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Soil from Napoleon's grave
Type: Packages and containers
Current Location: Musee du Souvenir Saint-Cyr Coetquidan
Where Made: St Helena
Description: Small paper package c.150mm X 55mm with a wax seal on the back. Handwriting on the package reads: "Mould taken from the grave of Napoleon Buonaparte, Emperor of France, at 2.0 minutes to 1 am in the morning of the 15th October 1840, by the Hon the Chief Justice Wilden (?), of the Island of St Helena, one of the persons present at the disinterment and by whom it was presented to Mrs Gulliver". The identity of Mrs Gulliver is unknown. The soil seems to have been removed at the time of the exhumation of Napoleon's body, which began at midnight on 14th October 1840. Who collected the sample of soil and how it came to be given to AH Marks are not known, however Pat Marks's executors donated it to the French Army Museum Society (SAMA) at the Hotel National des Invalides in 2003. The Society in turn transferred it to the Musee du Souvenir Saint-Cyr Coetquidan, in the Officer Training School of the French Army of Saint-Cyr Coetquidan, in October 2003. The school was originally founded by Napoleon at Fontainebleau in 1803, but he moved it to Saint-Cyr-I'Ecole near Versailles in 1808. Destroyed in 1944, the academy was rebuilt at Coetquidan, in Brittany, after the War.
Believed by Pat Marks to have been given to her uncle AH Marks (date not known).