immens rijke erfgenamen van deze financiële imperia, zullen zich in de Europese samenlevingen integreren en banden met de oude Europese adel smeden. In 1895 huwelijkt Alva Vanderbilt zijn dochter Consuelo in Londen uit aan de hertog van Marlborough. In datzelfde jaar trouwt Anna Gould, de rijkste erfgename van Amerika, met Boni de Castellane. Volgens de gravin van Clermont-Tonnerre was dit één van de meest 'onnatuurlijke' verbintenissen denkbaar. diamonddivas

        Inside Princesse Mathilde's mansion, rue de Courcelles (until 1857)
La Salle à manger de la princesse Mathilde, rue de Courcelles, Sébastien Charles Giraud RMN / Jean-Gilles Berizzi


donderdag 13 februari 2014

Henriette-Lucy, Marquise de La Tour du Pin-Gouvernet

Henriette-Lucy, Marquise de La Tour du Pin-Gouvernet

(25 February 1770, Paris – 2 April 1853, Pisa), (also known as Lucie), was a French aristocrat famous for her memoirs entitled Journal d'une femme de 50 ans.[1] The memoirs are a first-hand account of her life through the Ancien Regime, the French Revolution, and the Imperial court of Napoleon, ending in March 1815 with Napoleon’s return from exile on Elba. Madame de la Tour du Pin, as she is frequently called, was a witness to the private lives of the royals, and her memoirs serve as unique testimony to much unchronicled history.
Following her mother she served as an apprentice lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, from the age of 16. From the memoir a strong self-portrait emerges of a simple but straightforward woman of charm, heroism, and breeding.
During the French Revolution, many of her friends and family were executed and she fled Paris for the family estate of Le Bouilh, or Saint Andre Bouilh Cubzac in the Gironde region.

North Pearl Street Albany 1800s

From there she, aged 24, and her husband passed into exile, (though they were never officially listed as émigrés, Frédéric had been living in hiding prior to departure), for a new life on a dairy farm near Albany in Upstate New York. This she saw as her happiest time. She vividly describes the reality of owning slaves, and life amongst the local Dutch families and the few remaining Native Americans of the area. She was close to Talleyrand during his exile in the United States, and like him she returned to France after the establishment of the Directorate. She left as her husband wanted to resume his career in public life and shore up the family fortunes. She was able to promote his career under Napoleon, who was looking for aristocrats to lend legitimacy to his court.
She continued to follow her husband to his various diplomatic appointments after the Bourbon Restoration. They went into effective exile after their son, Aymar, became involved in the anti-Orleanist plot of Caroline Ferdinande Louise, duchesse de Berry in 1831, in the Vendée. He escaped France but was condemned to death in his absence. The family sold up its possessions in France soon after. After her husband died in Lausanne, in 1837, she moved to Italy, where she died in Pisa. Her memoir was written as a letter to her only surviving child after the age of fifty. It remained in the family and was not published until 1906.

"Frederic-Seraphin, Comte de Gouvernet.
Born in 1759. Succeeded his father as Comte de La Tour du Pin de Gouvernet in 1794. In 1815, Louis XVIII created him a peer of France (an hereditary member of the upper chamber). In 1820, he was created Marquis de La Tour du Pin, the title used by his wife in her memoirs in the period after their marriage.
Until the Revolution, M. de La Tur du Pin was a soldier. In 1791, he was appointed Minister to the Court at the Hague, but was recalled by Dumouriez. After a period of hiding in France, exile in America, a short return to France and renewed exile in England, M. de La Tour du Pin returned to France and served under the Empire as Prefect in Brussels (1801-1812). Afterwards he was appointed Prefect in Amiens, where he was when Louis XVIII returned fo France. He then resumed his diplomatic career and was appointed Minister at The Hague, retaining this appointment while serving as one of the Ambassadors Plenipotentiary of France at the Congress of Vienna. In 1820, he was appointed Ambassador in Turin, where he remained until he retired in 1830. He died in Lausanne in 1837, aged 78"
from Memoirs of Madame de La Tour du Pin, p7

Aymar (1806-1867)

Aymar succeeded to the titles of Marquis de La Tour du Pin and Marquis de Gouvernet. The Memoirs of Madame de La Tour du Pin were written for Aymar, the only surviving of seven children. He bequeathed the memoirs to his nephew, Comte Hadelin de Liederkerke Beaufort (1816-1890)


donderdag 9 januari 2014

The Empress Josephine was one of the first European gardeners to fall in love with hostas, growing them at her house, Malmaison

Hostas, or plantain lilies, native to Japan and China and introduced to the West in the late 18th century, are among the most effective of all foliage plants. The Empress Josephine was one of the first European gardeners to fall in love with hostas, growing them at her house, Malmaison, just outside Paris. As well as coming in all tones of green, Hosta undulata has cream-coloured leaves edged in green, while 'Antioch' bears green leaves with a cream edge.

zaterdag 28 december 2013

Napoleon Bonaparte’s belongings have arrived in Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV).

FRANCE Empress Josephine’s shell cameo diadem, presented to her by her brother-in-law Joachim Murat Empire period 1804–15 gold, shell, mother-of-pearl, cameos, pearls, precious and semi-precious stones 6.7 x 17.0 x 20.0 cm.
An impressive array of Napoleon Bonaparte’s belongings have arrived in Australia at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The collection not only includes luxurious jewellery, watches and silverware, it demonstrates Napoleon’s links to Australia.
A 300-piece exhibition titled ‘Napoleon: Revolution to Empire’, has opened at National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV).
The exhibition includes jewellery and other luxury items as well as an impressive collection of furniture, paintings and ornaments. Also on display are Napoleon’s uniforms, decorative weaponry and trademark hat as well as his first wife’s (Josephine) jewellery, books and silverware, all of which showcase the power-couple’s status and wealth. 
A personal gold bracelet worn by Napoleon’s mother, Maria Laetitia Ramolino Bonaparte, is also on exhibit. The piece is acrostic in that it spells her name ‘Letitia’ by using semiprecious stones which are used in succession - Lapis Lazuli, Emerald, Turquoise, Idocrasio, Tourmaline, Ialino (Hyaline) and Amethyst. This piece has been loaned by the Napoleonic Museum in Rome (Museo Napoleonico).   
Jean-Baptiste-Jacques AUGUSTIN French 1759–1832 Portrait of Empress Josephine (Portrait de l’impératrice Joséphine) Empire period 1804–15 watercolour and gouache on ivory 6.7 x 5.4 cm.

As Emperor of France from 1804-1815, the name Napoleon is well known, but what is not widely known is the connection he and Josephine had with Australia. The exhibition explores the strong cultural and scientific links that existed between Australia and France between the 1770s to the 1820s, including Josephine’s fascination with Australia following the publication of Captain Cook’s travels down-under. 
Showcased through pages of books and maps, is information that was collected on an 1805 voyage that Napoleon had funded to landscape the southern Australian coastline we now know as Victoria, which was then named ‘Terre Napoleon’ (Napoleon Land). 
The Bonaparte’s home, Chateau de Malmaison, an estate just outside Paris, held kangaroos, emus and other Australian wildlife including black swans. Josephine’s fascination with Australian flora and fauna led her to become the first person to breed Australian black swans in captivity and she also introduced the wattle and eucalyptus to France from the thousands of specimens brought back from the legendary Baudin voyages to Australia. All flora and fauna still thrive in France today.

vrijdag 27 december 2013

Mellerio dits Meller

As 2013 comes to an end I feel this is the proper time to recognize a truly monumental achievement in the jewelry industry. The Parisian high jewelry house, Mellerio dits Meller, spent this year celebrating its 400th anniversary.
The family firm started trading in Versailles in 1777, and attracted the patronage of its most famous client, Marie Antoinette. In 1796, the firm moved to Rue Vivienne, Versailles, retaining the patronage of the Empress Josephine. The family firm then moved to Paris eventually settling at 9 Rue de la Paix
The Empress Josephine liked the Mellerio family very much, whom she had authorised to be “presented at the Tuileries every time they had some fine novelties to see”. They had been presented to her by her lady-in-waiting, the Countess of Ségur (whose grandson married the famous writer) and made jewellery for her in a romantic (or neo-Gothic) style, that was very much appreciated a few years later – further proof of the firm’s ability to be ahead of the tastes and trends of its time, which is thus to be found at its suppliers.

Thanks to Josephine, all the nobility of the Empire came mellerio/joaillier-des-reines
Looking at the antique ledgers, with their elegant entries in spidery writing, brings a moment in history back to life: the list of a cameo and ruby bracelet bought by Marie Antoinette; the Empire diadems purchased by Napoleon’s sisters; or the ruby tiara, bought in 1888 by the king of the Netherlands and seen in its second incarnation with diamonds at a Dutch royal wedding in 2004.
Op Máxima's hoofd prijkte fier de tiara die koning Willem III liet maken voor zijn Emma. De midden-saffier is een erfstuk van koningin Anna Paulowna, echtgenote van Willem II. het is een deel van de Saffieren Mellerio Tiara
La plus jeune sœur de l’Empereur Napoléon Ier devient Reine de Naples en 1808. Eloignée de la vie politique par son mari, Caroline Murat s'intéresse particulièrement à l'archéo...logie et s'est personnellement impliquée dans les fouilles de Pompéi, en Italie. Une grande partie du mobilier qu'elle commande pour ses palais est d'inspiration romaine ; certaines tables reprennent de véritables mosaïques anciennes.
Après Marie-Antoinette, Caroline est la première reine à se faire confectionner des bijoux de style archéologique chez Mellerio dits Meller. Les bijoux sont inspirés de motifs provenant des fouilles des sites de Pompéi et d’Herculanum ou bien copiés d’après des antiques. Motifs d’oiseaux et d’amours sont des exemples d’ornements réalisés pour les bagues de la Reine de Naples.
Première rencontre entre l'Impératrice Joséphine et François Mellerio : extrait du livre écrit par Joseph Mellerio, fils de François.
"On arriva ainsi a l’année 1804, et, le 18... mai, le premier consul fût proclamé empereur des Français.
M. de Ségur avait été nommé grand maître des cérémonies de la maison de l’Empereur, et sa femme, dame d’honneur de l’Impératrice Joséphine ; elle était la cliente de François, elle s’intéressait beaucoup à lui ; elle lui trouvait de si belles manières, et toujours si correctes, qu’elle lui promit de le présenter à l’Impératrice.
Un jour, qu’elle était de service, elle envoya un garde à cheval, avec une lettre, pour prévenir François qu’il devait se rendre immédiatement au château des Tuileries, pour êtres présenté à l’Impératrice Joséphine.
François était dans tous ses états, il se mit sur son trente-six, et après avoir rassemblé ce qu’il avait de plus riche et de plus à la mode, il se dirigea vers les Tuileries tout émotionné. La Comtesse de Ségur l’attendait, elle le fit monter dans les appartements privés de l’Impératrice, et le présenta elle-même.
Il fut reçu avec bienveillance, et quand l’impératrice apprit qu’il avait servi dans l’armée française, elle le félicita et lui dit en souriant : « vous deviez être un beau grenadier, monsieur Meller »
L’Impératrice fit différentes emplettes pour des cadeaux qu’elle voulait faire à des personnages de la cour, et l’autorisa à se présenter aux Tuileries toutes les fois qu’il aurait de belles nouveautés à voir.
François était dans le ravissement : il ne tarissait pas d’éloges sur la beauté et la gracieuseté de l’Impératrice Joséphine."

zaterdag 7 december 2013

Willem Frederik als toekomstig hoofd van staat

Zonder Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp was Willem Frederik nooit koning  van Nederland geworden. ROOSENDAAL –(tekst Jaap Pleij) In historisch opzicht klopte er natuurlijk niets van, maar het naspelen van de aankomst van Willem Frederik als toekomstig souverein vorst zorgde vorige week zaterdag wel voor een extra leuk dagje Scheveningen. De aankomsttijd klopte niet, aan de landing ging geen treffen tussen Engelse- en Franse troepen vooraf, het uniform waarin de hoop van alle Oranjeklanten was gestoken kan in de ogen van historici ook al geen genade vinden en dat acteur Huub Stapel in het dagelijks leven een verstokte republikein is, kwam de geloofwaardigheid ook al niet ten goede. Het grappigste moment was toen koning Willem-Alexander zijn verre voorouder (hoewel daar ook gerede twijfels over bestaan) even in de ogen keek, alvorens deze begon aan zijn opmars naar zijn tijdelijke residentie aan het Lange Voorhout in Den Haag, op een steenworp afstand waar onlangs een jonge PowNews-verslaggever door een ‘medewerker’ van de Angolese Ambassade in elkaar werd geramd, maar dit terzijde.

De koning-acteur Stapel liet zich ’s middags in de Ridderzaal uitgebreid fêteren en in de avonduren was hij getuige van een heus koningsconcert. In werkelijkheid is de soeverein na aankomst op het Lange Voorhout direct gaan slapen. Het zal waarschijnlijk een onrustige nacht voor hem geweest zijn, want de kans dat hij alsnog door Franse troepen zou worden opgepakt, was uiterst reëel. Met de historie had deze koningsdag ad-hoc dus niets uitstaande, maar hoe zat het dan wel. Wie dat tot in detail wil weten, moet het door Wilfried Uitterhoeve geschreven boek ‘1813 – Haagse bluf’ ter hand nemen. Een heerlijk dikke pil van ruim vierhonderd bladzijden, maar daar hoeft niemand zich door te laten afschrikken. Uitterhoeve neemt zijn lezers mee terug naar een uiterst roerige periode in onze vaderlandse geschiedenis. Op zich kleine gebeurtenissen zijn van doorslaggevende betekenis geweest voor de weg die uiteindelijk werd ingeslagen. Zouden de Franse troepen er toch niet alsnog in slagen om de oprukkende Pruisische en Russische legers te weerstaan? Zou het Haagse Oranjefeestje ook aanslaan in de rest van het land. Zou het altijd roerige Amsterdam genoegen nemen met de immer stugge avonturier Willem Frederik als toekomstig hoofd van staat? Een ding staat vast. Zonder het tijdelijk Algemeen Bestuur, snel gevormd in de tijd dat de Fransen een machtsvacuüm lieten ontstaan, met Gijsbert Karel van Hogendorp als dominante factor zou onze huidige koning –indien daar al sprake van zou zijn geweest- niet geluisterd hebben naar de naam Willem-Alexander. Aan de hand van een reeks wervelende gebeurtenissen in 24 plaatsen –van Groningen en Hoogeveen tot Amsterdam, Den Haag, Middelburg en Den Bosch- verhaalt Uitterhoeve in ‘1813-Haagse bluf’ van de beroering die het jonge Nederland in 1813 in zijn greep hield. Al snel begon een nieuwe fase: Frederik Willem was dan wel bevestigd in zijn soevereine positie, maar de discussie over de verhouding tussen monarch en volk zou nog lang aanhouden, totdat de liberaal Thorbecke zijn kans schoon zag om koning Willem II in 1848 een nieuwe grondwet door de strot te duwen. De zoon van de eerste Prins van Oranje heeft hier waarschijnlijk mee ingestemd omdat dit de enige manier was om zijn positie nog enigszins in stand te houden. Bovendien zag hij het niet zitten dat zijn zoon, de latere Willem III, absolute macht zou verkrijgen. Het is daarom een schande dat het portret van Willem II nog steeds de grote vergaderruimte in de Eerste Kamer siert, die plek komt Thorbecke toe!
1813 – Haagse bluf – Wilfried Uitterhoeve, gelezen door Jaap Pleij. Uitgeverij Vantilt, ISBN 978 94 6004 1211, deweekkrant/hoe_ging_het_nu_werkelijk_met_de_aankomst_

vrijdag 28 juni 2013

Verlovingsring van Napoleon

Op een veiling in Fontainebleau, in de buurt van Parijs, is een verlovingsring van Napoleon Bonaparte verkocht voor een recordbedrag van 896.400 euro. Napoleon gaf de ring rond 1796 aan zijn toekomstige vrouw Joséphine de Beauharnais. De gouden ring is bezet met een diamant en een saffier. ring-Napoleon

zondag 9 december 2012

Kaiserliche Adventszeit

Hortense hätte doppelt Freude. Zum einen wäre die Stieftochter und Schwägerin von Napoléon I, welche Schloss Arenenberg Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts erworben hatte, begeistert von den vornehm dekorierten Christbäumen, dem leuchtenden Weihnachtsschmuck und der feierlichen Adventstimmung in ihrem Haus ob Mannenbach. Zum anderen wäre sie auch beeindruckt von dem von der Museumsleitung verfassten neuen Buch zu ihrer Person, welches in dieser Woche der Öffentlichkeit vorgestellt wurde. «Hortense de Beauharnais. Schicksalsjahre einer Königin» heisst das lesenswerte Werk, das sich als Ergänzung versteht zu dem zuvor erschienenen, ähnlichen Bild- und Textband mit dem Titel «Napoléon III. Der Kaiser vom Bodensee».
Dank diesen beiden informativ und attraktiv zugleich gestalteten Biografien vermag das seit 1906 im Besitz des Kantons Thurgau stehende Anwesen literarisch zu neuem Leben zu erwachen. Und man muss auch kein blühender oder verkappter Royalist sein, um am festlich dekorierten Schloss Arenenberg Gefallen zu finden. Die vom Basler Johann Wanner feierlich dekorierten Weihnachtsbäume strahlen Stil und Klasse aus. Sie sind weder opulent noch protzig und fügen sich perfekt in das bestehende Interieur aus der Zeit des Empire ein. Ausserdem geht es nur in jedem zweiten Zimmer des zum Museum gewandelten Schlosses weihnachtlich zu und her. So ist es Johann Wanner, der sich gern als «Couturier des Weihnachtsbaumes» präsentiert und für etliche VIP – wie Lady Di und Michael Jackson – geschmückte Christbäume konzipiert haben soll, gelungen, mit seinen «kaiserlichen» Kreationen den Geist von Arenenberg einzufangen.
Mit einem dazu passenden Rahmenprogramm «Noël! Noël!» versucht auch die Museumsleitung, das herausgeputzte Schloss möglichst vielen Besuchern in dieser sonst eher ruhigen Vorweihnachtszeit schmackhaft zu machen. Ganz nach dem Motto: wenn nicht jetzt, wann dann? Als weitere Attraktion wirbt das Museum auch mit dem gigantischen Christbaum, der zwischen dem Schloss und der Schlosskapelle mit der Weihnachtskrippe steht und Abend für Abend leuchtet: Als «grössten Weihnachtsbaum vom Bodensee» preist ihn das Museum an und betont, dass man ihn in klaren Nächten sogar vom weit entfernten Überlingen sehen könne.
Doch Gigantismus ist fehl am Platz. Denn Schloss Arenenberg ist ein intimes Anwesen. Klein, fein und edel, wie es auch auf dem Schloss-Prospekt heisst. Ergo müssen die Besucherzahlen bei Führungen jeweils begrenzt werden. Das gilt beispielsweise auch für die originellen Kinderanlässe, welche in dieser Adventszeit auf dem Programm stehen und für die eine Anmeldepflicht besteht. Jeweils sonntagnachmittags dürfen Mädchen und Buben im Alter von 6 bis 12 Jahren in Kostüme aus dem 19. Jahrhundert schlüpfen und wie Prinzen und Prinzessinnen gekleidet das Schloss unter fachkundiger Führung in seiner derzeitigen Weihnachtspracht erleben. Zweifellos ein unvergessliches Erlebnis für Kinder und Eltern. Für die Erwachsenen gibt es übrigens ebenfalls spezielle Rundgänge rund ums Thema Weihnachten.
Wem das alles etwas zu wenig aktiv erscheint, der hat die Möglichkeit, den Besuch von Schloss Arenenberg mit einer Herbstwanderung zu verbinden. Zwar ist die Chance gross, dass er dabei feststellen wird, dass die Bodenseeregion und auch der berühmte Seerücken oberhalb des Südufers des Untersees im Winter ein notorisches Nebelgebiet sind. So kann es passieren, dass etwa im Kanton Zürich schönste Sonne scheint, während der nördliche Thurgau einer Waschküche gleicht – oder etwas poetischer ausgedrückt: melancholisch im Nebel versinkt.
Eine bestens ausgeschilderte Wanderroute führt von Steckborn bis nach Salenstein bei Mannenbach, wo sich das Schloss Arenenberg befindet. Diese rund zweistündige Wanderung hat den Vorteil, dass man sich ganz auf den öffentlichen Verkehr abstützen kann, weil es am Start- wie auch am Zielort einen Bahnhof gibt.
Napoleonmuseum Thurgau, Schloss und Park Arenenberg, 8268 Salenstein, Tel. 071 663 32 60, www.napoleonmuseum.ch   kaiserliche-adventszeit.

zaterdag 28 juli 2012


Königin Hortense lebte bis zu ihrem Tod am 5. Oktober 1837 auf Schloss Arenenberg. Ihr Sohn Louis Napoléon hielt sich noch ein Jahr länger auf Arenenberg und dessen Umgebung auf. Danach musste er die Schweiz verlassen und siedelte nach England über. Nach seinem zweiten Putschversuch in Boulogne-sur-Mer wurde er verhaftet und zu lebenslänglicher Haft verurteilt. 1843 sah er sich deshalb gezwungen Schloss Arenenberg zu veräussern. Allerdings mit dem Rückkaufsrecht, von dem er 1855 als Kaiser Napoleon III. Gebrauch machte. Somit kam die Domäne wieder in den Besitz der kaiserlichen Familie. 1906 schenkte seine Witwe, Kaiserin Eugénie, Arenenberg dem Kanton Thurgau mit der Auflage, eine Erinnerungsstätte für die Bonapartes am Bodensee sowie eine öffentliche Anstalt einzurichten. Daraus entstanden das Napoleonmuseum sowie das Bildungs- und Beratungszentrum (BBZ) Arenenberg.

woensdag 4 juli 2012


Above: This model of an armchair, made during the time of the National Convention in France, uses numerous symbols of the Revolution: the red Phrygian cap, the fasces, the tricolour-striped fabric and the lyre – a symbol of harmony, wisdom and moderation. 

zaterdag 16 juni 2012


 Hortense was actually an extremely accomplished musician; she loved to play the piano in particular and composed a famous French battle-song for Napoleon's troops called 'Partant pour la Syrie' ('Departing for Syria'). Napoleon loved it and had his troops sing it for Hortense!

Another one of the most unique and original rooms is Josephine's bedroom. It was decorated in a 'tent' style, with beautiful rosy pink fabrics drooping from the ceiling and covering the walls. Such a style might seem claustrophobic, but she avoided this by placing sparse bits of small, lightly decorated furniture in the room and setting her small, gilded bed towards the back of the room, facing open, airy windows. The result is a bedroom that is very cozy and friendly. 

Viewing Original Napoleon Manuscript

Among those documents are four pages of prose young Napoleon Bonaparte drafted in 1795. These precious pages, written in Napoleon’s hand, are not on display in any museum. Read more:mrodenberg/viewing-original-napoleon-manuscript

maandag 11 juni 2012

Napoleon's English letter sells for over $400,000

A rare letter in English written by Napoleon Bonaparte - and filled with errors - has fetched 325,000 euros ($410,000) at auction in Paris.
The one-page letter, dated March 9, 1816, was penned by Napoleon during his post-Waterloo exile on the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena, and is one of just three known to be in existence, auction house Osenat said.
Addressed to the Count of Las Cases - Napoleon's companion in exile - the letter was acquired by the private Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in Paris and originally estimated to fetch just 60,000 to 80,000 euros.
In his "Memorial of Saint Helena", Las Cases wrote about how Napoleon began to correspond with him in English in order to practise the language of his jailers.
The Count also wrote in particular about the auctioned letter, saying: "The emperor did not sleep that night - during his insomnia, he decided to write me a new letter in English."
"He sent it sealed to me, I corrected his errors, and replied to him, in English also, by mail.
He shall land above seven day a ship from Europe that we shall give account from anything who this shall have been even to day of first January thousand eight hundred sixteen.
Napoleon Bonaparte's tentative grasp of English in a letter to the Count of Las Cases
"He understood the letter, and that convinced him of his progress and proved to him that he could, completely, correspond in his new language."
Despite Las Cases' encouraging words, Napoleon's writing required some guesswork.
For instance, in one passage, he wrote: "He shall land above seven day a ship from Europe that we shall give account from anything who this shall have been even to day of first January thousand eight hundred sixteen."
Napoleon was referring to a ship from Europe that would dock in seven days, bringing news on what had happened since January 1, 1816.
After his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon was imprisoned and then exiled to Saint Helena, where he died in 1821 age 51. abc/news//napoleon-letter-sold-at-auction/

maandag 28 mei 2012

Jardin de la Malmaison

Pierre-Joseph Redouté was hired with botantist Étienne Pierre Ventenat to document the vast plant collection of Joséphine de Beauharnais at Château de Malmaison. With the help of engravers, the illustrations were compiled in Jardin de la Malmaison, a book Ventenat authored. This massive undertaking was published in twenty parts in 1803. The above engraving of Nymphaeaceae caerulea, based on Redouté's painting on parchment, comes from the book. redoute-nymphaeaceae-caerulea

zondag 27 mei 2012


Amethysts are well represented in the royal families of Europe; with hues ranging from light purple to deep, vibrant purple. The most magnificent set of amethysts, at least according to this humble author, belongs to the Swedish royal family. The amethysts, which are part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, date to the first French Empire. They were originally the property of the Empress Josephine, who in turn gave them to Princess Augusta Amalia of Bavaria when she married Josephine’s son, Eugene de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg. 
heir daughter Josephine of Leuchtenberg married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden, later becoming Queen of Sweden. Incidentally, Oscar was the son of King Charles XIV John of Sweden and his wife Désirée, who was originally engaged to Napoleon Bonaparte; she had broken it off upon meeting the man she would eventually marry, becoming the Queen Consort of Sweden and Norway.

Upon her marriage to Crown Prince Oscar, Josephine brought with her an astounding collection of jewels, which included the Swedish sapphire parure, the emeralds which are now part of the Norwegian royal jewel collection, and the amethysts. The original demi-parure consisted of a necklace, pendant earrings, two bracelets, a brooch, and a corsage ornament. Queen Silvia later had the necklace mounted on a tiara frame, and the two bracelets combined with the corsage ornament to create a necklace. This provided the Swedish royal family with an amethyst tiara, necklace, pendant, brooch, and earrings. This set comprises exquisitely large amethysts of the deepest and most desirable shades of purple which are set in gold, surrounded by diamonds set in silver. Queen Silvia wore the amethysts to the wedding of the Crown Prince of Denmark (here) and to the 1984 Nobel Prize award ceremony (here);  

Crown Princess Victoria  has also worn them (she is seen here wearing the tiara and earrings, and here wearing the necklace without the drop pendant, together with the brooch and earrings). the royal universe


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