Napoleon wreath

A wreath of flowers apparently sent to Napoleon on Saint Helena, €12,000 (£10,300) plus 23% buyer’s premium at Costa Blanca Auctions.

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This wreath of helichrysum (immortelle or everlasting) flowers was apparently sent to Napoleon on Saint Helena as a token of support from two of his sympathisers in London.

Lady Elizabeth and Lord Henry Holland had led liberal opposition to the emperor's imprisonment and treatment in the South Atlantic. They sent him plants native to Corsica to soften his day on the island.

According to the long inscription in the frame, after Napoleon died on May 5, 1821, the wreath was given to Henri-Gatien Bertrand (1773-1844) the head of his military household who had followed him into exile, first in Elba and then on St Helena. When he died Bertrand was buried near Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides.

Napoleon wreath

The detail of an inscription of a wreath of flowers apparently sent to Napoleon on Saint Helena, €12,000 (£10,300) plus 23% buyer’s premium at Costa Blanca Auctions.

The text goes on to document its presentation to a series of ‘longtime supporter of The Empire’ so it ‘would not fall into unsympathetic hands - it being such a precious keepsake of the most loyal friend of the Grand Homme (The great Man)’.

It came for sale at Costa Blanca Auctions in Calpe, Alicante on May 5 with a guide of €7000-9000 and did a little better, selling at €12,000 (£10,300) plus 23% buyer’s premium.