Wednesday, 21 April 2010

N is for Napoleon for Alphabe-Thursday

I have just finished reading "The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B", the first book in a trilogy, by author Sandra Gulland. So surprisingly, my N post for Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday meme this week is not about Normandy but Napoleon (Bonaparte).
My friend Sarah @ Hyacinths For the Soul has written several wonderful blogs about these books, read her Alphabe-Thursday J post here.
Of course I couldn't wait to read the books myself and promptly ordered them from Amazon.
We meet Napoleon towards the end of the book, in a paragraph entitled "In which I am introduced to a strange little man". Josephine was not impressed by the Corsican soldier, it was certainly not love at first sight.
She describes him thus: "a curious looking man with short legs and a big head. The man was remarkable. His long, limp hair hung down around his ears in a sorry attempt at fashion. His skin was sallow and his figure so thin his threadbare breeches seemed to hang. His eyes were large, grey in colour, striking. His teeth were good (Josephine's were not!) But there was an intensity in his expression that forbade levity".
I don't think it will spoil the story for you if I said that shortly after they met they were wed?
During the time that Mr B and I were refurbishing this big old house one of our favourite haunts was the Hotel de Vente in Bayeux where we purchased many vintage/antique items. One of my favourites was this print of an etching of Napoleon as Emperor.

I remember that MaƮtre (the auctioneer) was very surprised and not too happy that his predominantly French audience was allowing an English man to acquire a portrait of Napoleon. Perhaps the Duke of Wellington and the memory of the Battle of Waterloo still lingered on? Click on the link to find out why it might be hard to forget.

I digress........... the portrait enjoys pride of place on the wall at the turn of the staircase and your eye is drawn to it every time you enter the house through the front doors.
Another very early purchase, after moving to France, this time from a depot vente in Cherbourg was this pair of plates finely painted with the portraits of Josephine & the Emperor Napoleon. (Double left click on all the photos to enlarge).

I know now that they were produced at the Pouplard Beatrix faiencerie in Malicorne-sur-Sarthe sometime between 1895 -1900, sadly I sold them before I discovered that fact!!
C'est la vie!
There is still time to enter my 2nd Blog Anniversary Giveaway, click here and leave a comment.
The lucky winner's name will be picked at random tomorrow, Saturday 24th April.
"Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever. - Napoleon Bonaparte.
I hope you've enjoyed my N post today, now scoot over to Mrs Matlock's classroom to see who else's name is on the register.


  1. wonderful photographs. congratulation.

  2. Very interesting N, indeed!
    I've read the first of the three books and quite enjoyed it. I like the 'voice' that Josephine has in the book - really comes alive.

  3. That's funny about the auctioneer! It seems that all through history there has been a wee bit of rivalry between France and England.
    Too bad you sold the plates!

  4. I enjoyed you "N" post about Napoleon and Josephine. I'm sure that the books are filled with history and a wonderful story.

  5. I am so glad that you posted this! I was going to add my picture of Napoleon's tomb to my post but the picture wasn't very clear.

    This was very interesting!

    Best wishes,

  6. When we studied him in elementary school, I would have loved it if the books described him as "a curious looking man with short legs and a big head"! I got quite a chuckle out of that!

  7. Maggie,
    Very interesting - I will have to order those books. Your home looks just lovely. Those plates!


  8. I have read about him, but didn't know all these facts. Thanks.

  9. Maggie, I have one chapter left in the second book in the Trilogy. I am enjoying the books so much, love that they are written in the style of a diary. Of course I was delighted to see your post.

    You have a nice Napoleon/Josephine collection.

    Have a good day!

  10. Very interesting. Love all your stuff too.

  11. Good Morning Maggie,

    There is something about Napoleon that intrigues me. Thanks for sharing some history with us.

    Have a great week!

  12. Maggie, you know I'm so loving this post! I myself almost chose Napoleon as my N assignment. I can't believe you didn't keep the pair of plates for yourself. You have to tell me who owns them now. I have a pair of BPX N&J plates, but they don't have the names, just the dates. Fun pieces! I used them along with my Napoleon pieces of faience for a table setting at Susan's for the Dallas meeting. I want to recreate a table again and take some good photos. Just wasn't time for that in October. Imagine that?

  13. great lesson and great dishes :D

  14. A place to earn this time thank you

  15. What a very interesting N. I truly enjoyed all the tidbits you added. Those plates were just amazing sweetie.

    God bless and have a terrific Thrusday!!!

  16. The books sound like something I would enjoy. I do like historical fiction a lot! Oh, how unfortunate you sold the plates.

  17. Of course at school we learned about Napoleon Bonaparte the little general and his wife Josephine. But that is a very long time ago and there is not much left in my mind about him. I have to start reading about him again, his life was so interesting.

  18. ah yes, that little rivalry the English and French have ... it still exists in Canada ... but i love both cultures! I will try and pick up that book!

  19. Great, something else I have to add to my already too long "have to read" list.

  20. Although their relationship had an inauspicious beginning, love certainly developed. But ended sadly. Thanks for this reminder about one of history's interesting characters.

  21. Great post! I love history, and especially personal stuff like that, a description from her point of view. I lament the loss of the plates with you...

  22. I must wonder when I read your post if Napoleon might have suffered from nanism?

    I continue to use strange words from my obscure words dictionary and you continue to wow me each and every week with your wonderful Alphabe-Thursday posts!

    What a nifty letter "N"!


  23. I never knew he had a big head and short legs. :)

    Too bad about the lovely plates. I've had sellers remorse many times which is probably why I'm a border line hoarder.

  24. I always learn something new when I visit your Alphabe-Thursday post. Very interesting post.

  25. Cool post. I saw an exhibit about Napoleon in New Orleans last year and it was very interesting.

  26. i enjoy learning more about Napoleon so these books are on my "to read" list thanks so much for this information.

  27. Loved your post today, Maggie! Those plates are lovely.
    Power certainly feeds into relationships, doesn't it?

    I'm in the middle of watching The Tudors via Netflix so I am deep into Henry VIII right now!


Thanks for stopping by, your visit just made my day!