This collection of documents and images here (including a detailed inventory, an exhaustive article and a series of other related texts) attempts to provide readers with the tools whereby to make a reasoned judgement regarding the multiple death masks attributed to Napoleon and the complex relationships linking them to each other and to the fallen Emperor.
An inventory of the principal plaster death masks of Napoleon in public and private collections, Chantal Prévot (December 2017)
The Affair of Napoleon’s Death Masks, Chantal Prévot (article updated on 11 March 2021)
A Saint Helena Miscellany, Thierry Lentz and Peter Hicks
Arsenic and the Emperor, Barbara Krajewska
Napoleon Bonaparte’s gastric cancer: a clinicopathologic approach to staging, pathogenesis, and etiology, Alessandro Lugli, Inti Zlobec, Gad Singer, Andrea Kopp Lugli, Luigi M Terracciano and Robert M Genta*
Bibliography and commentary on Napoleon’s death masks, by Chantal Prévot
Napoleon’s death mask
Ever since the death of the French Emperor on the island of St Helena on 5 May 1821, Napoleon’s death masks have presented one of the most complex and fascinating mysteries related to the minor Corsican noble who ended up ruling much of Western Europe. Many masks, of differing materials and even what appear to be moulds of different faces, have come up for auction over the years, and historians have very few sound sources to which to refer. Indeed, many of the documents available are in any case incomplete and sometimes biased. This dossier is an attempt to give an honest view of the lie of this particular and complex land.