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.

British Museum Exhibition

Bonaparte and the British – prints and propaganda in the age of Napoleon

5 February – 16 August 2015

‘A richly illuminating exhibition…fascinating’ – Harry Eyres, Financial Times

‘Plenty to admire…linger, return and to savour this virtuoso vulgarity at leisure invest in Tim Clayton and Sheila O’Connell’s enlightening – and entertaining – catalogue.’ ★★★★★  – Boyd Tonkin, Independent



This exhibition focuses on the printed propaganda that either reviled or glorified Napoleon Bonaparte, on both sides of the English Channel. It explores how his formidable career coincided with the peak of political satire as an art form.

The catalogue for the exhibition is published by The British Museum Press: Bonaparte and the British: prints and propaganda in the age of Napoleon, by Tim Clayton and Sheila O’Connell. With stunning illustrations showing the intricately detailed prints in full colour this book brings to life a key period in European history.


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 already attended conferences on aspects of print history in Venice, Paris, Versailles and Farmington, Connecticut, as well as a number of talks for museums and local societies in England. Next year for The Cultural Experience I shall be leading a tour of the Napoleonic War in southern Spain, focusing on Cadiz and the Battle of Trafalgar, in May 2017, and with Ashley Truluck, leading a tour of the battlefields of Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo in June 2017.

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.