A large portrait in enamel of Napoleon Bonarparte after Émile Jean-Horace Vernet (1789-1863)

Artist/Maker HENRY BONE (1755-1834)
Dimensions 14.00cm high   
Description Mounted in the original fine ormolu frame surmounted with the initial N and crown, the borders with acorns and leaves and an Eagle beneath, set in a glazed display case.

The original painting by Vernet depicts Napoleon full length on a white horse, dated 1816, The original portrait was taken after Napoleon had been defeated was exiled to St. Helena. St. Helena had a healthful climate, and Napoleon's food was good, carefully prepared, and plentiful. However His inactivity undoubtedly contributed to the deterioration of his health. He had also more intimate reasons for unhappiness: Marie-Louise sent no word to him, and he may have learned of her liaison with the Austrian officer appointed to watch over her, Adam, Graf (count) von Neipperg (Nor did he have any news of his son, the former king of Rome.

Napoleon's fall set loose a torrent of hostile books designed to sully his reputation. However, by 1817, the year the enamel was executed, the emperor's most faithful supporters were working toward his rehabilitation, talking about him, and distributing reminders of him, including engravings. The task of defending Napoleon was taken up by Lord Byron who had published his "Ode to Napoleon Buonaparte". and in 1817 the French novelist Stendhal began his biography Vie de Napoléon (Life of Napoleon).

Vernet was famed for his honest depiction of his sitters - a move away from the idealised Classic approach favoured by David. The honesty and realism is very apparent in this image of Napoleon, his face shows sorrow and unhappiness- which Bone has captured to perfection. This enamel is taken from a portrait in the collection Charles Kinnaird, 8th Lord Kinnaird. Vernet painted three portraits for Lord Kinnaird, a politician and art collector. Bone no doubt had access to Lord Kinnarid's collection because he had painted an enamel of him in 1811 for Lady Kinnaird, the drawing for which is in the NPG (D17661).

The preliminary drawing for the enamel by Henry Bone is in the NPG (D17692) where it is described that the original painting by Vernet was in Versailles. The pose and subject was clearly a popular one for Henry's son Henry Pierce Bone also made a similar drawing of Napoleon which is described in the NPG archives as being after François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard.
Provenance Possibly Henry Bone to Henry Pierce Bone
Literature The drawing for this finished enamel is in the NPG D17692
Signed inscribed on the reverse Napoleon Bonaparte/ London May 1817/ Painted by Henry Bone, R.A.,/ Enamel painter in Ordinary to / His Majesty, and Enamel painter to His Royal Highness the Prince/ Regent, after the original by / Horace Vernet, painted 1816. The enamel is further inscribed HB. 2 B-P - which may possibly be a note inscribed by Henry Bone stating that the enamel was to be given to his son Pierce Bone
Medium Painted in enamel
Condition Good
Ref No. 5252
Price £18000.00
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