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Archive for the ‘Napoléon & Joséphine’ Category

Laetitia Ramolino Bonaparte

15th of August 1769: birth of Napoleone di Buonaparte

On that day, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, was born Napoleon Bonaparte, or rather Napoleone di Buonaparte, according to his baptismal certificate, at Ajaccio, in Corsica. The island had become a French territory only a year earlier. The baby was the fourth child and third son of Attorney Carlo Maria di Buonaparte, […]

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Pauline Bonaparte Flora Fraser

A biography of Pauline Bonaparte, by Flora Fraser

Flora Fraser is the daughter of Lady Antonia Fraser, author of the best-selling biography of Marie-Antoinette and the stepdaughter of the late Harold Pinter. So writing runs in that family. I came across this New York Times review of the book. Actually it is more a summary than a true review since the author of […]

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Bonaparte Egypt

Bonaparte and Egypt

I recently saw Bonaparte et l’Egypte: Feu et Lumières (“Bonaparte and Egypt: Fire and Enlightenment”) at the Institut du Monde Arabe. Ambitious title, and my expectations for this exhibition were high, but the show fell flat. So what was missing? For one thing the rooms were small, stifling the epic feeling the subject begged for. For […]

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Hydrangea Redoute

Hydrangeas, Queen Hortense, the Hortensia Diamond

My thanks go to Felio, a reader of this blog, who is a florist by trade and gave me the idea of flower-themed posts. The first that came to mind were hydrangeas, because my paternal grandmother, gardener extraordinaire, used to grow them in the mountains of Auvergne. Needless to say, they are not hardy enough […]

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Calliope Collection of Josephine

Joséphine’s antiques

I had missed the exhibition titled De Pompéi à Malmaison, les antiques de Joséphine, at Malmaison and only discovered its existence today thanks to a poster in the metro! Joséphine Bonaparte purchased the Château of Malmaison, a few miles west of Paris, in 1799, only months before her husband seized power and became First Consul. […]

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Napoleon Bonaparte Boilly

Was Bonaparte short? And other related issues…

My prior post on Bonaparte’s physical appeareance in 1800 sparked very interesting comments, some of which call for their own post. One of the commenters was Carlyn Beccia, author of The Raucous Royals and the very entertaining blog of the same name. As for the specific issue of Bonaparte’s height compared to his contemporaries, Carlyn […]

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Napoleon Bonaparte by Boilly

Bonaparte’s physical appearance in 1800

We are all familiar with images of a mature Napoléon after he crowned himself Emperor of the French in 1804: a portly, full-faced man. But in 1800 Bonaparte, who was only 31, looked very different. Here is a description of Bonaparte by his valet, Constant: “Upon his return from Egypt, [Bonaparte] was very thin and […]

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Empire style Josephine chair

Another exhibition in Paris: Napoléon, Symbols of Power

This should be another interesting exhibition (Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, until October 5, 2008.) See the slide show for a preview. I have already mentioned Bonaparte’s deft handling of his own public image. He was also a micro-manager. No subject, however trivial, escaped his attention. He set out to reform not only the legal […]

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General Thomas Alexandre Dumas

General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, father of Alexandre Dumas

I began writing a post about the novelist Alexandre Dumas, one of France’s most beloved and popular writers, when I realized that it was impossible to do so without first mentioning his father, General Dumas. Thomas Alexandre, no last name (slaves had none) was born in 1762 in Saint-Domingue, modern-day Haiti, the son of the […]

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David Bonaparte crossing the Alps

My second novel: For The King

I am often asked whether it is a sequel to Mistress of the Revolution. The answer is no. The characters of my first novel had such a grip of my mind that I needed to establish some distance, at least for a while. But my readers will recognize the same setting, the familiar streets of […]

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