Tim Clayton

Tim Clayton was educated at Norwich School and Saint Catharine’s College, Cambridge, where he read English. After some years working for the print collector Christopher Lennox-Boyd, during which time he compiled George Stubbs: the Complete Engraved Works (1989), he won a research fellowship at Worcester College, Oxford, where he wrote The English Print 1688-1802 (1997) and catalogued the print collection of George Clarke (1661-1736).

He is the award-winning and bestselling author of a number of books on naval and military history, including the winner of the 2008 Mounbatten Literary Award, Tars, and the critically acclaimed Trafalgar: the Men, the Battle, the Storm, described as ‘a landmark book’ by the Observer.

Tim is a specialist in eighteenth and early nineteenth-century history and culture, being a leading authority on the printed images of that period.

He was an associate editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and has contributed to the Cambridge History of the Book and the Chicago History of the Map.

He is an Honorary Research Fellow of the British Museum, an Associate Fellow of the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He is an experienced lecturer and has contributed to a variety of radio and television programmes.

His latest book Waterloo: Four Days that changed Europe’s Destiny has been widely acclaimed as the best book on the campaign. He was co-curator of the exhibition Bonaparte and the British which was on show at the British Museum in 2015 to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and author, with Sheila O’Connell, of the accompanying catalogue.

Killing Napoleon

Killing Napoleon: propaganda and assassination




Killing Napoleon tells the story of how a war came to be fought not against a nation or a system but against one man. In seeking to restore Bourbon rule in France the British attempted to assassinate Napoleon and succeeded in assassinating his reputation. British publicists eventually convinced the world that the diminutive Corsican Usurper was a bloodthirsty tyrant. At twelve Napoleon nailed his pet dog to the door; at fifteen he got the washerwoman’s daughter pregnant, poisoned the girl, then courted her sister. His favourite amusement was to frequent hospitals in order to enjoy the agony of sufferers. His mother was a whore, his sisters were whores, his wife was a whore but he couldn’t get her pregnant because he was actually a homosexual.

Academic Work

I am an Associate Fellow of the University of Warwick, an Honorary Research Fellow of the British Museum and an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of East Anglia.

I’m currently developing two major projects: one is a contextual biography of James Gillray and the other is on a book about the British government’s campaigns in the first years of the nineteenth century to assassinate Napoleon Bonaparte while fixing in the public mind an image of him as a warmongering, murderous tyrant.

Wider current research interests include the print trade in the period 1778 to 1830, the production of political satire and propaganda and the military history of the Napoleonic wars.

Find out more about my recent research publications.

Tour Guide

This year I have guided tours for The Cultural Experience on the Napoleonic War in southern Spain, focusing on Cadiz and the Battle of Trafalgar, in May, and with Ashley Truluck, of the battlefields of Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo in June. The Waterloo Tour, ‘A Close Run Thing’, will be repeated in 2018.

I frequently lecture on visual print culture and military history in the long eighteenth century and am available to speak at conferences, literary festivals and other events.

See me at forthcoming events in your area, or enquire about booking me.


I am a frequent contributor to radio and television programmes, and also act as a historical consultant to broadcasters.

Please see my list of recent broadcast work.



Tim’s work encompasses best selling military histories, art history, academic research and TV and radio features and appearances.

In History
British Museum
Bonaparte and the British
In Art History / History
In History
Sea Wolves
In History
In History
Finest Hour
In History
End of the Beginning
In History
The English Print
In Art History
Diana – Story of a Princess
In Popular Culture
George Stubbs: the Complete Engraved Works
In Art History


Reviews of Waterloo…

Saul David, Evening Standard

The best of the many books commemorating next year's 200th anniversary of Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo

Allan Mallinson, Spectator

Nuanced, broad, searching and elegant . . . the overall integrity of his scholarship is undeniable. The book may well become the most authoritative account of the four-day campaign.

Simon Heffer, New Statesman

Tim Clayton's book is the best overview of the meeting of the three armies.

Max Hastings, Sunday Times

Stirring . . . a fabulous story, superbly told.

I encourage you to buy my books from my favourite bookshop, the Book Hive, in Norwich.