It is very well presented and is I think a credit to the auctioneers. It contains a short essay by David Markham.
The auction will take place in Auckland on June 29th.
In a way it is a pity that the collection has had to be split up after all this time. I understand that Michel Martineau would have liked to purchase some of the items for the museum at Longwood, but unfortunately funds are not available.
Michel has asked me what items I would like. Strange as it may seem I am not a collector, but I would gladly give a home to any of the pictures in the collection. On the whole though I would rather see them in a museum where they could be enjoyed by more people. The one item I would not particularly want is Napoleon's hair! That may suprise some readers.
Anyway among the many items that caught my eye were paintings of the races that used to take place on Deadwood, and which used to be observed secretly by Napoleon from Bertrand's cottage using his spy glass.
Little did I know then that a picture of the races was in existence.
I also found this drawing of Longwood interesting.
A rather more higgledy piggledy residence than we usually imagine it. (Worth clicking to enlarge it.)
It should remind us that it was the home and work place for a number of people who were there to support Napoleon, living in close proximity to each other and in sanitary conditions which we would find intolerable. Not to mention the rats!
In this picture Napoleon's apartment is hidden behind what appears to be a tall fortification - which perhaps reminds us of another too easily forgotten feature of life at Longwood.
Perhaps the most interesting item for me though is the collection of play bills - shedding important light on the amateur dramatics which took place on St Helena during the captivity.
Denzil Ibbetson was a keen actor, as were his sons. He was apparently manager and book keeper for the St Helena Amateur Theatre from 1816-23.
Among the plays performed in these years were John Bull, Love A-La– Mode, The Wonder: A Woman keeps a Secret!!, She Stoops to Conquer, Tom Thumb, Bombastes Furioso, and King Richard III .
Napoleon never witnessed any of these performances. Doubtless he would have been welcomed, but his appearance would certainly have distracted the audience.
The collection also includes two sketches Ibbetson made after the theatre was burned down in 1821.
It is a pity some of these items could not find their way to the museum in Jamestown. They constitute a little known part of St. Helena history.