Professional translations can make all the difference on the outcome of a sale at auction.
In conjunction with the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, auction houses are taking this opportunity to satisfy the numerous collectors of Napoleonic memorabilia around the world. One such item, the Emperor Napoleon’s Snuff Box went on sale at Collin du Bocage in Paris on June 19. Of important historical significance, this snuff-box was seized by Napoleon from Louis XVIII’s study in the Tuileries Palace on March 20 1815 upon his return from Elba during the so-called Hundred Days. The snuff-box is decorated with a rare drawing by Madame Royale, duchesse d’Angoulême, daughter of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette, niece of King Louis XVIII, depicting the Chateau de Fontainebleau and its hunting grounds on the face, and a map of the Fontainebleau forest on the reverse dated 1807. It was among the items Napoleon took to St. Helena and used until his death in 1821. Bequeathed to his son the King of Rome, it was passed on after his death to Napoleon’s sister Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, and remained in her family ever since. To attract both French and foreign buyers, French art experts know that the need for translating catalogue entries into English is crucial to increase bidding potential. Preempted by the Fontainebleau Museum, Emperor Napoleon’s snuff-box sold for 62,000 €, over five times its estimated value.
Tortoise shell, gilded bronze, brown ink, wash and watercolor on paper.
H: 2.3 cm (7/8 in); Diam: 9.2 cm (3 5/8 in)
Wax-like dry seal stamp on red paper, with Murat family coat-of-arms surrounded by the reference COLLECTION MURAT, tag number 209 (Murat Collection inventory) and tag 280 (Repository: Dépôt Princes Murat – Hôtel des Invalides 1955-1975).
Collin du Bocage, Friday 19 June 2015, Drouot Richelieu, Expert: Xavier Dufestel
Catalogue entry translated into English by Nadine Lennox: