A Historically Important and very fine Imperial Sabre De Luxe Belonging To King Joseph Napoleon, Sovereign Of The Kingdom Of Naples

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Lot 76*
A Historically Important and very fine Imperial Sabre De Luxe Belonging To King Joseph Napoleon, Sovereign Of The Kingdom Of Naples
Engraved Manuf. Royale De Naples, Circa 1806-08, captured after the Battle of Vitoria

Sold for £ 312,750 (US$ 428,707) inc. premium
A Historically Important and very fine Imperial Sabre De Luxe Belonging To King Joseph Napoleon, Sovereign Of The Kingdom Of Naples
Engraved Manuf. Royale De Naples, Circa 1806-08, captured after the Battle of Vitoria
With curved hollow-ground blade fullered along each side of the pipe-back and double-edged towards the point, entirely of damascus steel incorporating the unique inscription 'VIVA IL RE GIUSEPPE NAPOLEONE' along both sides of the blade, and etched on one side with a crowned Imperial eagle perched on a fasces bundle emitting thunderbolts, all within branches of oak, steel hilt comprising ovoidal quillon-block with ormolu mount cast and chased in relief with a lion's mask centred on a winged wreath between neo-classical palmettes, curved knuckle-guard chiselled with gadrooning along each side, downscrolled rear quillon with ormolu terminal chased with foliage including a flower-head on both sides, tapering grip set with an ebony grip-scale on each side carved in relief, one side with an Imperial eagle, an olive branch in its beak and grasping an oval shield in its talons bearing the royal 'JN' monogram, the Imperial sceptre on the left and the hand of Justice on the right, all above a Classical trophy of arms and surmounted by a crowned suspended from a ribbon, and on the other grip-scale a martial trophy of arms of musical instruments, banners and campaign tents, the pommel chiselled in the round as a snarling lion's head, all within borders of beading and faceted studs in imitation of brilliants, the latter set against slender cusped gilt straps, in its gilt-mounted steel scabbard en suite with the hilt, the locket engraved 'Manuf. Royale de Naples' on one side and with crowned oval bearing the royal 'JN' monogram in gold between scrolls, bright-cut ribbons and a crescent moon, all enriched with bright-cut steel brilliants and against a finely punched gilt ground, the chape en suite and chased with meandering flowering foliage entwined with a line of bright-cut brilliants and both suspended from a bow of ribbon, bright steel terminal shoe with small roundels each set with a brilliant, gilt barrel-shaped suspension mounts chased with a band of foliage between beaded borders and each carrying a beaded steel suspension ring. In fine condition
84.5 cm. blade, 101 cm. overall

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Captured following the defeat of King Joseph Napoleon's forces at the Battle of Vitoria on 21 June 1813

    This magnificent sabre was produced between 1806 and 1808 by the Royal Arms Manufactory of the Torre Annunziata in the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies. It is reasonable to assume that the blade was made at Klingenthal as this type of engraving was not known in Naples.

    There are only two blades inscribed in this manner: the present lot and one made for the Emperor Napoleon, now in the Museo Ejercito, Toledo.

    Two related swords were taken as spoils of war at the Battle of Vitoria. The first, a splendid ceremonial glaive made at the Royal Manufactory in Naples for Joseph Bonaparte, was presented by the Marquis Wellesley, later Duke of Wellington, to the Prince Regent. Preserved in the Royal Collection, Windsor Castle (see Guy Francis Laking, The Armoury Of Windsor Castle, 1904, pp. 191-192, pl. 28, No. 656).

    The second, made for Emperor Napoleon I, has a blade of related type inscribed A Napoleon 1er. Empereur et Roi. The sabre was carried by Napoleon during his Spanish-Lusitanian stay between November 1808 and January 1809 and subsequently remained at the Royal Palace in Madrid. Following its capture at the Battle of Vitoria it was presented by the victorious Marquis Wellesley to Ferdinand VII, King of Spain and is now in the collections of the Alcazar of Toledo, Museo Ejercito, Castille-La Mancha, Spain (inv. no. ME [CE] 44128)

    The Battle of Vitoria marked the end of French rule in Spain. An account of the battle and French losses is given by Charles Théodore Beauvais de Préau (1772-1830) in Victories, conquests, disasters, reverses and civil wars of the French from 1792 to 1815, published in 1820. He served in Spain from 1809 to 1813 as adjutant-commander on the staff of General Drouet d'Erlon. 'One hundred and twenty pieces of artillery, four hundred ammunition wagons with more than fourteen thousand cannon balls, and about two million cartridges, fifteen hundred baggage cars, including the treasure and all the personal carriages of King Joseph, fell into the hands of the winners'
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A Historically Important and very fine Imperial Sabre De Luxe Belonging To King Joseph Napoleon, Sovereign Of The Kingdom Of Naples
A Historically Important and very fine Imperial Sabre De Luxe Belonging To King Joseph Napoleon, Sovereign Of The Kingdom Of Naples
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