Duke's of Dorchester are to sell a 200 year old chair that was once owned by a glamorous French princess. The chair originally belonged to Princess Marie Antoinette Murat (1793-1847 ) whose famous Uncle Joachim Murat, King of the Two Sicilies from 1808 to 1815, was brother-in-law to Napoleon through marriage to Napoleon's younger sister, Caroline Bonaparte.
The chair, which is thought to date from around 1810, is typical for the style that became favourable during the Napoleonic reign, for example, the intricately caned seat, gilt paintwork and Egyptian-head decorated legs.
It was later acquired by Field Marshal Lord Grenfell, GCB, GCMG, FSA, where it featured in his Napoleonic Collection before presenting it in February 1920 to Bournemouth Natural Science Society. A label still remaining on the chair is testament to the gift.
Napoleonic related items are well sought after at auction and there have been some astounding results in recent years. Napoleon Bonaparte is arguably the most famous historic figure in French history and thus creates strong interest from collectors all over the world. Recently a bicorn hat belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte sold for £1.25 million proving that the market is very strong.
This chair, is to be sold in a specialist furniture auction on December 5 estimated at £800-£1600. A spokesperson for Dukes said: 'It is a rare opportunity to own an item so well connected with one of the most important historical figures of the 19th century. I wonder whether Napoleon himself sat on it!?'