Napoleon

Grand Duke Francesco I de Medici may have been poisoned with arsenic by his brother Ferdinando. Portrait by Agnolo Bronzino

The age of chivalry was an age of devilry

5 January 2019 9:00 am

Agatha Christie’s spirit must be loving this poisonous new historical entertainment. Eleanor Herman has already enjoyed the success of Sex…

Books of the year – part one

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Andrew Motion Short stories seem to fare better in the US than the UK, and among this year’s rich crop,…

Giving the famous V-sign at the opening of RAAF headquarters, Croydon, 1948 [Getty]

Andrew Roberts’s generous new biography of the man who saved us in our darkest hour, Churchill reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

Churchill must be the most written-about figure in public life since Napoleon Bonaparte (a subject, incidentally, to which Andrew Roberts…

'The Charge of the 10th Hussars at Benevente (Corunna Campaign), 1809', c1915 (1928)

On the run from Corunna: Now We Shall be Entirely Free, by Andrew Miller, reviewed

1 September 2018 9:00 am

There is only one Andrew Miller. In the 20 years since his debut novel Ingenious Pain won both the James…

‘The Battle of the Pyramids’, 1798–9, by François-Louis-Joseph Watteau

The best and most extensive exhibition on Napoleon in three decades

16 June 2018 9:00 am

The Musée de l’Armée at Les Invalides in Paris has a new exhibition that I believe to be the best…

The city’s beauty has often been described as ‘melancholic’, ‘sinister’ or ‘dreamlike’

‘The finest architectural delusion in the world’

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Approximately 500 new books on Venice are published every year and this is not the first literary anthology devoted to…

The ruthless Romanovs’ horrible history

30 January 2016 9:00 am

‘It was hard to be a tsar,’ Simon Sebag Montefiore writes in his opening sentence, and what follows fully bears…

The Emperor Maximilian I by Bernhard Strigel

The Holy Roman Empire has been much maligned

23 January 2016 9:00 am

Last month in the Financial Times, Tony Barber closed a gloomy summary of the European Union’s future with this comparison:…

Monumental change: the overthrow of the statue of Napoleon I, which was on top of the Vendôme Column. The painter Gustave Courbet is ninth from the right

A short history of statue-toppling

9 January 2016 9:00 am

One of the stranger disputes of the past few weeks has concerned a Victorian figure that has occupied a niche…

The edible woman: Lily James as Natasha Rostova in ‘War and Peace’

War & Peace is actually just an upmarket Downton Abbey

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Gosh what a breath of fresh air was Andrew Davies’s War & Peace adaptation (BBC1, Sundays) after all the stale…

Puccini’s villain as swashbuckling hero

29 October 2015 9:00 am

You don’t need to know the opera Tosca to understand and enjoy this book about Puccini’s most notorious villain, Vitellio…

France’s favourite bedtime story: a sanitised version of the French Revolution

18 July 2015 9:00 am

The great conundrum of French history is the French Revolution, or rather, the sequence of revolutions, coups and insurrections during…

The new Imperial Royal Austrian Light Infantry c.1820

The honour of the Habsburgs was all that mattered to the imperial Austrian army

20 June 2015 9:00 am

John Keegan, perhaps the greatest British military historian of recent years, felt that the most important book (because of its…

How the French won Waterloo (or think they did)

13 June 2015 9:00 am

Three weeks ago, a journalist from Le Figaro asked France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs who would be attending the 200th…

BBC2’s Napoleon reviewed: does Andrew Roberts’s pet Frog need rehabilitating?

13 June 2015 9:00 am

I adore Andrew Roberts. We go back a long way. Once, on a boating expedition gone wrong in the south…

‘Combs, Hair Highway’, 2014, by Studio Swine

Luxury isn’t the opposite of poverty but the opposite of vulgarity - but don’t tell the V&A

25 April 2015 9:00 am

Different concepts of luxury may be inferred from a comparison of the wedding feast of Charles Bovary and Emma Rouault…

‘Chelsea pensioners reading the Waterloo Dispatch’ by Sir David Wilkie

From prince to pauper: a dramatic overview of Britain on 18 June 1815

7 February 2015 9:00 am

Of all the big battalions of books marking the bicentenary of the battle of Waterloo that have come my way,…

Radio 4’s War and Peace: almost as good as the book

24 January 2015 9:00 am

To have listened to Radio 4’s marathon ten-hour adaptation of Tolstoy’s War and Peace as it was being broadcast on…

Spectator letters: Richard Ingrams defends Joan Littlewood, and the truth about Napoleon’s poisonous wallpaper

15 November 2014 9:00 am

The state of Italy… Sir: Ambassador Terracciano’s letter (Letters, 1 November) about Nicholas Farrell’s article (‘The dying man of Europe’,…

Andrew Roberts’s diary: Just who’s the despot here – Napoleon or Paxman?

1 November 2014 9:00 am

To the British embassy in Paris for a colloquium on ‘Napoleon and Wellington in War and Peace’ organised by our…

The charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo by the British-American artist Richard Caton Woodville. From A History of War in 100 Battles by Richard Overy (William Collins, £25)

Four ways to win Waterloo

25 October 2014 9:00 am

The Kaiser’s war deprived Britain of her centenary celebrations of the victory at Waterloo. It also set the propagandists something…

Knockout lemon sorbet: Gelateria Bonaparte

Napoleon's birthplace feels more Italian than French

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Napoleon’s birthplace, Casa Buona-parte, in Ajaccio, Corsica’s capital, is pretty grand. It has high ceilings, generous, silk-lined rooms and a…

Don’t worry Brooks Newmark: paisley was sexy once...

4 October 2014 9:00 am

Paisley power Paisley pyjamas were in the news. While associated with the town in Renfrewshire, whose mills produced the patterns from 1805,…

How Napoleon won at Waterloo

5 July 2014 9:00 am

In a one-horse town called Hestrud, on the Franco-Belgian border, there’s a monument which encapsulates Europe’s enduring fascination with Napoleon.…

‘The Final Advance of the Guard’ by Nicolas Toussaint Charlet

An old soldier sees through the smoke of Waterloo

21 June 2014 8:00 am

There is a very nice story of a dinner for Waterloo veterans at which Alexandre Dumas — ‘Dum-ass,’ as the…