Monday, June 8, 2009


I've touched on this subject once before with the above photo I took at Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome. I've always admired the bee in decoration, be it curtains or cushions but I must say that I haven't followed through in my own home. The only bee item in my house is a tiny honeypot, which was my Mother's.

I read somewhere recently that Napoleon's personal emblem was the bee. At the opening of the tomb of Frankish King Childeric 1 (founder in 457 of the Merovingian dynasty and father of Clovis) in 1653 at Tournai, Napoleon was inspired by the discovery of 300 golden bees, pictured below. A symbol of immortality and resurrection, the bee was chosen to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. They were considered the oldest emblem of the sovereigns of France.

The bee was a symbol of industry, hard work and determination derived from the ancient Egyptian lore. Throughout Napoleon's life he chose the bee to be embroidered as his personal stamp on chairs, drapes, clothing, etc.

Napoleon's copy of Montaigne's Essais (1608 edition)
from his library on St. Helena. The binding is
decorated with a crowned initial 'N' and bees.


ruthie said...

love this post! bees are the most fascinating of creatures. the bee covered book is bee-utiful (sorry couldn't resist!) it has given me an idea for a wee present for mr O as he is all the things the bee stood for in eqyptian lore. i shall have to discover more for i love to include symbolic things in my paintings, thank you !

Ladybug said...

So glad that it's given you inspiration! LBx