Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Unintended Gift

The episode of Bruckner's coin, related in the previous post, reminded me of a similar story I heard about the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte:
For his coronation as emperor of France, Napoleon ordered a crown to be made of pure gold, in the shape of one of those laurel wreaths given to athletic champions in ancient times. The artist Jean-Baptiste Isabey, who designed the garments for the ceremony, presented the crown to the emperor at his coronation, but as he did, a single gold leaf broke off the wreath. Napoleon gave the leaf to Isabey, who preserved it in the cover of a snuff box for the rest of his life.

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