Charles de Bonaparte

Portrait de Charles Bonaparte

Carlo de Bonaparte was a distinguished public figure; he was a lawyer to the Executive Council of Corsica and assessor for the Royal Jurisdiction of Ajaccio, and was ennobled by the king of France in 1771. He supported Corsica becoming an integral part of the French State, and in 1778 travelled to Versailles with the Corsican deputation as a representative of the Corsican nobility.
To underline his social position, he enlarged and refurbished the family home, adding a terrace and refurbishing the interior. We know, for example, that he had the walls of his bedroom covered with crimson damask, as well as installing a marble fireplace. A large table that could seat twenty was the centrepiece of the dining room.

When Carlo died prematurely in 1785, Joseph, his eldest child, was only seventeen, and so it was his uncle, the archdeacon Luciano, who became the head of the family. He, too, added to the house, purchasing a large neighbouring building that included a kitchen, two bedrooms, a food store and two lofts. He took over the agricultural property of the Milelli family, located about 3 kilometres from Ajaccio and covering several hectares, part of which was used for market gardening. But the family fell into financial difficulties, and Letizia had to economise to pay school fees for Joseph and Lucien, while ensuring the education of the youngest children continued (Jérôme was born in 1784). On the death of their uncle the archdeacon, a welcome inheritance enabled them to purchase new properties in Ajaccio and the surrounding area.