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CDV Prince Napoleon Jerome Plon Plon 1850 copy dag Nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte For Sale
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CDV Prince Napoleon Jerome Plon Plon 1850 copy dag Nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte:
~Offering one original CDV of a man believed to be Prince Napoleon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte (1822-1891), nephew of Napoleon I and cousin of Napoleon III. The image appears to be from a mid-1800s daguerreotype copied to a CDV and it showcases the head and shoulders of its famous subject. CDVs of royals and famous figures were sold to the public at large. See photos. The CDV was created in the 1860s by W.L. Germon’s in Philadelphia. (see reverse in photos) It measures approx. 2.5” x 4”. Bottom left corner trimmed to fit in album. There are some markings on the forehead. This could indicate some tarnish or decay of origin daguerreotype, which commonly happened as they were very fragile and subject to solvent bursting, rubbing, and/or scratching. Thankfully his handsome face is still discernible and reveals an expression that is quite magnetic and unforgettable!
The album that this carte was in belonged to the family of US General George G. Meade, otherwise known as the Victor of Gettysburg. The carte had good company in the album-placed in a military section comprised of many US Civil War generals. The lot that the album was sold in included several Bonaparte family items such as a small chest with portrait miniatures on it of Betsy Paterson and Jerome Bonaparte. Betsy’s father gave the chest to the couple as a wedding gift. See photos. They would separate not long after. Jerome was Emperor Napoleon’s brother and father of Prince Napoleon. Jerome later remarried the woman who became the mother of Prince Napoleon. Also in the album was a photo of the son of a good friend of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s older brother. While living at Point Breeze in New Jersey, US, Joseph Bonaparte became good friends with Joseph Hopkinson a signer of the US Constitution. Joseph Bonaparte lived in Philadelphia for a couple of years before moving to NJ. Also interesting to note- one of Joseph Bonaparte’s daughters was considered as a possibility for marriage to Prince Napoleon.
There are several connections to the Bonaparte family in America demonstrated among the items which had been collected and sold in this lot by a reputable and well known US sale house. Many of the items were originally from a collector in Pennsylvania. ***see footnote
This remarkable early view of Prince Napoleon gives us an idea of what his uncle might have looked like in his prime. Many who saw Prince Napoleon remarked about what a striking resemblance he had to his famous uncle-the familiar ‘Bonaparte head’ with intense large gray eyes, under a prominent low brow, strong forehead, nose and chin. The profile of Plon Plon has been compared by experts to a death mask profile of Napoleon I and are very similar. Plon Plon visited Les Invalides hospital in Paris in the spring of 1845. This was the location of the tomb of his revered uncle Napoleon I. There was quite a stir when veterans there saw his familiar Bonaparte face!
(See excerpt in gallery from a book about Plon Plon by Edgar Holt which relates the scene)
This indicates just how much Plon Plon must have resembled his illustrious uncle. He was seen by many who saw Napoleon I when he was alive. The crowd of 800 that quickly gathered while he was inside seems to prove there must have been a very strong and moving likeness in the face of Prince Napoleon who was a young man at the time! In May of 1845 Prince Napoleon would have been almost 24 years of age. Plon Plon was born (1822) just one year after the death of Napoleon I in 1821. And just 20 years later photography would become available to the public in the 1840s. The first known photograph was created with an 8 hour exposure time in 1825 by Niepce in France—just 4 short years after the French Emperor’s death!
The original daguerreotype used for this CDV could have been made as early as the late 1840s. See photos for another early image of ‘Plon-Plon’ taken by American photographer Mathew Brady. A daguerreotype, it shows Prince Napoleon without a moustache which is consistent with most of his later photos. The book with this view of Prince Napoleon is titled ‘Mathew Brady-Historian with a Camera’ by James D. Horan. See photos for excerpt from book. I was able to find another younger image showing a moustached Prince Napolean. See photos. I have added several photos and engravings showing Plon Plon at various ages throughout his life. Another image I’ve included of Prince Napoleon is an excellent engraving from the ‘The Illustrated London News’ newspaper and is dated Feb. 4, 1854. He would have been 32 years of age at that time. In the image offered here he looks very much like the engraving but this copied daguerreotype could have been made a few years earlier -c.1850. I estimate his age in this image at late 20s to early 30s. The last image I have included shows him 10-15 years later in his 40s and a heavier man. See photos.
Born at Trieste in the Austrian Empire (today Italy), and known as "Prince Napoléon", "Prince Jérôme Napoléon, or by the sobriquet of "Plon-Plon", he was a close advisor to his first cousin, Napoleon III of France, and in particular was seen as a leading advocate of French intervention in Italy on behalf of Camillo di Cavour and the Italian nationalists. Until Napoleon III produced an heir apparent, the Bonaparte family were at odds for who should be the heir presumptive, a matter complicated by Jérôme Bonaparte's first marriage to American Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte, with whom he had a son, Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte. A meeting of the Bonaparte family, presided over by Napoleon III, determined that while Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte was not considered illegitimate, he would be excluded from the line of succession, making Prince Napoléon the heir presumptive.
When Napoléon Eugène, Prince Imperial died in 1879, Prince Napoleon became, genealogically, the most senior member of the Bonaparte family, but the Prince Imperial's will excluded him from the succession, nominating Prince Napoleon's son Napoléon Victor Jérôme Frédéric Bonaparte as the new head of the family. As a result, Prince Napoleon and his son quarreled for the remainder of Prince Napoleon’s life.
Thank you for your consideration of this intriguing
photograph of a man believed to be Prince Napoleon, also called Napoleon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte or Plon Plon. I think it’s an important live glimpse of a close relative of Napoleon I, the French Emperor. I believe it’s an important piece of history because it is probably one of the closest photographic likenesses we have to what Napoleon might have actually looked like.
While death masks, paintings and physical descriptions by those who knew him give us a good idea, there is nothing like looking into the photographed eyes of a (then) living relative who by many accounts resembled Napoleon I the most closely of all his relatives!
Although this exquisite image is surrounded with good circumstantial provenance it does lack a period identification. I am confident from my own research and visual comparisons that this is a probably an early photo of Prince Napoleon, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte. I was trained in digital facial recognition by one of America’s foremost experts in that field. The comparisons with other photos of Plon Plon tick all of the boxes required for similar faces to be the same person. This CDV must have been copied from a daguerreotype as his clothing indicates the time period for daguerreotype photography.
This original CDV is being offered ‘as is’ without a written period identification. The album it was discovered in, however, was identified in period ink as belonging to the ‘Meade Family’ of Philadelphia PA.
The man in this image is believed to be Prince Napoleon Joseph Charles Paul Bonaparte-‘The First Prince of the Blood’ of the French 2nd Empire, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte!~
Please message me for further information. Thank you.
*** It has been suggested to me by a well known expert on Napoleon that this is not Prince Napoleon but the American Bonaparte-son of aforementioned Jerome Bonaparte and Elizabeth Patterson. In my opinion the facial bone structure of their son Jerome (Bo) is much narrower than that of Prince Napoleon whose facial structure in all later images is the same as the man in the image being offered here. I have done all the research I am able to with limited resources. My conclusion is that this is Plon Plon. Were further research to be done by experts I hope I would be proven right. The face itself lends me to my conclusion, but there are many circumstantial things about its origins that would support an American Bonaparte. Thank you.
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