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    Sale 5427

    Antique Arms & Armour

    17 December 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 94

    AN HISTORIC FRENCH FIRST EMPIRE REGULATION ÉPÉE D'OFFICIER SUPERIEUR, CARRIED BY LOUIS-ALEXANDRE BERTHIER (1753-1815), PRINCE DE NEUCHÂTEL ET DE WAGRAM, MAJOR GENERAL OF THE GRANDE ARMÉE, CHIEF-OF-STAFF TO THE EMPEROR AND MARSHAL OF FRANCE

    CIRCA 1805-1814

    Price Realised  

    AN HISTORIC FRENCH FIRST EMPIRE REGULATION ÉPÉE D'OFFICIER SUPERIEUR, CARRIED BY LOUIS-ALEXANDRE BERTHIER (1753-1815), PRINCE DE NEUCHÂTEL ET DE WAGRAM, MAJOR GENERAL OF THE GRANDE ARMÉE, CHIEF-OF-STAFF TO THE EMPEROR AND MARSHAL OF FRANCE
    CIRCA 1805-1814
    With slender hollow-triangular blade lightly etched at the forte and etched with the bladesmith's initials 'I.S. & C.' for Johann Schimelbusch & Compagnie, gilt-brass hilt cast in relief, including shell-guard bearing the Imperial eagle displayed-in-splendour on a base of thunderbolts, casque à grille pommel of regulation pattern cast in high relief (variously given as for both Senior and General Officers), and fitted with fluted grip-scales of mother-of-pearl (scabbard missing)
    31½in (80cm) blade


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    Louis-Alexandre Berthier entered the army at the age of seventeen and following service in North America and Prussia he was appointed Chief-of-Staff of the Versailles National Guard. There in 1791 he aided the escape of the aunts of Louis XVI from the mob. Berthier successively gained distinction in the Argonne and in the Vendéan War of 1793-95. He received early recognition by Consul Bonaparte both for his bravery and for his exceptional aptitude for staff work.
    In this capacity Berthier became closely bonded to Napoleon Bonaparte as no other officer for the duration of the First Empire. Berthier controlled both the General Headquarters and the Emperor's Field Headquarters as Imperial Chief-of-Staff.

    Further biographical details are available on request.

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    Provenance

    Louis-Alexandre Bethier, appointed major-général de la Grande Armée, 30 August 1805.

    Following his death on 1 June 1815 the sword passed to Joseph-Alexandre Berthier (1792-1849), brother by their father's second marriage and himself a highly distinguished officer.

    Thence by descent through the male line to the present owner.