The collection of Marshal Berthier, Prince of Wagram, one of Napoleon's closest companions, achieved a total of €3.2 million. The historical importance of the collection and the incredible condition of the works included both contributed to this great result. Among the major lots were two swords of exceptional quality made at the Manufacture d'Armes Royales in Naples, which realised €579,000. Additionally, Baron Lejeune's painting Le général Louis Alexandre Berthier et ses frèresachieved €241,500, the second highest price in the auction.
Sotheby’s auction on 29 April will bring to life the stylish, captivating world of the First Empire through a unique, historic ensemble of objects with a most prestigious provenance: that of Marshal Berthier (1753-1815), Prince of Neuchâtel and Valangin and Prince de Wagram and his descendants. The sale ranges from handwritten correspondences and eye-witness battle accounts to medals, awards, court uniforms and memorabilia – all of which chart the distinguished career of one of Napoleon's closest companions.
The sale also includes two magnificent sabres of exceptional quality made at the Manufacture Royale in Naples, bearing Murat's monogram as King of Naples. Manuscripts, both military and private, will be the most moving part of the sale, with highlights including letters written to Berthier by Napoleon's wife Joséphine. Old Masters and 19th-century paintings help retrace a fascinating period in French history. These works include the impressive equestrian portrait of Berthier and his brothers painted by Louis-François Lejeune.
The tastes of the 18th century and the Napoleonic period will be illustrated by furniture and objets d’art including a cartel clock, the design of which is attributed to André-Charles Boulle and two imposing writing desks attributed to Adam Weisweiler.