The porcelain plaque portrait of Josephine, sold at Canterbury Auction Galleries on April 10.

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The piece states that her face may not, to modern eyes, look likely to captivate an emperor and of course it did not. Her face beguiled a young, penniless general.

To the young Napoleon Bonaparte, she was everything a man could dream of: sophisticated, witty and mysterious.

To her, he was young, gauche, untidy and tongue-tied, but perhaps her last chance for a safe haven in a dangerous world.

Look at her face: those eyes had seen things no one should see, while in prison she had done things no-one should have to do in order to save her children and herself.

Classical beauty she may not have been. However, she was courageous, resourceful and in the end, faithful to both France and the love of her life when so many others were not.

Graham Bowers

Isle of Wight