Depicting a battle scene of the last stand of Prince Josef Antoni Poniatowski (1763-1813). Around the top edge the faint words, C’est ici qu’il faut mourir avec honneur’ (It is here that he must die with honour) and, beneath the image,‘Paroles de Poniatovki en se precipitant dans l’Elster’. Silver metal oval to the lid inscribed with the initials J.B. Tortoiseshell lined interior. Image based on the original painting by January Suchodolski. For similar box, see lot 614, Christie’s ‘The Decorative Arts Sale’, 21-22 June 2011, Amsterdam.
French, Circa 1820
Diameter 3.5” (8.cm)
Stock No. 9847
Prince Jozef Antoni Poniatowski (7th May 1763 - October 19th 1813) was a Polish leader, general, minister of war and army chief who was made Marshal of the French Empire by Napoleon as reward for his services just three days before his death during the Battle of Leipzig. Originally named Commander in Chief of the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807 by Napoleon, he led a Polish corps in the Emperor’s Russian campaign in 1812, meeting his death on horseback in the Weisse Elster River on the final day of the battle of Leipzig. Following his death, Poniatowski was to become a legendary cult figure in Poland and an inspiration for Polish freedom fighters throughout the 19th century.