Fontainebleau: The Departure of Napoleon

Creation date
watercolor strengthened with pen and red ink on white paper
6 7/8 x 5 13/16 in. (sheet)
Credit line
Gift in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Hugo O. Pantzer by their children
Accession number
Not Currently On View

On August 20, 1818 Napoleon abdicated at the Palace of Fontainebleau outside of Paris. After bidding an emotional farewell to the remnants of his loyal troops assembled in the courtyard at the foot of the palace’s famed horseshoe stairway, Napoleon was conducted by carriage into exile escorted by the commissioners from the four victorious Allied Powers.

These events fill several pages in Sir Walter Scott’s Life of Napoleon for which Turner made this watercolor illustration. Turner’s depiction ingeniously miniaturizes all of the story’s elements.

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