<p>This volume represents a grand retrospective celebration of the success of British and Allied arms in the Napoleonic Wars. Edward Orme, under whose direction the plates were engraved, was publisher both to King George III and the Prince Regent, and the list of principal subscribers includes two Emperors, the Prince Regent and two Royal Dukes, and the Dukes of Wellington, Marlborough and Northumberland. In contrast to the <i>Tableaux historiques</i> published in Paris in 1806, also included in the Digital Library, the ‘representation of general battles’ was not the aim of Orme’s work; instead the intention was to focus on ‘those local circumstances… not commonly noticed in the Official Accounts’. Although in fact some of those depicted were high-ranking and well-known individuals—Wellington, Blücher, the Prince of Orange and the Duke of Brunswick all appear—there are in addition plates honouring acts of gallantry or endurance by non-commissioned officers and men, such as ‘Corporal Logan killing a French colonel’ and ‘Steward’, the piper of the 71st Highland Regiment at Vimiera, who, though wounded, ‘refused to be carried off the field of battle, or to cease his endeavours to inspirit his countrymen’. The tone of the text accompanying the plates is relentlessly patriotic, and conspicuously lacking in magnanimity: the few representations of French deeds include ‘Buonaparte’s disgraceful flight over the Rhine’ and an image of troops ‘retreating through, and plundering, a village’. This is very much history as written by the victors.</p>
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