Napoleon death masks can still provoke disputes

The Napoleon death mask in the North Carolina Collection Gallery, described by Nicholas Graham as “what must be the Gallery’s most unexpected holding,” is rare indeed but not unique. In fact, the recent sale of a similar mask and its proposed export from England are causing a minor international incident.

Interviewed in June by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette — Pittsburgh has its own Napoleon mask — former Gallery keeper Neil Fulghum compounded the controversy by expressing doubts about the provenance of the mask sold in England.   

If that Napoleonic issue is ever settled, perhaps we can concentrate on the origins of “Able Was I Ere I Saw Elba.”

 

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