vendredi 3 décembre 2021

Les armes de Bonaparte à vendre à New York !

La France a célébré au printemps le bicentenaire de la mort de Napoléon Bonaparte le 5 mai 1821, le président Emmanuel Macron dressant un portrait "en clair-obscur" de cette figure centrale de l'Histoire de France et de l'Europe. Bon, il (Napoléon) n’aurait jamais laissé trainer les relations avec Boris Johnson concernant les migrants voulant absolument rejoindre l’Angleterre pour y retrouver leurs familles, Anglais qui nous condamnent à fliquer les migrants, dans des conditions ni toujours catholiques, ni toujours humaines ! Ils (les migrants) parlent Anglais mieux que Français, et veulent rester Anglo-saxons, on peut comprendre ! Sans doute s’agissant des pêcheurs français, il (Napoléon) aurait là encore réglé la situation bien mieux et plus vite… on ne peut refaire l’histoire, Napoléon vaincu à Waterloo… ce sont les vainqueurs qui pavoisent… et vendent des armes ayant appartenu à l’Empereur, rachetées par des Anglais cela à New York !

Or, ce ne sont pas que des objets ayant appartenu à Bonaparte ! ce sont des objets français, des pistolets, fabriqués à Versailles par Boutet, Directeur Artiste comme il signait ses gravures.

des gravures extraordinaires :

notre Nicolas se présente tel un Vulcain moderne fabriquant de balles de pistolet

et reprend l'iconographie des fables de la Fontaine


des détails étonnants : la grenouille ; le serpent, la chasse en arrière plan !

Difficile à extraire des quelques 750 lots en vente, le lot 335 présente un paquet indissociable : une épée dont je parlerai plus tard, et des pistolets sortis des ateliers versaillais de l'armurier Nicolas-Noël Boutet. L’épée fut "portée par Napoléon Bonaparte lors du coup d'Etat du 18 Brumaire 1799" (le 9 novembre 1799), explique la maison d'enchères qui se dit "numéro un mondial des ventes aux enchères d'armes à feu, d'armes blanches et de matériel militaire de collection".

Couronné empereur le 2 décembre 1804, Napoléon Bonaparte avait offert son épée au général Jean-Andoche Junot. A sa mort, l'arme s'était retrouvée dans un musée à Londres puis chez un collectionneur américain, selon Rock Island Auction Company dans l’Illinois.

 certes les gravures de Nicolas Boutet sont super, 

mais le clou du lot 335 est l'épée du coup d'état

La maison d'enchères rappelle dans son communiqué qu'en 2007, "le sabre porté par (le Premier consul Bonaparte) à la bataille de Marengo (contre les troupes autrichiennes en juin 1800 dans le Piémont en Italie) avait été vendu aux enchères pour la somme de 6,5 millions de dollars".

j’ai peur que le KOIKILENKhoute ne permette pas aux Invalides d’enchérir, dommage pour la France, destination touristique des amateurs d’armes du monde entier ?

j'adore entendre l'Empereur parler Anglais !

Force (du chêne) et Justice (de la balance)


la suite du catalogue est passionnante : 

mais l'Histoire de France risque bien  dans le futur, d'être écrite

en Anglais

PS (1) : désolé pour ce texte interminable, la maison Rock Iland Auction ...

... en a mis des tonnes !

(elle espère des $millions)

This incredible set of fine arms from the Versailles Manufactory has been famous as the “Napoleon garniture” for over two centuries since it was first put on display in 1816 in London as part of an exhibition at the Oplotheca at No. 20, Lower Brook Street, Bond Street promoted by Thomas Gwenapp. This exhibition came on the heels of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo and his final abdication and exile. Thus, this garniture was proudly displayed as a symbol of the victory of the British and their allies. Waterloo remains one of the most significant battles in European and world history and brought to a violent end Napoleon's reign in France and his campaigns across much of the continent that had cost millions of lives. Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, however, did not undue many of the changes brought to Europe by Napoleon and the French revolutionaries such as the proliferation of the Napoleonic Code and republican ideals. The values of the French Revolution continue to define French society to this day and led to further revolutions and forever changed Europe and the world.


The garniture remains among the most significant set of arms from the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars in private hands, and its ties to Napoleon's rise from relative obscurity to emperor make it particularly fascinating, historically significant, and valuable. Its history reaches back to the years when Napoleon was still a rising star in the young and tumultuous French Republic. It consists of a rifled carbine, pair of rifled carriage pistols, pair of pocket pistols, and a "glaive" sword and scabbard. Each of these incredible arms originates from the renowned Versailles Manufactory led by Nicolas-Noel Boutet (1761-1833) and were beautifully embellished by the artisans under Boutet's direction. Boutet remains one of the most renowned European armsmakers in history both in terms of the quality of his arms and in terms of his artistry. It is very easy to see why when examining any of the individual pieces of this garniture, and ever more evident when the set is examined as a whole. The individual arms have varying designs, but also often use symbols and motifs featured on other arms in the set bringing cohesion to the garniture and representing some of the finest work in French armsmaking history. In general, the various arms are reflective of the earlier rococo style of arms from Boutet compared to the later "empire style" arms which have heavier Greco-Roman and Egyptian influence following Napoleon’s conquest in Egypt and his coronation as Napoleon I, Emperor of the French. Given the quality of these arms, it is no surprise that the former royal gunmaker of the Ancien Regime was given an 18 year concession by Napoleon as First Consul. While Napoleon reigned as Emperor of the French, some of the most incredible "de luxe" firearms the world has ever seen were designed by Boutet and crafted by his talented team of specialized artisans. Many of those pieces were commissioned by Napoleon himself as presentation pieces for his officers, political allies, and foreign dignitaries as well as for the emperor himself and his family. In addition to finely embellished arms, Boutet was also responsible for providing over 150,000 firearms and swords for Napoleon's armies and thus was involved in Napoleon's military conquests more directly.


The catalog for the first exhibition of this set is particularly significant as it provides the first known written documentation for the garniture. It is listed as no. 17, and the catalog entry is worthy of direct transcription: "This case exhibits the Sword, Fire-Arms, and Apparatus which were presented to General Bonaparte by the Directory of the French Republic in the year 1797, as a testimony of their approbation, in consequence of his beating the Austrians and Sardinians, and forcing the King of Sardinia into a hasty peace. The sword is the one Bonaparte carried in his hand when he drove the Council of Five Hundred out of St. Cloud, and became in consequence First Consul. When Bonaparte was made Emperor, he gave the case as a present to Marshall Junot Duke of Abrantes, with whom it remained till his death. — The Duchess of Abrantes having remained faithful to Louis XVIII., on the return of Napoleon from Elba, the latter deprived her of her pension. The Duchess being an extravagant woman, was, during Napoleon's short reign, obliged to part with a number of precious and scarce things, and amongst the rest, this case of arms, given by Napoleon to her husband. — It was purchased by an officer then in the command of the French Emperor, and after the Battle of Waterloo was brought to this country. — Previous to which, they were sent to Boutet, the Director of the manufactory at Versailles, (whose name is engraved on every article), to be cleaned, who assured the officer who purchased them of the Duchess of Abrantes, that the Directory of France paid him one thousand Louis for making them; and will with pleasure convince any person of the fact who may make application to him on the occasion. The original Case for these interesting articles, is also exhibited; it is made of very curious wood, mounted with a strong silver joint the whole length of the case, and a strong silver lock and staples, of the same dimensions. The lock is of a very curious construction, which by means of a spring fills up the openings that are made in it for the staples, and has other peculiarities." 

In "The interior of the Oplotheca in Brook St. Bond St. being the finest Collection of Antient Armour in Europe, now open for public inspection" from 1816 drawn by William Marshall and viewable on-line at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the case containing these arms can be seen in the back right. The guns are below the scale armor (no. 16 in the catalog) attributed as worn by Napoleon under his clothes to protect himself from assassination. The value of one thousand Louis reported to have been paid to Boutet would be the equivalent of 20,000 francs, a tremendous sum. Following the exhibition at the Oplotheca, the garniture was put on display at the Gothic Hall and the Royal Armoury before being sold in 1833 as "Napoleon's case of fire arms, etc." The garniture was purchased by Robert Dillon, 3rd Lord Clonbrock (1807-1893), and remained with his descendants until sold in 1976 at Christies in London. The original case for the garniture was later replaced with a display case and has since been lost to time.


le "coin Bonaparte" à droite

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) needs little introduction as he remains arguably the most famous individual in French history and is one of the most well-known figures in European and world history. He was born in Corsica but was later educated in France including in Brienne at the military college and at the military academy in Paris where he graduated rather low in his class (42 out of 58), but in actual military service he excelled and rose through the ranks. In 1793, he took command of the National Convention's artillery and was promoted to major in September and then adjutant general just a month later. He was wounded by a bayonet in December but was able to help drive the British troops supporting the French monarchy from Toulon and was promoted to brigadier general. His leadership caught the attention of Robespierre, and in February 1794, Napoleon was made commandant of the French artillery in Italy. 

The French Revolution was full of dramatic rises and falls of various significant figures, and shifting political alliances all too often led to tragic consequences. When Robespierre was arrested and guillotined, Napoleon was also arrested and charged with conspiracy and treason due to his connection to the former French revolutionary leader. Unlike Robespierre, he was released with his neck intact shortly thereafter. After a period out of the military, he was made second in command under Paul Barras and put down rebels opposing the National Convention in the fall of 1795. He was then made commander of the Army of the Interior under the Directory led government established in November 1795 and then commander in chief of the Army of Italy in March of 1796. His subsequent actions are what are said to have led to the presentation of this incredibly array of arms by the Directory in 1797. Napoleon led the Army of Italy against the Austrians and Sardinians. He first succeeded in defeating the Sardinians leading to a peace treaty with King Victor Amadeus III that was favorable to the French Republic, including the annexation of Nice and Savoy. He then pressed on against the Austrians leading to armistices with the Duke of Parma, Duke of Modena, and Pope Pius VI. He defeated four attacks by the Austrians, culminating in his victory at Rivoli in January 1797 and the fall of Mantua. He then marched his army towards Vienna forcing the Austrians to sign an armistice favorable to the French Republic giving it control of portions of the Netherlands and recognition of the republic in Lombardy. 

As Napoleon was leading his army in a string of victories to the east, tensions were again fomenting in France. Napoleon called for the Directory to oppose the royalists and counterrevolutionaries by force and sent General Pierre-Francois-Charles Augereau and others to Paris to support the coup and remove them from the government. Given the importance of this action to the Directory in 1797, it may have been part of the genesis for the presentation of the garniture, as this action plus the signing of the Treaty of Camp Formio with Austria led to greater prestige for Napoleon and continued to push him further along his path to emperor. The Directory tasked him with preparing the French Army to invade the United Kingdom, but he advised the Directory that an invasion would not be possible without French control of the seas which remained dominated by the British Royal Navy. Instead, Napoleon suggested one of his most famous moves: an invasion of British controlled Egypt. As a popular and powerful general, the Directory certainly feared Napoleon's potential rise to authority by this time and were all too happy to send him far from Paris. However, Napoleon's string of victories, including the capture of Malta, Alexandria, and the Nile delta threatened not only the British Empire's fortunes but also the Directory's political power as his fame continued to grow. However, the defeat of the French fleet by Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of the Nile threatened to destroy Napoleon's army and thus his reputation and source of power. He was trapped on land, and now also opposed by the Ottomans who declared war on France. Napoleon struck out into Syria and besieged Acre but was forced to retreat back to Egypt in defeat after suffering heavy losses. 

With Napoleon’s fortunes in decline and thus those of the French Republic, the British, Austrians, Russians, and Ottomans united in the War of the Second Coalition and initially retook much of the territory Napoleon had previously helped secure. At the same time, the French government was again in turmoil. Fearing domination from outsiders and a restoration of the monarchy that the revolutionaries had spilled so much blood to destroy, the Directory now sought the return of Napoleon. He arrived in Paris on October 14, 1799. Per the catalog description, Napoleon wore the sword in this garniture in the Council of Five Hundred (lower house of the French legislature) during their violent reaction to the declaration of the end of the Directory led government, and his troops were brought in to remove the deputies in the Coup of 18-19 Brumaire. The government was replaced with the Consulate under the pretext of bringing peace and stability to the republic which had been through successive waves of political unrest and bloodshed. The consuls consisted of Napoleon and former directors and Napoleon allies Emanuel Sieyes and Pierre-Roger Ducos. Though technically sharing power with Sieyes and Ducos, Napoleon as First Consul was essentially in control of the republic and another step closer to becoming emperor of the French. 

In addition to civil reforms, First Consul Bonaparte reorganized the armies in preparation for a campaign against the Austrians. The Russians had already withdrawn from the Second Coalition, and the British Isles remained out of his reach. He led one of the armies to victory at the Battle of Marengo on June 14, 1800. In conjunction with other French victories, this led to the Austrians again agreeing to peace and the signing of the Treaty of Luneville in February. This treaty secured for the French Republic the historic borders of Gaul from the days of Julius Caesar, and left only the British in opposition. Without allies, the British also soon agreed to peace. Thus, Napoleon had once again been victorious over multiple other European powers, expanded the borders of the French Republic, and secured peace in Europe. Naturally, his prestige in France was at an all-time high. By referendum, the French voted to make Napoleon consul for life and gave him the power to designate a successor, another strong step towards becoming emperor. 

Despite the Treaty of Amiens with the British, tensions between the French and British remained high as they competed for control and influence both in Europe and beyond. As had been the case following the American Revolution, the British did not live up to their treaty obligations to remove their troops from ceded territory, and neither had the French. Thus, after a brief peace, the British again declared war on France in May of 1803 and plotted with French royalists to create unrest in France, including the assassination of Napoleon. As the Reichstag Fire would later serve as a catalyst for Hitler to take power, Napoleon and his allies used the assassination plot and renewed conflict with Britain as an opportunity to turn the republic into an empire. In the referendum, nearly 100% of the vote turned out in favor, and the empire was declared on May 18, 1804, with Napoleon as emperor of the French and his heirs in line to the French imperial throne. He received international recognition via a coronation by Pope Pius VII on December 2, 1804, and was also crowned king of Italy in May.


As laid out in the 1816 catalog, after becoming emperor, this set is reported to have been presented to General Jean-Andoche Junot (1771-1813), an officer that had long been close to Napoleon. Junot's story, like Napoleon's own, includes serving in the military for most of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars and includes a steady rise in power followed by a downfall. He first became acquainted with Napoleon in 1793 during the Siege of Toulon before Napoleon had become a national hero. Napoleon is said to have made Junot his aide-de-camp after seeing Junot calmly jotting down orders as shots landed all around him, and the future emperor helped Junot get a promotion to sous-lieutenant. Junot then served under Napoleon during the Italian and Egyptian campaigns and steadily rose in rank alongside his commander. As Napoleon returned to France to participate in the coup that led to the establishment of the Consulate in the fall of 1799, Junot was captured by the British but ultimately was released and returned to France in June of 1800. 

Upon his return, Junot married Laure-Adelaide-Constance Permon, a close friend of Napoleon's family. Napoleon had previously offered to marry her widowed mother, and Napoleon arranged the marriage for Junot. The couple are known to have led a lavish lifestyle that drove them into debt despite the wealth Junot received through his military career and the patronage of Napoleon. Mrs. Junot was particularly noted for her extravagance and also for her romantic affairs. Their debts became important to the fate of the garniture as noted in the catalog above. Her husband was promoted to a division general in 1801 and placed in charge of Paris until 1803. In 1805, he was presented the Grand Eagle of the Legion of Honor and served as ambassador to Portugal briefly before returning to serve again as Napoleon's aide-de-camp during the War of the Third Coalition. After the French victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, Junot was appointed governor of Parma and Piacenza and soon thereafter made a Commander of the Iron Crown and governor of Paris. He also had an affair with Caroline, Napoleon's sister. Around this time, Junot also began to display more erratic and violent behavior that has been attributed to wounds he suffered in battle, including multiple saber blows at Denzanzano where he reportedly killed six enemy soldiers. Among his erratic behaviors was threatening to use his sword against his creditors. Though reproached by Napoleon for his outbursts, he served as commander-in-chief of the Corps of Observation of the Gironde in 1807 and as commander-in-chief of the army during the invasion of Portugal during the Peninsular War later that year and succeeded in capturing Lisbon after which he was appointed Governor General of Portugal and made 1st Duke of Abrantes. This may be the most logical time for Napoleon to have presented a set of arms to Junot, though his close connection to Napoleon would certainly have made a presentation at any date after his rise to power reasonable. 

dans un sens, une bataille de coqs ...

  ...dans l'autre, la salamandre au milieu des flammes, accompagnée des mots (subliminaux, rien n'est écrit ! ! ) « Notrisco al buono stingo el reo » (« Je me nourris du bon feu et éteins le mauvais ») est une leçon d'Histoire, clin d'oeil à François 1er !

Junot's army was defeated by the forces under General Sir Arthur Wellesley at the Battle of Vimeiro on August 21 of the following year, but after signing the Convention of Sintra, he and the army were allowed to return to France, even being transported by the Royal Navy along with their arms and captured loot from their earlier victories. He was placed in command of the Siege of Saragossa where "the Tempest" was again noted for his unstable behavior. Nonetheless, he was in command of the French III Corps in Spain in 1809 before being reassigned to a command in Germany. He was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of Saint-Henri of Saxony before again returning to Spain where he captured Astroga in April 1810 after a siege. He commanded the center at the defeat at Busaco and was then victorious at Sobral and Rio Mayor. At the latter he sustained a wound on his nose from a ball, but was well enough to serve at Fuentes de Onoro before returning to France. He returned for duty during the Russian campaign but was noted by Napoleon to no longer be the same man and allowed the Russians to escape during the Battle of Smolensk. After returning to France, Junot continued his downward spiral, but he still retained Napoleon's favor and was made governor of Venice and governor general of the Illyrian Provinces in Eastern Europe. His behavior became such that he had to be removed and escorted back to his father's estate at Montbard. The exact circumstances of his death are not clear, but by many accounts, he committed suicide at Montbard near the end of July 1813. In some versions, he supposedly hosted a ball before leaping from a window to his death. 

As Junot spiraled out of control, Napoleon's fortunes were also in decline. Napoleon had steadily expanded the French Empire and its allied states both to the east and west. He invaded Russia with his Grande Armee of more than 450,000 soldiers in 1812 despite warnings from his officers. Though Napoleon had succeeded in capturing Moscow, the Russian's burned the city and retreated further east rather than surrender as Napoleon had expected. Instead, he began a brutal retreat back to France that ultimately saw his army reduced to less than 40,000 men as they marched through the brutal Russian winter with little provisions. After rebuilding the army, Napoleon was once again forced to fight in the War of the Sixth Coalition, this time against Russia, Prussia, Austria, Sweden, Great Britain, Spain, and Portugal. Despite initial victories, Napoleon's army was steadily reduced, including in the bloody Battle of Leipzig in October 1813. As his forces suffered additional defeats, Napoleon was forced to retreat to France but was pursued by the Allies who captured Paris in March of 1814. Napoleon suggested an attempt to retake the city, but, instead, his officers, many who had fought under him for years, mutinied, and Napoleon abdicated on April 4. The Allies pinned the blame for the years of war on Napoleon, and exiled him to Elba in an attempt to prevent future uprisings against the French monarchy. Louis XVIII became King of France in the Bourbon Restoration, and for the time, many of the liberties won during the French Revolution were lost. 

Naturally, many in France remained committed to the revolutionary ideals and to Napoleon despite his exile and the restoration of monarchy. After less than a year in exile, Napoleon escaped and returned to France in March 1815 where he was received as a hero as he built an army, including entire regiments defecting from Louis XVIII to rejoin Napoleon's cause. In addition to his existing popularity, Napoleon promised the French significant constitutional reforms which he worked to put into effect the same month. The king fled Paris before Napoleon and his army arrived, and royalist forces put up sparse resistance. Meanwhile, Napoleon prepared for war with the rest of Europe. His L'Armee du Nord alone was 130,000 strong and consisted of many veteran soldiers and officers from the earlier wars, but he was outnumbered from the start. Napoleon was aggressive nonetheless and attacked, attempting to defeat the Seventh Coalition's independent armies before they could unify and intending to force various powers to the negotiating table as he had done time and time again before. His army set out to Belgium in the fateful Waterloo Campaign targeting the British and Prussian forces. Following victory at the Battles of Quatra Bras and Ligny on the 16th of June, Napoleon's forces faced off in battle near Waterloo. Napoleon's army was routed, and he was forced to retreat back to France where he abdicated for the final time on June 22. He surrendered to the British on July 15. After briefly being taken to England, he was exiled to Saint Helena in October where he died on May 5, 1821. 

By the time of Napoleon's defeat, the loss of her husband put the Duchess of Abrantes in a dire situation. She had considerable debts, and Napoleon had ordered her to leave Paris following the death of her husband. During the Restoration, she was again in Paris and allied herself with the monarchy, and thus the return of Napoleon left her in danger. It is not clear specifically who the officer that she is said to have sold the garniture was, but the fact that she would sell this set of arms is not surprising given her financial situation. She spent most of her remaining days in Rome and also wrote a series of memoirs and other books based on her connections to the Bonapartes and her life among high society in imperial France. 

The Carbine: Highly embellished carbines from Boutet and the Versailles Manufactory are highly desirable. The factory was known as the Manufacture de Carabines des Versailles in 1794-1799 due to focus on manufacturing plain martial carbines for the French armies. The swamped octagonal barrel from Nicholas LeClerc has fine "saw tooth" style rifling and sights mounted in very slender dovetails. The barrel has a textured matte blue background and beautifully contrasting gold decoration at the muzzle and rear half on the upper flats. The details include martial trophies, floral motifs, a caduceus, French imperial eagle on a cloud with lightning bolt, scrolls, borders, and large panels at the breech end that feature the "L-C" (upper left and right) and "N-B" maker's marks of Jean Nicolas LeClerc and Nicolas-Noel Boutet. Napoleon later adopted a related design of an eagle on a thunderbolt as one of his personal emblems. The barrel is also signed with "Boutet Directeur Artiste" in ornate script with floral accents on top of the barrel ahead of the gold decoration. The vent has an oval gold liner. The barrel is secured by the cross screw for the front sling swivel, a pair of keys, and a hooked breech. The bright lock is signed "MANUE/A VERSAILLES" in ornate script with floral accents in coordination with the barrel signature and has beautifully sculpted components with scroll accents including a double scroll cock, light engraving, and a "scooped" design towards the tail with a coordinating teat. The lock is fired using an adjustable single set trigger. The furniture is all bright steel and has exquisite chiseled and engraved floral designs. The full-length walnut stock is beautifully figured on the butt, has panels of checkering on the grasping sections, and features beautifully rendered raised relief carving including eagle's heads at the forend tip, highly detailed floral designs throughout, fine molding, and a lovely sweeping cheek rest with detailed wheat style border that then scrolls into a floral bloom at the rear. The original antique ivory tipped ramrod is secured under the barrel, and sling swivels are mounted just ahead of the upper ramrod ferrule and on the underside of the butt. 

The Sword and Scabbard: The classical style sword is in the same pattern as "The First Consul's Glaive" by Boutet and the Versailles Manufactory c. 1800 for Napoleon currently held at the Musee National des Chateaux de Malmaison et Bois-Preau. The Royal Collection Trust notes another similar sword as a "robe sword" and notes the existence of four of these swords which have long been thought to have been made for each of the three Consuls. Given the presence of more than three of these swords, not including the slightly different example in the garniture, it is possible two may have been made for the new Consuls appointed in December 1799 or as spares for Napoleon himself. Another of the "First Consul" pattern is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. They date that example as c. 1802-1803. These swords all have ivory grips with plaques different from the example in the garniture that include "R.P.F." The "First Consul's Glaive" and Royal Trust Collection "robe sword" and the sword in the garniture all use the same pommel and guard design and the same straight double-edged blade with blued and gilt decoration on each side and the very non-conventional tip found that starts with a very narrow point that then curves back rapidly to full blade width. The Royal Collection Trust notes that these tips were probably copied from the bronze blade of a Halstatt sword of Mindelheim type, and that in Napoleonic era those swords were thought to have been Roman. The sword in the garniture is slightly plainer than the “Consul” swords, which is logical as it was presented in 1797 when Napoleon was a national military hero but not yet the national leader. This sword was likely the model for the famous “Consul” swords. 

The silver-gilt hilt has "MANUFACTURE D'ARMES A VERSAILLES" and "BOUTET DIRECTEUR ARTISTE" in ovals on the face of the guard which has detailed double serpent borders with entwined heads. 

The back or upper side of the guard has masks of Jupiter at the tips and imperial eagles where the guard meets the grip. Both would be fitting on a sword presented to Napoleon given his leadership of the Army of Italy. The silver-gilt pommel is a double lion head design that was also used on the “Consul” swords. The grip is wood with a reeded design perhaps meant to represent a Roman fasces and has silver-gilt trophies with masks. The specific classical figure represented by the masks, which are the same on the “Consul” swords, have been identified variously as Apollo, the Gorgoneion, and Jupiter. The Gorgoneion is the most logical given the use of Gorgon heads on other arms from Boutet including pistols later made for Napoleon’s officers, and the design is very similar to the Medusa Rondanini and other surviving masks of Medusa and the protective Gorgoneion. This symbol continued to be widely used deep into the 19th century on fine swords. The scabbard is a mix of silver-gilt, shagreen, and panels with blued backgrounds that make the golden classical motifs stand out. Among the designs are the club of Hercules, the thunderbolts of Jupiter, and other classical motifs. The sword is difficult to draw from the scabbard due to the precise 

This beautiful pocket pistol forms a pair with the next pistol. Pocket pistols are among the rarest items from the Versailles Manufactory. Their Greco-Roman theme fits excellently with the attribution that they were presented to Napoleon after his victories as the commander of the Army of Italy against Austria and Sardinia. A related pair of double barreled pocket pistols by Jean Lepage c. 1800 is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and noted as inscribed as engraved by one of the members of the Montagny family engravers from St. Etienne. They note the engraving may be specifically from Fluery Montagny. The engraving quality and style is consistent with the present pair, and the grip inlays are also similar, but the MET pair features less extensive embellishment overal. 

Included with the garniture is the 1976 Christie's "Highly Important Firearms: The Property of Mr. and Mrs. Luke Dillon-Hahon" catalog featuring the set in color on the title plate and in black and white as lot 8 where it is listed as "removed from Clonbrock, Ahascragh, Co. Galway" and headlined "An Important Garniture of Flintlock Firearms and a Sword, by Boutet, Versailles, Presented to Napoleon in 1797." In addition, scans of the catalogs from the Gothic Hall in 1820 and 1821 listing "Napoleon's Fire Arms, &c." as "presented to General Bonaparte by the Directory of the French Republic in the year 1797" and relating the provenance from the Oplotheca catalog, a description of the sword from Peter Finer, and a Butterfield & Butterfield catalog entry for the carbine from 1996 listing the provenance as "Napoleon Bonaparte, Marshall Junot, Duke of Abrantes, and Dutchess Abrantes" are included.

courageux d'être allés jusqu'au bout :

voici la vente sur youtube :

PS (2) 

Nicolas-Noël Boutet, né le 31 août 1761 et mort en 1833 à Paris, est un armurier français qui a été directeur général des Manufactures d'armes et Ateliers de réparation de France. 

Arquebusier ordinaire du Roy après son mariage avec la fille du sieur Desainte en 1788, il est nommé directeur-artiste de la Manufacture de carabines de Versailles par décret le 23 août 1792. 

Le 29 brumaire An VII (19 novembre 1798), le Directoire le nomme directeur général des Manufactures d'armes et Ateliers de réparation de France. Il se consacrera dès le 4 nivôse (24 décembre) uniquement à l'administration de la manufacture de Versailles.

PS : nous cultivons une admiration familiale pour Napoléon :