In pictures: the French Revolution

A collection of prints about the French Revolution is now available online as part of a digitisation project by Waddesdon Manor and the University of Warwick.

Print of the market women's march to Versailles. A large group of women carry axes, pikes, clubs, scythes, swords and firearms mounted with bayonets; in the centre, two women are towing a cannon. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)

About the images

An extraordinary collection of prints about the French Revolution, acquired by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild in the 1890s, is now available online as part of a digitisation project by Waddesdon Manor and the University of Warwick.

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In the 1890s, the 18th-century prints were bound into albums using red leather boards with gold tooling and include examples of revolutionary currency, army recruitment documents and membership cards for political clubs, as well as different perspectives on the events of the Revolution. Ferdinand took care to ensure that critical views were represented in the album, and a number of the prints are overtly counter-revolutionary. Some were printed for propaganda purposes outside France.

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Find out more about the project, and see more prints, at the Waddesdon Manor website.

An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows an old man wearing a silk jacket and trousers sat on top of a cabinet.
The figure on top of the cabinet represents the ‘pagode’ of the shop sign: ‘pagode’ meaning porcelain ornaments of grotesque figures, sometimes with mobile heads. The figure is of an old man dressed in a silk jacket and trousers that are decorated with chequer patterns. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows shows a fringed scarf, looped and caught with a clasp, flanked by two hats.
The image shows a fringed scarf, looped and caught with a clasp. This is flanked by two brimmed, high-crowned hats. The hat on the left has a small feather in its band; the hat on the right, a band with a diagonal strip. Between the ends of the scarf is a high-crowned hat patterned with fleurs-de-lis and surmounted with a tassel. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows three men attempting to put out a fire on the top floor of a building with a hand pump fire engine.
Fire issues from the top windows of the building in the foreground. In the street below, three men operate a hand pump fire engine. They all wear simple caps, thigh-length jackets, stockings and ankle boots with buckles. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows an oval portrait of Marie-Antoinette and a guillotine.
Below the oval medallion of Marie-Antoinette is a guillotine on a scaffold with a basket below it. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows a sans-culotte, part of the radical left-wing partisans of the lower classes, holding a trip-coloured flag and trampling on a piece of paper.
The sans-culotte (radical left-wing partisans of the lower classes) stands on the right holding a tri-coloured flag. He tramples on pieces of paper bearing various crimes such as pillaging and murder. On the left is a crying female figure with a belt bearing the word ‘Humanite’. The profile of Louis XVI is outlined against the throat of the sans-culotte. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows to men being hanged.
This counter-revolutionary print attacks the two main left-wing groups within the Constitutional Assembly by showing two politicians ‘dancing’ from a gibbet. The man on the left has two faces and is dressed in revolutionary colours. The dance metaphor is designed to ridicule the two parties as well as delighting in the gruesome imagery of their deaths by hanging. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows a large group of women bearing weapons including axes and firearms.
Print of the market women’s march to Versailles. A large group of women carry axes, pikes, clubs, scythes, swords and firearms mounted with bayonets; in the centre, two women are towing a cannon. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows Marie-Antoinette, the last queen of France before the French Revolution, with three men playing chess.
Interior scene of the queen with representatives of the Three Estates engaged in a game of chess. On the left, Marie-Antoinette sits behind a bureau. She wears a blue dress with a pink waist band, a shawl and a tall pink hat decorated with feathers and spotted fabric. A bust of Louis XVI placed above a fluted pillar looks down at the chess players. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows a full-length portrait of Marie Antoinette, queen of France, wearing an extravagant royal gown.
Full-length portrait of Marie-Antoinette, queen of France, depicted with royal regalia; it forms part of a series of prints depicting French dress. She places her left hand on a crown resting on a red cushion placed on a console table to her right and holds a miniature portrait in her right hand. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)
An 18th-century print from a collection of images about the French Revolution. This particular image shows a man brandishing a sword in front of the Bastille.
Print of a member of the Third Estate (one section of the Estates-General) vanquishing an enemy of liberty with a view of the destruction of the Bastille in the background. In the centre, a member of the Third Estate tramples a demon underfoot: he raises a sword above his head in his left hand. (The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor)