The Battle of Waterloo, June 18, 1815
Artist/maker unknown, French. Published by Pellerin, Imprimeur-Libraire, Épinal, France, active 19th century.
With details of Napoleon's decisive defeat near the town of Waterloo, where Prussian, English, and other coalition forces outnumbered the French by two to one.
The return to power of the Bourbons in 1815 marked the beginning of strict censorship of many Napoleonic prints that lasted until 1830. Jean-Charles Pellerin (1756-1836), an ardent Bonapartist and Épinal's eminently successful popular print publisher (whose name appears in the bottom right of this print), was accused of supplying Napoleonic prints to a book dealer in 1816. During the ensuing search of Pellerin's house, a framed portrait of the ex-emperor was found over a fireplace in the daughter's bedroom. As a result, the publisher received a sentence of four months imprisonment and a six hundred franc fine. Produced after censorship was lifted in 1830, this battle scene and others like it were welcomed by the Bourbon monarchy precisely because they depicted bitter defeat for their archenemy, Napoleon Bonaparte.