Tussaud's made another similar acquisition in 1873: 'plain sofa bedstead (authenticated) ... in general use by Napoleon ... at St Helena ... brought to England after the Emperor's Death by Major Crockett ... sold at auction last week at the Castel Sale rooms, Dover, and purchased by Mme. Tussaud & Sons' (North Western Gazette, 4 August 1883).
The bed from Lucien, presumably the present lot, was the centrepiece of Tussaud's 'Shrine of Bonaparte' with a model of the recumbent Napoleon on the bed draped with his Marengo cloak. The tableau was engraved and published in The Mirror on Saturday, May 27, 1843: 'The Napoleon Room recently opened in Baker street is one of the most superb apartments in the world. Not only are his embellishments in fine taste, but they present numerous memorials of an extraordinary captain, once "the dread and wonder" of the world ... The readers of 'The Mirror' were lately presented with a pictorial representation of the cot or cradle of the King of Rome. The bed on which the father died is now submitted.'
A similar steel folding bed by Desouches which is described as the bed 'in which the Emperor died on 5 May 1821' is included in the reconstruction of Napoleon's drawing room in Longwood House on Saint Helena in Les Invalides. Napoleon used two such beds at Longwood, one in his bedroom and one in his study.
The original deathbed scene on St Helena was sketched by Captain Marryat and published as a lithograph on 16 July 1821 (see Fig. 1): 'Sketch of Bonaparte. As laid out on his Austerlitz Camp Bed, taken by Captn Marryat R.N, 14 hours after his Decease, at the request of Sir Hudson Lowe, Governor of St Helena. & with the permission of Count Montholon & General Bertrand'. (Marryat commanded the guard ship at St Helena and carried the dispatches announcing the death back to England.)