The historian Frédéric Masson, in Napoléon et les femmes (Napoleon and his Women, 1894) credited Napoleon Bonaparte with fifty-eight sexual conquests. His generals were well-known to follow his lead as the fancy and opportunity arose. Commentators and satirists of the time were not slow to draw public attention to the propensity of their military leaders to add activities in the boudoir to those in the field, and this set of eight engravings, published anonymously though attributed to Nanteuil, are the best of the genre.
In addition to the great Napoleon himself, Les amours des généraux napoléoniens (The Loves of the Napoleonic Generals) features Generals Foy, Kleber, Lannes, Macdonald, Marmont and Murat, each in settings appropriate to their regions of command. The plates were published uncoloured; this set has been coloured by a professional hand contemporary with their publication.
Justifying his reputation for playing the field, Napoleon explained that was not a great believer in love. As he wrote in relation to his first wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais, ‘She is always afraid that I will fall in love. Doesn’t she know that love is not made for me? What is love but a passion that sees only the one object and ignores the rest of the universe.’