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Joséphine Bonaparte’s Tiaras Crown London Sale

Dec 8, 2021 6:56 AM   By Rapaport News
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A pair of headpieces believed to have belonged to Empress Joséphine Bonaparte fetched well above their combined high estimate at the recent Sotheby’s sale in London.

The pieces, which have spent the past 150 years in a private collection, realized GBP 576,600 ($763,657) at the December 7 London Treasures sale, Sotheby’s said Tuesday.

Made in Paris between 1805 and 1808, the tiaras reflect Napoléon’s effort to legitimize his new government after the French Revolution by resurrecting historical and cultural references to ancient Rome, the auction house noted. The crowns are studded with a large number of ancient portrait cameos and other engravings, including depictions of Bacchus, Zeus, Dionysus, Medusa, Pan and Gaia.

The first, a gold diadem decorated with blue enamel and the semiprecious gemstone carnelian, offered as part of a parure — a matching set designed to be worn together — garnered GBP 450,600 ($596,393), well above its GBP 300,000 ($397,066) upper valuation. The lot also included a pair of pendant earrings, a hair comb and a belt ornament.

Meanwhile, a gold, cameo and enamel diadem by Jacques-Amboise Oliveras was also part of a set. The headpiece, together with a belt clasp and belt ornament, fetched GBP 126,000 ($167,553), within its estimate.

Image: The gold, carnelian and enamel tiara. (Sotheby’s)
Tags: Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, Jacques-Amboise Oliveras, Joséphine Bonaparte, london, London Treasures sale, Napoléon, Rapaport News, Sotheby’s
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