More St Helena Prisoners

In 1819, the French general and grand marshal, Henri-Gratien Bertrand, who had accompanied Napoleon into exile, designed a large birdcage for Longwood House’s gardens.  Chinese carpenters, who otherwise spent their time repairing the poorly-constructed house, built the cage and stocked it with doves and pheasants.

At first, Napoleon admired it, but he was known to free the birds, saying St Helena didn’t need any more prisoners.

Today’s cage at Longwood is an exact replica.  In 1840, nineteen years after Napoleon’s death, General Bertrand returned to St Helena as part of the honor guard accompanying the emperor’s body back to France. He also retrieved the birdcage.  That original is now in his family estate-turned-museum, the Musée-Hôtel Bertrand in Châteauroux, France.

2 Comments

  • Aaron Essex
    August 31, 2012 - 7:18 am | Permalink

    its not a exact replica few minor deals missing, i know i built it. A Essex

  • mrodenberg
    August 31, 2012 - 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Aaron. How wonderful to hear from you. When did you make it? Are you a Saint living in the UK now? The cage is quite wonderful. I hope to see the original in France some day.

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