11 Apr 2012
An intricate cameo brooch gifted by Caroline Bonaparte, the younger sister of Napoleon I that was sourced in Scotland is one of the highlights of the Fine Jewellery sale, taking place at Bonhams on April 25th in London, New Bond Street.
Designed by the Roman gem-engraver Nicolo Morelli who was patronised by Napoleon I and the Bonaparte family, the brooch depicts the head of Bacchus with a vine in his hair and a lion's paw on his shoulder. The brooch was given to the vendor's great-great great Aunt by her godmother Caroline Bonaparte, and has never been seen in public before. It is estimated to sell for £6,000 8,000. Caroline Bonaparte married one of Napoleon's generals Joachim Murat, who was later made King of Naples. After Murat's execution in 1815, Caroline took refuge in Trieste, where she met the vendor's relative Caroline Moore.
Jean Ghika, Director of the Jewellery Department in the UK and Europe comments, "Bonhams is delighted to offer a piece with such an unusual provenance. Morelli was a much admired gem-engraver and similar cameos by Morelli can be seen in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and British Museum in London."