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Prints of French History and Napoleon Bonaparte

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Napoleon 1

Prints of
French History and Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon 2


The Fencing Lesson
Johann Gottfried Schadow. "Die Fechtstunde." [The Fencing Lesson]. Aquatint by Ludwig Buchhorn. 7 3/4 x 14 3/4 (image) plus full margins. Berlin, circa. 1814. Trimmed within platemarks, but generous borders and excellent condition.

Dating this print is difficult because it could apply to a broad time during the Napoleonic wars. The period just prior to Bonaparte's first abdication is selected from internal evidence. By 1814 the strong Prussian incursions into France were the principle threat, so a petite and dancing Napoleon is shows fencing with a strong and heavy Prussian officer. Each are backed by national types: Napoleon by an infantryman, one of his marshals, and a satire of an effete Tallyrand; the Prussian could be Blucher backed by a Dutchman, an Alsatian, and a Russian on horseback. Judging between the two combatants stands an English sailor, commander of the seas and self-assured victor in the wars. Comments by each is delicately engraved in the top margin. We assume that the print was made in Berlin since Schadow (1764-1850) and Buchhorn (1777-1856) worked in that city. $400

Lecture on Heads
Attributed to William Heath. "A Lecture on Heads, as Delivered by Marshalls Wellington & Blucher." London: S. Knight, Sweetings Alley, Cornhill, 21 June 1815. 7 x 11 3/8 (image) plus margins. Engraving (hand colored). George, 12557. Fine impression; bright colors. Due to style and publication address, Dorothy George attributes the caricature to Heath.

The allies' victory at Waterloo was on 18 June 1815, and news reached London on 20 June. Reading the bloody picture from right to left the viewer sees Napoleon Bonaparte running up a hill with the devil flying above him. French troops are running and being slaughtered in the field as Wellington brandishes a French eagle and runs through a French soldier with his sword. Behind him the Prussian Field Marshall Blucher, with a severed head on his sword, rushes past the Czar of Russia who stands frozen in fear saying, "Stop, I am coming." This hasty caricature expresses the exhilaration that must have swept through England at news of the great victory. $600

A Pleasent Draught
"A Pleasent Draught for Louis / or the way to get rid of a Troublesome fellow." Uncredited. London: ca. summer 1815. 11 1/4 x 8 1/4 (image) plus margin and text at bottom. Wove paper. Engraved number "363" in upper right. George, 12268.

Louis XVIII, was the elder of the two surviving brothers of Louis XVI, and after the first exile of Napoleon by the allies, he was appointed king of France, reigning as a constitutional monarch until 1824. Here he is seen, fat and suffering from gout, wearing the star of St. Louis, and holding a wine glass containing the reduced figure of Napoleon Bonaparte. A fine print expressing smug satisfaction at the political situation in Europe in the style of the golden age of British caricature. $750

"A Eux La Honte, A Lui La Gloire." Paris: Dopter, undated, but ca. 1821. Aquatint by Roenuld. 7 3/4 x 11 1/2. Some light discoloration in margins. Very good condition.

A fascinating 'apotheosis' print of Napoleon issued shortly after his death on May 5, 1821. Napoleon is shown being lead up to heaven by a trumpet blowing goddess, while his troops and officers praise him with laurel branches. To the left is shown some mourners on St. Helena. Below is a elegy to the great man. $275

Young Napoleon
"Young Napoleon. Contemplating his father's sword." New York: N. Currier, 1838-56. Lithograph. Original hand color. 11 1/8 x 8 7/8. Top margin worn and expertly replaced; bottom margin trimmed into Currier imprint. Else, very good. C:6863.

Nathaniel Currier's take on a young Napoleon. $150

A. Lillé. "Napoleon." Hanover: J.G. Schaub, ca. 1840s. Vignette, ca. 14 x 13. Lithograph. Original hand color. Very good condition.

A handsome German lithographic portrait of Napoleon, probably around the middle of the nineteenth century. $325

"Réception Des Cendres De L'Empereur Napoléon." Paris, undated but ca. 1840. Lithograph. 8 1/8 x 12. Original hand color. Some wear and light smudging in margins. Overall, very good condition.

In 1840, Louis Phillippe ordered that the body of Napoleon be moved from St. Helena to the Invalides in Paris. This French lithograph shows the casket being turned over to the naval guard of honor before being sent out to the ship for transport. $225

Delaroche: Les Girondins
Paul Delaroche [1797-1856]. "Les Girondins." Paris and London: Goupil, 1858. 21 x 38 1/4 (image) with full platemarks and margins. Steel mezzotint by Edouard Girardet [1819-1880]. Notes on far bottom corners state that publishers were in New York at Knoedlers and Goupil in Berlin. Excellent.

The Girondists were a political faction that was part of the leftist Legislative Assembly of 1791-92. They were typically youthful idealists with a penchant for fine oratory, and since a large percentage of them came from Bordeaux, they were named for their department ­ the Gironde. As the royalists were either executed or expelled, the Girondists became the only party with power that could be labeled as right. They did not wish to execute the king while favoring a federal form of government. With the coming of the National Convention of 1792-3, Robespierre and his party, the Mountain, gained power. On 2 June 1793 the Jacobins and the members of the commune had the National Guard arrest 31 Girondist deputies. Subsequently many of them were executed during the Reign of Terror. In this picture some of the members are being summoned to their executions. Their deaths were unnecessary since at heart they were revolutionaries. Here was a history lesson for Europeans in power who would be persecuting the revolutionaries of 1848. $850

[Napoleon.] Chicago: Werner Co., ca. 1880-90. Tinted lithograph. 24 x 18 1/4. Some chipping at edges of margins, but image very good.

A large, handsome portrait of Napoleon issued by a Chicago firm near the end of the nineteenth century. $375

[Napoleon on white horse charging in battle]. Probably printed in Paris, ca. 1890. 9 3/4 x 14 1/4. Photogravure. Hand color. Framed. Very good condition.

A dramatic image of Napoleon, astride a charge white horse, directing his troops in battle. $275

Battle of Wagram
Historical wood engravings by Pellerin. From Napoleon par l'Image Populaire. Portraits-Scenes-Batailles. [Épinal: Pellerin, 1819 to 1863]-Paris: Pellerin et Cie, 1912. Folio ca. 15 x 22. Wood engravings by Pellerin, Réveillé or Georgin. Original hand color. Extensive text below image. From 1819 to 1863, the firm of Pellerin at Épinal produced a number of secular French historical images by the process of wood engraving, with hand color. It appears the firm kept the plates, for in 1912, Pellerin et Cie issues a group of these images in a portfolio entitled Napoleon pa l"image Populaire. The primary force behind these images was Jean-Charles Pellerin (1756-1836), a clock maker in Épinal, who had the idea to expand production of wood engraved religious images to secular ones also, all for popular consumption. Pellerin's studio originated the print industry in Épinal. Pellerin taught his trade to Réveillé, an imperial soldier, who recorded his memories of the campaigns. Réveillé then taught François Georgin (1801-1863), who continued the firm. Later the firm moved to Paris and it is there that these later impressions were pulled, preserving for us these wonderful popular images which would scarce have survived into this century otherwise.

Most of the images listed here portray events in the career of Napoleon Bonaparte where he was victorious, though the image of Sevastopol depicts an event from the Crimean War where the French were once again outnumbered, but still invincible. $250 each.

John Codman Rope. An Atlas of the Campaign of Waterloo. Folio. New York: Scribner's, 1893. 2ll, 14 double page, hinged maps. Original black, cloth covers. Some bumps to boards; interior is excellent. Ex libris.

This atlas was designed to accompany Rope's Campaign of Waterloo-A Military History. From an initial map showing the entire theatre of the battle (northwest France and Belgium) to troop positions at hourly intervals. $275


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