Apsley House: Napoleon bronze death mask restored

  • Published
Death MaskImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
The mask has been restored ahead of Apsley House's reopening later this month

A death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte has been cleaned and conserved to mark the 200th anniversary of the French emperor's death.

The bronze, which is a direct impression of Napoleon's face at the time of his death, will go on display at Apsley House in central London.

The Hyde Park townhouse - home of Napoleon's arch nemesis the Duke of Wellington - reopens later this month.

Napoleon died in exile at the age of 51 exactly 200 years ago, on 5 May 1821.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Wednesday marks 200 years since Napoleon died in St Helena
Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker was declared "too athletic" by the emperor

Napoleon as Mars the Peacemaker has also been cleaned ready for the reopening on 19 May.

The 11ft 3½in (3.45m) statue by Antonio Canova depicts the 5ft 6in (1.67m) dictator as the Roman god Mars.

Sculpted between 1802 and 1806, it was declared "too athletic" by Napoleon and never displayed in public.

After the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, in which Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington, it was bought by the British government and given to the duke as a gift.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The mask is on display at the former home of Napoleon's arch nemesis

Napoleon Bonaparte: key dates

  • 1769 - Born in Ajaccio, Corsica
  • 1785 - Graduates from military academy in Paris
  • 1795 - Commands French revolutionary troops who defeat royalist rebels in Paris
  • 1796-1802 - Wins key battles against Austria, Prussia and others
  • 1804-05 - Crowns himself emperor then defeats Austrian and Russian troops at Austerlitz
  • 1812-14 - Campaign in Russia results in disastrous retreat; forced to abdicate and exiled on Elba island
  • 1815 - Escapes from Elba, then defeated by British and Prussians at Waterloo; exiled to St Helena, where he dies six years later

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