Biographies & Memoirs

Illustration Insert

Empress Josephine in Her Coronation Robes, by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard, 1807–08 (illustration credit i1.1)

Josephine’s home, La Pagerie, as it is now (illustration credit i1.2)

Alexandre de Beauharnais (illustration credit i1.3)

Eugène de Beauharnais, Josephine’s only son. Napoleon made him viceroy of Italy. (illustration credit i1.4)

Hortense as a child (illustration credit i1.5)

Josephine visits her husband, Alexandre, at the prison in Luxembourg in 1794. Jean-Louis Victor Viger du Vigneau, 1867. (illustration credit i1.6)

A letter from Napoleon to Josephine (illustration credit i1.7)

Madame Thérésa Tallien. The glamorous heroine of the end of the Terror had three husbands, and ten children by various lovers. (illustration credit i1.8)

Paul Barras—handsome, rich, debauched, and ruthless. By Louis Blanc. (illustration credit i1.9)

Ci-devant Occupations! or Madame Tallien and the Empress Josephine Dancing Naked Before Barras in the Winter of 1797, by James Gillray, 1805. Both ladies, the cartoon declares, were Barras’s “humble dependents.” (illustration credit i1.10)

The first known portrait of Napoleon, by Andrea Appiani, 1797. He is twenty-eight. (illustration credit i1.11)

The Three Graces, by Antonio Canova, 1814 (illustration credit i1.12)

General Bonaparte at the Bridge of Arcole, by Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, c. 1801 (illustration credit i1.13)

Empress Josephine, by Robert Lefèvre, 1806 (illustration credit i1.14)

The house at Malmaison (illustration credit i1.15)

View of the Wooden Bridge by Auguste Garneray. The garden at Malmaison. (illustration credit i1.16)

View of the Salon de Musique, Malmaison, by Auguste Garneray, 1812. Josephine’s picture gallery was her pride and joy. (illustration credit i1.17)

Josephine’s dining room at Malmaison. She decorated the house in a mixture of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman styles. (illustration credit i1.18)

Josephine’s formal bedroom at Malmaison. She lies between golden swans, an eagle watches over her bed, and the ceiling is painted as the sky. (illustration credit i1.19)

Josephine, by Baron Antoine-Jean Gros, 1809. A bust of Eugène is on the left, Malmaison lies in the background, and the hydrangea flowers (hortensia) symbolize her daughter. Letters lie at her feet. (illustration credit i1.20)

Josephine kneels to be crowned by Napoleon (detail), by Jacques-Louis David, 1807. David showed Napoleon crowning Josephine—a neat solution, as a painting of Napoleon crowning himself would have been ridiculed.

The Consecration of Emperor Napoleon I and the Crowning of Empress Josephine in the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris on 2 December 1804, by Jacques-Louis David, 1807 (illustration credit i1.21)

Napoleon’s sisters at the Coronation (detail), by Jacques-Louis David, 1807

Napoleon’s mother at the Coronation (detail), by Jacques-Louis David, 1807 (illustration credit i1.22)

One of Josephine’s court gowns, 1805. The dress is elaborately embroidered with thread made of real silver. (illustration credit i1.23)

Josephine’s tiara (illustration credit i1.24)

Queen Hortense by Fleury-François Richard, 1815. Artistic, sensitive and beautiful, Hortense was doomed to misery when her mother compelled her to marry Louis Bonaparte. (illustration credit i1.25)

Queen Hortense with Her Son, Napoleon Charles, by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard, 1806. The little boy died a year later from croup. He was just four years old, and his death plunged Hortense into deep despair. (illustration credit i1.26)

Imperial Botany, or: A Peep at Josephine’s Collection of English Exoticks, Captain Williams (attributed to George Cruikshank), 1814. Wellington (on right) and Prince Regent (as Royal Sun-Flower) grew strong, while Napoleon (Crown Imperial) is a droopy weed. (illustration credit i1.27)

The divorce settlement of Napoleon and Josephine (illustration credit i1.28)

Empress Marie-Louise with the King of Rome by François Pascal Simon, Baron Gérard, 1813. Napoleon’s longed-for son was fat and healthy—and the Emperor thought him destined to rule the world. (illustration credit i1.29)

The house at Navarre where Josephine lived when Napoleon married Marie-Louise (illustration credit i1.30)

Napoleon I on the Imperial Throne, by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1806. The emperor is styled as a god. (illustration credit i1.31)

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