Collection online

death-mask / cast

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Death-mask; plaster-of-Paris cast copy; Napoleon Bonaparte; shows Napoleon bald, eyes sunken and closed, cheeks hollow and mouth slightly open, revealing teeth; back hollow; at top of head are remains of bronze suspension loop.

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 27 centimetres
    • Width: 15 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    See: G. L. de St. M. Watson, 'The Story of Napoleon's Death Mask told from the Original Documents', London 1915 'Historia', September 1854 'Illustrated London News', 14.4.1855, p. 350, 352 E. de Veauce, 'L'affaire du masque de Napoléon', 1957 'Revue de la Société des amis du Musée de l'Armée', 60 (1957-58), p. 45/49, with further refs. E. De Veauce, 'Les masques mortuaires de Napoléon', 1971 (the aabove noted by Tim Wilson prior to 1990. for more recent lit, see file.

    There are letters in P&E archive relating to the original, bronze, mask: (1) Marquise de Strada, 26 July 1873, refers to an 1870 attempt 'by the British Museum' to purchase the mask from a 'French gentleman of my acquaintance'. The letter is annotated 'declined AWF'. (2) Enclosure: letter from M. Emile Duchier, Paris, 25 July 1873, to the Marquise, describing the bronze original in his possession.

    For a death mask owned by the Rev Boys, a witness to Napoleon's death, see 'Export of Objects of Cultural Interest 2013/14, London 2014, pp. 34-35.


  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history

    2015 Feb-Aug, BM, Rm 90, Bonaparte and the British

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: MCN13822

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