Posted 5 years ago
Here's a mystery item which I haven't been able to verify. The book is "Life of Buonaparte" by Sarratt printed 1803 or soon thereafter. What is in question here is the signature by "Buonaparte" underneath the portrait frontispiece. Yes I know that it was common practice to put facsimile signatures under portraits, but somehow I'm not so sure about this one.
Points that favor a real signature:
- The 3rd image shows a scanned copy found at Google Books and it lacks a signature.
- Another book by the same publisher - a biography of Nelson - printed about the same time also has a frontispiece portrait without a signature (can also be found on Google Books).
- The signature is not centered as the typical facsimiles were.
- It doesn't even have the same "sharpness" as other facsimiles have. Compare with my other book listed "Works by Akenside".
What speaks against:
- The scanned Google copy is a first edition, while my copy states "2nd edition" on title page. However, everything else is identical to the letter and I believe it was printed not long after the 1st (possibly the same year).
So if the signature is real and not facsimile, is it really Napoleons? Well, by looking at examples out there it does look pretty close. I cannot be sure though, since only a professional would be able to investigate it properly.
I don't quite expect any experts to solve this here by just looking at this page, but any info, advice or comments are most welcome.
Even if the signature is fake the book is still pretty neat and unusual as it was British anti-propaganda aimed at Napoleon to depict him as evil. Probably one of the earliest biographies of him too.