Knife and fork used by Napoleon Bonaparte is auctioned for £11,250 after a bidding war
- The personalized cutlery sold for twice its estimate at an auction in Salisbury
- The silver knife and fork are believed to have come from Napoleon’s carriage
- Cutlery was passed down through a family for 100 years before being resold
A personalized knife and fork believed to have been used by Emperor Napoleon sold for £11,250 after a bidding war.
The silver-gilt cutlery, adorned with the general’s initial ‘N’ within a laurel wreath, along with his imperial coat of arms and bee motif, sold for double its estimate of £5,000 at an auction in Salisbury, Wiltshire.
It is possible that the pieces came from the notorious general’s carriage after his disastrous defeat at Waterloo in 1815.
The cutlery was made around 1810 by the silversmith Martin-Guillaume Biennais in Paris
The cutlery was made around 1810 by the silversmith Martin-Guillaume Biennais in Paris. He had provided Napoleon’s crown and scepter for his coronation in 1804.
The ‘high quality’ pieces were then bought by entrepreneur Alfred William Weston in the 1920s and stayed in his family for a century before going under the hammer at auctioneers Woolley and Wallis.
Rupert Slingsby, Silver Specialist at Woolley and Wallis, said: “Biennais was the silversmith who provided the crown and scepter for Napoleon’s coronation in 1804 and supplied the Bonaparte family with silver and gilt silver throughout his reign.
“The design incorporates motifs that were personal to Napoleon, including his imperial arms, the initial N in a laurel wreath, and the bee motif he was so fond of.
The cutlery is decorated with the general’s initial ‘N’ within a laurel wreath, along with his imperial coat of arms and bee motif
It is possible that the pieces came from the notorious general’s carriage after his disastrous defeat at Waterloo in 1815
“This particular knife and this particular fork hasn’t been seen on the market for about 100 years. It was purchased by an entrepreneur named Alfred William Weston in the 1920s and has been passed down through the family to this day.
“This is cutlery of extremely fine quality, befitting of Napoleon’s wealth and status in the early 19th century.
“The fact that pieces have survived despite its subsequent ignominious decline indicates that they were prized objects even by Napoleon’s opponents and are now wonderful reminders of a turbulent period in history between the English and French.”