Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Napoleon and Joséphine, A Love Story

Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais 

~ One of the Greatest Love Stories in History ~

Vintage Postcard, dated 1908

Napoleon and Josephine were married March 9, 1796.

It's no secret that Paris has long been my favorite 

destination, and over the years I've collected 

my fair share of Napoleonic memorabilia. 

Kathryn Crisp Greeley's new book, 


advocates using one's collections to set a special table.

I decided to do just that when I selected 

Napoleonic Memorabilia 

as my topic for a CAMEO meeting.

I'm passing along this tip for 

Tutorials, Tips, and Tidbits @ Stone Gable.

When you host your next dinner party, gather up a collection 

to use as a theme.  I found it fun to see my pieces grouped 

together, and your collection will no doubt spark conversation.

Those of you who follow HFTS might remember the post I shared here about CAMEO, a small antique club of which I'm a member.  

Collecting Antiques and Memorabilia 
and Educating Ourselves

The structure of our small group is such that each member is responsible for presenting or arranging a presentation on a topic of interest to share with the group at one of our monthly meetings.  

~ Collecting Napoleonic Memorabilia ~

My topic of choice last spring.

Napoleon's famous N and bee motif 

show up in many of these pieces.

The pottery pieces you see in the photos 

are mostly French faience produced in the 

last part of the 19th century or the first half of the 20th century.

Small Bust of Napoleon, CA 
Dinner Plate, HenRiot Quimper
Teapot part of Garden Buddies Tea Service, unmarked

Napoleon Ivy ~ As Used By Napoleon At St. Helena ~ 1815
Wedgwood Etruria England

I only have but one demi-tasse cup and saucer in this lovely pattern, though I long to add more pieces someday.  It is Kathryn Greeley's #2 choice in her Top Ten China Patterns.  Now retired, this pattern was that which Napoleon used while in exile on the south Atlantic island of St. Helena.  

Vintage Bronze Souvenirs of Paris Aside a 

Vintage Avon Bee Skep Cologne Bottle

Vintage Letter Openers Atop 1900 Edition of L'Aiglon, 

A Play In Six Acts Based On The Life Of Napoleon's Son

Performed At The Knickerbocker Theatre 

New York, October 1900

Serving a light brunch, I used the opportunity to follow Karhryn Greeley's advice: "Mixing antique collections with contemporary tabletop pieces adds drama and the unexpected."  With my collection as the central focus of my tables, I could easily pull select pieces to share with the group as I presented my topic.

Empire by Walbrzych, Poland, 

A lovely ribbed and scalloped plate with gold verge and trim was

a  thrifty Goodwill find.  With a name like Empire  

I thought it most appropriate in homage to Napoleon.

The golden bee textiles are from William Sonoma.

Petite Forks by Sabre of Paris 

MacKenzie-Childs Flower Market 

and Courtly Check Enamel Ware

Salmon Spread with Crackers

Recipe here

Seasonal Berries and Melon 

with Onion Walnut Muffins

Recipe here

The drink table featured 

items with the bee motif.

Petite French Faience Vase, CA 
Napoleonic Bee Vintage Silk Fragment, c1880

Napoleonic Bee Stems, 
La Rochere of France

For The Dessert Table

~ A Touch of Josephine ~

The stack of plates are Sarreguemines transfer ware c.1890-1922, and each feature a different Napoleonic military scene.  These were ironically found on a CAMEO field trip to Fredericksburg, TX.  One never knows where treasures will be discovered.

The red toleware jardiniere is a contemporary piece.

Pair of  Revolutionary Commemorative Plates, PBx, c1880.

 Sweet Little Souvenirs  
Chateau de Fontainebleau, 2011

Vintage Tiara ~ A Gift From My CAMEO Friends

If you enjoy historical fiction and the subject is of interest, I highly recommend reading Sandra Gulland's trilogy about Josephine.  It's a new look at this fascinating character of French history.

I reviewed each book in the links below.

For those of you still with me on this 

lengthy post, I offer you some sweet treats.

~ Napoleons ~

Layers of Mille-Feuille and Vanilla Cream 

Topped with Fondant

Bee Sugar Cookies

Vanilla Meringue Bites 

Perhaps this post will inspire you to begin a memorabilia 

collection of your own on a theme that interests you.