Lot 39
  • 39

A GOLD AND ENAMEL IMPERIAL PRESENTATION PORTRAIT SNUFF BOX, GABRIEL-RAOUL MOREL, PARIS, 1812-1815 | A gold and enamel Imperial presentation portrait snuff box, Gabriel-Raoul Morel, Paris, 1812-1815

80,000 - 100,000 GBP
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  • Marquée 65 no. 235
  • gold, enamel, ivory
rectangular, the lid inset with a miniature of Napoléon I, French School, after Robert Lefebvre, after 1812, wearing the red and dark green uniform of a colonel of the chasseurs à cheval, with the sash, star and badge of the Order of the Legion of Honour and the badge of the Iron Cross of Lombardy, within a rectangular spandrel chased with foliate scrolls on a matted ground, narrow black enamel frame, the sides and base diaper engine-turned within borders decorated with neo-classical ornament in blue enamel, maker's mark, baby's head 2me titre, petite garantie 1809-1819, the left rim stamped: 65 and engraved: No 234 PNA 1239MN 1239  


Legs Comtesse Bertrand, 1855

General Henri Bertrand (1773-1844), one of the emperor's most loyal aides, had first come to Napoléon's attention for his bravery during the Egyptian campaign and accompanying him thereafter, being appointed Grand Marshal in 1813, probably the occasion of the gift of this presentation snuff box. Bertrand, his wife (born Fanny Dillon) and young family endured voluntary exile with Napoléon on St Helena and were at the emperor's deathbed. Bertrand had been appointed one of the executors of Napoléon's will and in 1840 was invited to return to St Helena to retrieve Napoléon's remains.


Mme de Basily-Callimaki, J.-B. Isabey sa vie - son temps, Paris, 1909, illust. p. 73 (as by Isabey, owner Prince Victor Napoléon);
André Castelot, Alain Decaux & Pierre Marie Koenig, Le livre de la famille impériale. L’histoire de la famille Bonaparte à travers les collections du prince Napoléon, Paris, 1969, illust. p. 39

Catalogue Note

The miniature is after Robert Lefèvre’s full-length portrait of the emperor painted in 1812 (Apsley House Collection, inv. no. WM 1491-1948). Compared with the images of Napoléon painted by Augustin and Isabey in the early years of the empire, which heretofore had been used for presentation snuff boxes, the present portrait shows a more world-weary figure of authority. The same source was used by Jean Baptiste Joseph Duchesne for a miniature inset in a jewelled gold and enamel snuff box presented by the emperor to the British sculptor Anne Seymour Damer on 1 May 1815 (British Museum, London, inv. no. 1828,1111.1).

Gabriel Raoul Morel (Paris 1764 – Passy 1832) entered a first goldsmith’s mark, using a flower (described as a bouquet) as device, on 22 Messidor, an V (1797). He is subsequently recorded by Douët at 5 place Thionville in 1806. He entered the lozenge mark seen on this box (GRM below an ear) in 1812/13 when he moved to 3 rue du Coq-St-Honoré, taking over the premises of Victoire Boisot, widow of Etienne-Lucien Blerzy.