19 October 2005
MADAME MÈRE (1750-1836)
A FRENCH SILVER-GILT MEAT DISH AND A PAIR OF PLATES, EN SUITE, FROM THE MADAME MÈRE SERVICE
MARK OF JEAN-BAPTISTE-CLAUDE ODIOT, PARIS, 1806.
Each with a leaf motif border, engraved with the Imperial coat-of-arms incorporating the initial 'M', all within drapery mantling and below a coronet, marked on back and on rim
The platter 24½in. (62cm.) long
The plates 9 5/8in. (24.5cm.) diameter
The arms are those of Maria Letizia Ramolino, Madame Mère (1750-1836). Born in Corsica in 1750, Letizia Ramolino married Carlo Maria Bonaparte at the age of 14. During the troubles in Corsica, the Bonapartes eventually sided with the French and, following the death of her husband she moved to France in 1793. With the rise to power of her son Napoleon, she too demanded, and received, imperial accord, being eventally styled 'Son Altesse Impériale, Madame Mère de l'Empereur'. Settled in the l'hôtel de Brienne, Madame Mère accrued immense riches, to the mild disapproval of the Emperor. Upon his downfall in 1814, she too moved to Elba and is said to have financed him during his stay there. However, upon his abdication following Waterloo, Madame Mère moved to Rome where she remained until her death in 1836. The archives of Maison Odiot indicate that the service was delivered on 11 November 1806. Other pieces from the service from the Al-Tajir Collection are illustrated in The Glory of the Goldsmith, pages 30 and 31. (3)
Posssibly an American Private Collector; Sotheby's New York, 28 October 1987, lot 170 (part) and lot 171
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