View full screen - View 1 of Lot 116. "The Key to Napoleon's Room", circa 1815.
116

"The Key to Napoleon's Room", circa 1815

Estimate:

3,000

to
- 5,000 GBP

Property of the descendants of William & Robert Adam

"The Key to Napoleon's Room", circa 1815

"The Key to Napoleon's Room", circa 1815

Estimate:

3,000

to
- 5,000 GBP

Lot sold:

81,900

GBP

Property of the descendants of William & Robert Adam

"The Key to Napoleon's Room"

circa 1815


a English steel door key together with a piece of paper inscribed in manuscript 'Key of the Room at Longwood, in which Napoleon died and which I took out of the lock myself / C. R. Fox, St Helena, 6th Sept. 1822' with a further outer envelope inscribed in manuscript 'Key of the Room at St Helena, in which Napoleon died & which I got there out of the door in 1822...' and a further piece of wrap of paper inscribed 'Bit of the Paper, close to the spot where Napoleon's bed, in which he died, stood / St Helena 1822 C.R. Fox'

key 13cm. long; 5in.

The key is incredibly atmospheric. It is rusted and there is oxidisation and pitting to the surface. The ‘bow’, that’s the shaped metal oval to the top, is bent.

The prime note dated 1822 and signed by Fox is distressed, with holes and stained but writing legible. There are tears and creases and you can see where some of the rust has worn through the paper.

The small piece of folded paper also inscribed has a hole from the rust and is similar in condition.

The additional pale blue envelope which is dated 1862 has historic tears and small holes verso.

Condition is as per the images online.

The distress to this group is as to be as expected from a group of items stored for a considerable time.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

By repute Longwood House, St Helena;

Charles Richard Fox (1796–1873);

Possibly for his mother Elizabeth Vassall Fox, Baroness Holland (1771–1845);

Thence by descent

Charles Fox's mother, Baroness Holland was an admirer of Napoleon, having met him at Malmaison in 1802. She corresponded with him at Elba in 1814 and sent books and sweetmeats to St. Helena. The former Emperor bequeathed to her a gold snuff-box mounted with a cameo, a Papal gift at the signing of the treaty of Tolentino in 1797. The Baroness procured relics relating to him which included a ring and cross of the Legion of Honour, a sock which he had worn at his death, and a copy of the ‘Edinburgh Review’ from 1816 with his annotations in pencil. It is highly like that the present lot formed a part of her small collection of mementoes.