- Museum number
- Object: Transparency. Exhibited at R. Ackermanns in the Strand on the 27 Novr 1815 the day on which the general peace was celebrated in London
An allegorical design. The throne of Louis XVIII, supported on a monument and a military trophy, is flanked by two flights of stairs: Blücher (left) drives Napoleon down one flight, while Wellington leads Louis XVIII up the other. The seat of the canopied throne rests on four fasces with lictors' axes connected by swags of laurel. At the back of the throne the centre ornament is the fleur-de-lis encircled by a serpent with its tail in its mouth (emblem of eternity). This rests on a stone base; the inscription 'Peace throughout Europe' is above a tablet inscribed 'Charlemaigne Nassau / Capet. Bourbon' flanked by laurel-wreaths respectively enclosing the words 'Humanity' and 'Justice'. This stone base is arched like a culvert and rests on a larger base on which is a large trophy which dominates the design. This is centred by two tablets one (above) inscribed 'Wellington', the other 'Blucher', and surmounted by the Prince of Wales's coronet and feathers. This centre-piece is flanked by the flags of the Allies, cannon, bayonets, and spears.
On the top step flanking the throne, Blücher fires a blunderbuss point-blank at the back of Napoleon who flees and falls, while two elderly French civilians have fallen head foremost to the base of the stairs. Above Blücher's head an air-borne Fame blows her trumpet towards the throne. On the opposite side Wellington, pointing with his hat to the throne, leads the stout Louis XVIII up the stairs. The King is followed by four of his family (or adherents), one of whom supports him from below; another holds the crown on a cushion. As a pendant to Fame, Justice reclines upon clouds above Wellington and Louis, holding her sword and scales. At the base of the design immediately below the stairs are two groups (three-quarter length) of Allied soldiers. Those on the left look up at the falling man; one, in Highland uniform, holds up his bayonet to spike one of the Frenchmen in the mouth. Another blows a trumpet. On the right are three mounted men: a Cossack on his pony, with his back to the staircase, a hussar blowing a trumpet, and a British Life Guard with a drawn sabre.
27 November 1815.
- Production date
Height: 281 millimetres
Width: 370 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
The Second Peace of Paris was signed on 20 Nov., the fact, but not the terms, being published in the 'London Gazette' on 23 Nov. See Satow, 'Peacemaking, old and new', 'Camb. Hist. Journal', i (1923), pp. 31 ff. The disgruntled 'Examiner' announced, 3 Dec.: 'The Illuminations were not general .... Private houses were as gloomy as if their inhabitants had no share in those blessings which were so splendidly commemorated by the offices of the Public Ministers.' The still more hostile Cobbett: 'How "dull", how "mournful" the scene. . . . No illuminations except 'Ex-Officio' in London. It is peace in such dismal circumstances as to shut up the hearts of the people against any feeling of joy.' 'Pol. Reg.', 2 Dec. For the restoration of Louis XVIII see No. 12609, &c.
Grego, 'Rowlandson', ii. 294 f. Listed by Broadley.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2015 Feb-Aug, BM, Rm 90, Bonaparte and the British
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number