Lock of Napoleon’s hair rediscovered at Abbotsford – Sir Walter Scott was a compulsive collector, from penny dreadfuls to historic curios.
As you walk around his fascinating home at Abbotsford there’s always the feeling of what secrets are still waiting to be discovered in the nooks and crannies.
A visit to Abbotsford by BBC TV show the Antiques Road Trip made just that point when a new treasure was unearthed from the novelist’s collections – a lock of Napoleon’s hair.
The hair was rediscovered as one of the show’s antiques experts, Anita Manning, and Abbotsford’s Jason Dyer examined a blotter book that had belonged to Napoleon and which had been on show in the library at the historic house.
The hair was contained within a small handwritten note dated November 8 1827, written to Sir Walter Scott from a Mr Dalton. In the note, Mr Dalton explained that the lock of hair was given to him by Lt Col Elphinstone who served under Wellington, and that he believed it would be of great interest to Scott who was famed for his passion for collecting.
The blotter, which is in an extremely fragile condition, the note and hair are being examined by a team of conservation experts. They will go on show again to the public once this important work has been completed.
The lock of Napoleon’s hair is just one of a host of fascinating objects in Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford collections. Other items include a silver urn gifted to Scott by Lord Bryon, a clock that is reputed to have belonged to Marie Antoinette, Rob Roy’s broadsword, dirk, sporran and gun as well as numerous artefacts collected from the field of the battle of Waterloo.
Jason Dyer, Chief Executive of The Abbotsford Trust said: “We’re obviously delighted by this rediscovery which we believe demonstrates further the importance of preserving this wonderful home and its contents for the future.
More information and opening times at www.scottsabbotsford.co.uk