Enamel and gold
François Joseph Charles Bonaparte, son of Napoleon I and his second wife, Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria, was named the ‘King of Rome’ by his father when he was born in 1811. At Napoleon’s first abdication during the downfall of the empire in 1814-15, François briefly became Emperor Napoleon II, but in name alone.
The practice of painting portrait miniatures in enamel developed out of the decorative work of goldsmiths and watchmakers in the French cities of Blois, Châteaudun and Paris. Portrait plaques had been made in the enamelling workshops of Limoges in central France during the 16th century, but in the 1630s artist Jean Toutin adapted existing techniques to make the subtle colouring and delicate detail of enamel miniatures possible.