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Napoleon Bonaparte

2 of 84 portraits of Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte, by Benjamin Robert Haydon, (1830) - NPG 6266 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Napoleon Bonaparte

by Benjamin Robert Haydon
oil on canvas, (1830)
30 in. x 25 in. (762 mm x 631 mm)
Transferred from National Gallery, 1994
Primary Collection
NPG 6266


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Sitterback to top

  • Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), Emperor of France 1804-14. Sitter associated with 84 portraits.

Artistback to top

  • Benjamin Robert Haydon (1786-1846), History painter and diarist. Artist associated with 34 portraits, Sitter in 10 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Napoleon, the Emperor of France from 1804-1815, was one of the most notorious of Britain's political enemies. Haydon greatly admired the French leader and he painted dozens of pictures of him, bought his death-mask and even tried on his hat which, according to him, fitted exactly. His first Napoleon picture was painted for Thomas Kearsey in 1829 and was exhibited at the Western Exchange in 1830 as Napoleon Musing After Sunset. Haydon would eventually paint twenty-three versions and replicas of this popular work. A whole-length version entitled Napoleon Musing at St Helena was commissioned by Sir Robert Peel. In 1831, a year of great civil unrest in Britain, William Wordsworth wrote to Haydon of this work, 'If I can command my thoughts I will write something about your Picture, in prose for the Muse has forsaken me - being scared away by the villainous aspect of the Times'.

Related worksback to top

  • NPG 6265: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington (companion portrait)

Linked publicationsback to top