Napoleon’s hair to be auctioned by Kiwi family

May 27th, 2010 - 5:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Wellington, May 27 (ANI): Valuable relics of Napoleon Bonaparte, including a lock of his hair - believed to be taken from his deathbed - will be sold off at a New Zealand “roadshow”.

Napoleonic scholars are busy analysing the find, which also includes a lithograph taken from a drawing of the former French emperor made the morning after his death in 1821, at a conference in Malta in July.

“It’s a fascinating collection and contains a lot of stuff that has great historical importance,” quoted International Napoleonic Society president and prolific author David Markham as telling the Herald from Washington State yesterday.

The items had been brought to New Zealand by Captain Ibbetson’s first son, Frederick, in 1864 and passed through three subsequent generations until the last member of its male line died several years ago.

The collection includes about 25 watercolour or pen depictions of Napoleon and key structures on St Helena, including the buildings where he was kept under virtual house arrest.

Probably the most sought after possession, however, is a diary containing close-hand observations of Napoleon by Captain Ibbetson during a six-week voyage to St Helena in August on HMS Northumberland, in 1815.

Markham has received several images of items from the collection, and has offered to write an essay for a catalogue being prepared for its auction on June 29. (ANI)

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