Detail from a Michel Martin Drolling portrait of Napoleon on offer from Simon Shore’s new firm 1793 (see ATG No 2327).

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It perhaps can be explained by the plethora of interesting characters, not just Napoleon, Wellington and Nelson but also Marshals Ney and Murat, Empress Joséphine, the scheming politician Talleyrand and many, many others.

If you visit Churchill’s home, Chartwell, you will see on his desk two busts – one of Nelson and one of Napoleon – demonstrating that admiration for the players in the Napoleonic drama went to the top of British society.

I feel, however, that it was the fact that none of the men or women involved in this period were out-and-out evil – foolish, yes, arrogant, certainly, but not evil.

I also believe the British people have always felt a disquiet at the way Napoleon himself was treated and never really came to terms with his detention and early death on St Helena.

Graham Bowers

Newport, Isle of Wight