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Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette
Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette
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Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette
Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette
Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette
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Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette

  • This gilded, pocket-sized telescope belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Telescopes were vital instruments in Napoleon’s military campaigns
  • The telescope is befitting the emperor who also served as an aesthetic tastemaker for the West
  • Circa 1809
  • Get complete item description here
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Item No. 31-8966

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Description
This gilded lorgnette, or pocket-sized telescope, belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte and was crucial in shaping an empire. Napoleon's frequent use of his spyglass in war campaigns and domestically was likely a practical solution to his nearsightedness, but also significantly influenced the tool's popularity among Europe's elite class.

This ornate telescope is more than a luxury—it was a vital instrument in Napoleon’s military campaigns. Napoleon's use of this instrument in his campaigns appears in the. . .
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This gilded lorgnette, or pocket-sized telescope, belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte and was crucial in shaping an empire. Napoleon's frequent use of his spyglass in war campaigns and domestically was likely a practical solution to his nearsightedness, but also significantly influenced the tool's popularity among Europe's elite class.

This ornate telescope is more than a luxury—it was a vital instrument in Napoleon’s military campaigns. Napoleon's use of this instrument in his campaigns appears in the famous painting entitled Napoleon I at the Battle of Wagram, July 6, 1809, where artist Horace Vernet shows him scanning the surroundings through a similar telescope. He used telescopes during many battles such as the Battle of Austerlitz, or the Battle of Three Emperors, on December 2, 1805, where Napoleon Bonaparte used a telescope to study the battlefield, enabling him to observe 10,000–12,000 Russian soldiers still resisting and attempting to escape. This critical use of the telescope allowed Napoleon to make the strategic decisions that earned him his decisive victory, one of the most important military victories of the Napoleonic Wars.

The telescope is befitting the emperor who also served as an aesthetic tastemaker for the Western world. The telescope expands from five segments, adorned with decorative silver metalwork. The elegant curves of the design are complemented by intricate friezes and a beaded pattern, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship. The telescope is housed in a circular red Morocco leather case adorned with a scattering of golden stars and the crowned letter "N," for the historic French leader.

Today, pocket telescopes owned by Napoleon reside in prestigious museums across the globe, such as the Louvre in Paris and The Army Museum in Paris.

Circa 1809

Telescope (extended): 3 3/4" length x 1 7/8" diameter
Case: 1 3/4" length x 2 1/4" diameter

Provenance:
Private Collection, Napoleon Bonaparte
Private Collection, France
Sale, Millon & Associes. France. May 15 2024
M.S. Rau, New Orleans
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Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette
Period: 19th Century
Origin: France
Type: Historical Memorabilia
Depth: 1.88 in. (4.76 cm)
Width: 1.88 in. (4.76 cm)
Height: 1.38 in. (3.49 cm)
Napoleon Bonaparte’s Lorgnette
The Life and Legacy of Napoleon Bonaparte

  This portrait by Joseph Franque depicts Napoleon immediately prior to his disastrous attempt to invade Russia in 1812.   Today he is a household name and an outright celebrity of Western and...

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Buy with Confidence

At M.S. Rau, we are committed to building a long-term, rewarding relationship with each and every client. That’s why your purchase is backed by our 125% guarantee.

Learn More

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