University Archives


Napoleon II Reverse-Painted 19th Century Silhouette, Ex-Nicholson Napoleon Collection

A charming silhouette of Napoleon II (1811-1832), the only son of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and second wife Austrian archduchess Marie Louise (1791-1847). Napoleon II's baptismal name was Napoléon François Joseph Charles Bonaparte, though he also went by "Franz," the German equivalent of his second name, in the Austrian court. Ex-Nicholson Napoleon Collection.

The eglomise silhouette of Napoleon II as a young boy facing right is outlined in black paint, and appears above the handwritten inscription "Franz King of Rome / son of Napoleon I." Contained in an oval-shaped ebonized frame which has not been taken apart for further examination. The frame backing paper is pencil inscribed verso: "Francis Joseph Charles Napoleon [sic] / Born March 20 1811 / Died age 21 1832 / Son of Napoleon 1st." Scattered unevenness of the painted surface, especially towards the base of the bust, visible recto. A few scuffs and marks to the frame backing are visible through the glass. Fitted for hanging. Else very good to near fine. 5.75" x 7."

Napoleon II was styled King of Rome at birth. Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated twice in favor of his son Napoleon II, the first time in April 1814 and the second time in June 1815. Napoleon II served as Emperor of the French in name only for a two-week-long period in 1815 before Louis XVIII returned to the capital and regained the throne. Napoleon II died of tuberculosis in July 1832.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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November 11, 2020 10:30 AM EST

Wilton, CT, US

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