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Massive French 10 3/8" Silver Empress Josephine Sterling Spoon
This is a very impressive and rare French Silver Spoon of Empress Josephine. This is a very massive and wonderfully detailed spoon weighing nearly 5 Troy ounces ( 156 grams ). It measures 10 & 3/8" long and the bowl is 3 & 1/4" wide! It is in excellent condition, other than the expected light scratching from being around for over 100 years, it is perfect. It is of European descent and is 800 Silver ( 80% ). These types of Historical Spoons of People of the World are very scarce.
Several of these large Souvenir Spoons are shown in the following Reference Book: A Collector's Guide to spoons around the World by Rainwater & Felger in section: VI People of the World, starting on page 350 illustrating the figural spoons of Augustus II, Frederick II, Mary, Queen of Scots, Viscount Horatio Nelson and of Napoleon. This particular spoon is identical to the Napoleon Spoon shown in the reference book, except with the figure of Josephine on the spoon handle. ( We have had another, but different, Josephine Spoon listed in our Shop. It is marked on the front of the bowl to the left of the Crown N with a wreath underneath it. The marks are a "face" and a capital "N". Joséphine de Beauharnais (nee Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie June 23, 1763 – May 29, 1814) 1763: Josephine is born Rose Tascher, the oldest of three daughters, to a noble French family living on the island of Martinique in the French West Indies. 1779: At age sixteen she departs to France for an arranged marriage with Vicomte Alexandre de Beauharnais. The marriage later produces a son and a daughter. 1794: Her husband, Alexandre, is appointed a general during the Revolution but fumbles the defense of Mainz and is guillotined. She is imprisoned and barely escapes the guillotine herself. 1795: She meets Napoleon, and though not bowled over, describes herself as "tenderly attached." She allows him to change her name to Josephine and marries him the next year. 1796: Napoleon and Josephine marry and retire to the wedding bed. Josephine's dog Fortune, a pug who has had sleeping privileges, resents the intrusion and bites his rival on the calf. 1799: A balcony on which she is standing collapses and she falls fifteen feet, sustaining internal injuries which will make it impossible for her to have children. 1800: Josephine begins decorating Malmaison, a three- story house eight miles from Paris. She lays out the gardens and imports exotic species of flowers and plants 200 varieties of roses. By cross breeding she produces the tea rose, from which most garden roses today are descended. 1809: She consents to an annulment of her marriage to Napoleon so that he can marry and produce an heir for the empire. 1812: Josephine retires to Malmaison permanently with a pension of three million francs. 1814: A month after Napoleon is exiled to Elba, she dies at the age of 50 from a chill caught while strolling outdoors in a thin and revealing gown. She was the first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte and thus the first Empress of the French. She met General Napoleon Bonaparte, who was six years younger than she, in 1795, when their romance began. He wrote in a letter to her in December "I awake full of you. Your image and the memory of last night's intoxicating pleasures has left no rest to my senses." In January 1796, Napoleon proposed to her and they married on March 9, 1796. Until meeting Napoleon, she had always been Rose. Instead of calling her this name, which he apparently disliked, he called her 'Joséphine,' which she adopted from then on. Two days after the wedding, Napoleon left to lead the French army in Italy, but sent her many intensely romantic love letters. In February 1797, he wrote: "You to whom nature has given spirit, sweetness, and beauty, you who alone can move and rule my heart, you who knows all too well the absolute empire you exercise over it!" Many of his letters are still intact today, while very few of hers have been found; it is not known whether this is due to their having been lost or to their initial scarcity.
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