The little bust was found at a flea market last week, and I think it must have been discovered by a metal-detector because it was caked in old mud when I bought it. I gave it a clean, then re-patinated it with a special solution which turns Damascus gun-barrels brown (I knew it would come in handy one day), before giving it a light wax and buffing it with a fine, stainless steel brush. Handsome, eh?
I turned the little stone base on my lathe at the workshop (yes, you can turn stone - you can even chop it with an axe - I have many old stone-axes which I have used for carving a lot), and mounted the head on it.
The stone comes from Ham Hill, near Yeovil, Somerset, and is always this rich, rusty brown. This is a particularly fine-grained version - some of it is extremely coarse, with great mud-beds running through it.
There are two quarries at Ham Hill, both named after the owners. One is Harvey's (where this stone comes from) and the other is Richard England's. Richard England is now quite old, but when I dealt with him a lot, he was busy popping over to the USA because he was building a house for Clint Eastwood - made entirely out of Ham Hill stone!
Mr Harvey's claim to fame is that his daughter is the famous British musician, P.J. Harvey, and the hill's claim to fame is that it is the site of an extremely unusual and complex set of pre-historic dwellings. This means that - although there is plenty of stone to go around - the quarries and the archaeologists tread a finely balanced path when it comes to each other's interests. There have been quarries there since medieval times, and the whole of nearby Sherborne is made either of Ham Hill, or Sherborne stone itself. It is surprising how small a hole is left after enough stone has been pulled out to build a few towns, though.
Napoleon - having declared himself Emperor - was often depicted as a Caesar. I suppose that - having killed the entire royal family to form a republic - they would hardly depict him as a king, but even so, it does show more than a madman's sense of grandeur to call yourself 'Emperor', let alone 'Napoleon'.
Actually, you can have it, John, but this time it's going to cost you.