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YOUBOOTY; Napoleon's spyglass found gathering dust in cellar... 150 years after it was given to Marquess of Anglesey in honour of victory at Waterloo.

Byline: ERYL CRUMP Arts and Heritage Correspondent

A SPYGLASS once used by Napoleon Bonaparte on the battlefields of Europe has been discovered gathering dust in the basement of a mansion.

The fragile pocket-sized telescope was almost lost to history after lying for 150 years in a dark cellar.

But after its rediscovery at Plas Newydd, near Llanfairpwll, it will go on display alongside the spoils of war won at the Battle of Waterloo by the First Marquess of Anglesey.

The spyglass came to the family after Napoleon left it behind in his hurried escaped from exile on the Mediterranean island of Elba, just months before meeting his ultimate defeat at Waterloo on June 18, 1815.

But mystery continues to surround the story of the spyglass, one of a number of intriguing items featured at the Waterloo Museum Exhibition at Plas Newydd. Simon Pickering, Plas Newydd's house and collections manager, said: "This is one of those magical pieces with the power to connect people to the past, and we are thrilled to be sharing it for the first time with the public at the time of the 200th anniversary of Waterloo.

Portrait |Napoleon "The spyglass has an amazing story which was nearly lost for all time until it was rediscovered after 150 years being stored in a cellar for safekeeping.

"It was exceptionally fragile when first found but it has now been restored so it can be displayed for visitors to view."

Family sources believe the spyglass came into the "possession" of a Major Campbell, who was the British Consul on Elba during Napoleon's exile on the island. There has been speculation as to whether Campbell "colluded" in Napoleon's hasty flight from Elba to return to the battlefield and his final showdown at Waterloo.

Such was the suspicion surrounding Campbell following Napoleon's escape, he was denied a commission to fight alongside The Duke of Wellington and the Marquess of Anglesey at Waterloo.

The First Marquess of Anglesey commanded Wellington's cavalry fighting Napoleon at Waterloo, and lost his leg in the battle - he subsequently became the owner of the world's first articulated leg.

His son, the Second Marquess, was presented with Napoleon's spyglass in 1867 as a memento in honour of his father's role.

The current Marquess of Anglesey - the eighth - explains how he learned of the object's existence and history. "My father was showing me around the jumble of dusty objects in the basement at Plas Newydd, and pointed out that one of the most interesting things was Napoleon's spyglass.

"It had been presented to Lord Clarence Paget (the Second Marquess) and his wife Lady Clarence Paget by the English Consul in Elba in 1867. The spyglass was almost certainly used by Napoleon 42 years earlier when he was in exile on Elba and dreaming of his escape and return to France."

of " The spyglass will be the centrepiece of a new display at the Waterloo Museum which opens tomorrow.

Simon Pickering added: "The role of the First Marquess at Waterloo is an important part of the story here at Plas Newydd. He suffered the loss of a leg and had the first ever articulated wooden leg designed, which we already have on show.

"Now, to have a spyglass once used by Napoleon, his great adversary, on show here in this 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo is very exciting, and we are thrilled to be able share such an important and fascinating object with our visitors."


Spoils of war: Simon Pickering |with the spyglass going on show alongside other items from the Battle of Waterloo, including the Marquess' wodden leg (inset)
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jun 12, 2015
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