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Napoleon’s Abdications

This month is going to be all about Waterloo. I’m certainly expecting to see a healthy tranche of related material at this weekend’s London Map Fair. But I’m rather pleased with this separately published map we’ll have on our stand at the RGS, a broadsheet which would have been passed from hand to hand among Frenchmen dissecting the final collapse of the First Empire.

Tardieu, Jean-Baptiste Pierre: Plan général du siège de la ville de Paris: Par les troupes alliées dans la journée du 30 Mars 1814, et relation de divers combats qui eurent lieu dans les environs de Paris en Juin 1815, après la défaite de Buonaparte à Mont-St.-Jean […] par J.-B. Tardieu, attaché ci-devant au Dépôt général de la guerre, d’après les matériaux communiqués par plusieurs officiers supérieurs de l’Etat major russe, et les reconnaissances particulières, faites sur les lieux. A Paris : Chez J.B. Tardieu, graveur-éditeur, Rue de Sorbonne, No. 2, prés celle des Mathurins; J. Goujon, Md. de Cartes Géographiques, Rue du Bac No. 6, prés le Pont-Royal; Chez Martinet, Rue du Coq St. Honoré; Gautier, Quai des Augustins, No. 37, [ca. 1815]

Copper engraving, 26 x 39 cms, original hand-colour, blank verso. Some light soiling, folded for the pocket (vertically and horizontally).

 

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A broadsheet plan of the siege of Paris by Allied troops in 1814. France was drained by losses in Spain and Russia, and vastly outnumbered by the Allies; Paris surrendered and Napoleon was forced to abdicate. Our map also shows the series of battles that took place near Paris in June 1815, in the aftermath of the French defeat at ‘Mont-St.- Jean’ (the name Napoleon gave to Waterloo). Napoleon abdicated again a week after the battle, but French efforts to defend their capital against the Allies of the Seventh Coalition were only abandoned after a final Prussian victory at Issy, just to the south west of Paris, on July 2-3.

Napoleon surrendered on July 15, the last event (incorrectly given as July 14) mentioned in the text engraved on either side of the map – slightly more cramped than the rest, as if the latest information has been squeezed into the available space.

The engraver, Tardieu, specifies that he was working with materials provided by several senior officers of the Russian General Staff.

 

 

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