French revolution

From blissful dawn to bleak despair: the end of the revolutionary dream

4 November 2017 9:00 am

Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey were undergraduates when they met in June 1794, Coleridge at Cambridge university and Southey…

BBC1’s Three Girls is a harrowing, believable & brave account of the child-grooming scandal

20 May 2017 9:00 am

I’ve often thought that a good idea for an authentic TV cop show would be to portray the police as…

Annemarie Kremer as Maddelena. Photo Credit: Robert Workman

Miserable libretto, music to match: Andrea Chénier reviewed

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Opera North continues to be the most reliable, inspiring, resourceful and enterprising opera company in the United Kingdom, and all…

Monumental change: the overthrow of the statue of Napoleon I, which was on top of the Vendôme Column. The painter Gustave Courbet is ninth from the right

A short history of statue-toppling

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Sculptural topplings provide an index of changing times, says Martin Gayford

‘La Mort de Louis XIII’, 1731, by Jean-François de Troy

The strange death of Louis XIV

21 November 2015 9:00 am

At the beginning of the summer of 1715 Louis XIV complained of a pain in the leg. In mid-August gangrene…

BBC2’s Napoleon reviewed: does Andrew Roberts’s pet Frog need rehabilitating?

13 June 2015 9:00 am

I adore Andrew Roberts. We go back a long way. Once, on a boating expedition gone wrong in the south…

Andrea Chénier, Royal Opera House, review: like a Carry On - but without the jokes

24 January 2015 9:00 am

Who on earth could have predicted that a hoary old operatic melodrama set in revolutionary France would find resonance in…

‘There was great danger of being kidnapped by licensed thugs and turned into a not-so-jolly Jack Tar’ George Morland’s ‘The Press Gang’ (1790s)

Terror plots, threats to liberties, banks in crisis: welcome to Britain during the Napoleonic Wars

1 November 2014 9:00 am

At the end of the 18th century, Britain shuddered in Boney’s shadow, living in constant expectation of invasion and occupation, says Nigel Jones

‘Jeanne arranged for a Marie Antoniette lookalike to linger coyly in the undergrowth in the park at Versailles’

The queen, the cardinal and the greatest con France ever saw

14 June 2014 8:00 am

You usually know where you are with a book that promises the story ‘would violate the laws of plausibility’ if…

The men who invented Napoleon

14 December 2013 9:00 am

Writing about Napoleon is a risky business. It exposes the author to the brickbats of the blind worshippers for whom…

Patriot or traitor?

10 March 2012 11:00 am

The mighty convulsion that was the French Revolution has stirred the blood of historians from Thomas Carlyle to Simon Schama…

A nation of meddlers

11 June 2011 12:00 am

David Pryce-Jones protests too much about a motley collection of British idealists who became infatuated by foreign causes, says Sam Leith