Antique Print of Napoleon's Farewell at Fontainebleau, 20 April 1814

Productnr.: BG-13279

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Large antique print titled 'Napoleons Abschied von seiner Garde im Schlosshofe zu Fontainebleau, vor seiner Abreise auf die Insel Elba, am 20n April 1814 Vormitts'. This original print shows Napoleon's farewell at Fontainebleau, 20 April 1814.

On 20th April 1814, Napoleon walked down the steps of the Fontainebleau Palace, approached the soldiers of his guard and delivered his farewell:

"Soldiers of my Old Guard, I bid you farewell. For twenty years you have been my constant companions on the road to honour and glory. In these latter times, as in the days of our prosperity, you have never ceased to be models of courage and fidelity. With men such as you our cause would not have been lost; but the war would have been interminable; it would have been a civil war, and France would only have become unhappier still. I have therefore sacrificed all of our interests to those of the Nation.

I shall depart. But you, my friends, continue to serve France. Her happiness was my only thought; it shall continue to be the object of my desires. Do not lament my fate; the only reason I have allowed myself to survive was so that I could further serve our glory. I want to write down the great deeds which we have done together. Adieu, my children! I wish I could press you all to my heart. Let me at least embrace your standard...!"

At these words, General Petit, seized the aigle and stepped forward. Napoleon took the general in his arms and kissed the standard. The silence which this great scene imposed was broken only by the sobs of the soldiers. Napoleon, visibly moved, pulled himself together and began again with a stronger voice: "Once again, adieu, my old companions! May this last kiss pass to your hearts!"

This print was lithographed by C. Kratz after a painting by H. Vernet. Published in Darmstadt, circa 1845.

Condition: Good. General age-related toning. Minor wear, shows some foxing and soiling. Repair in top margin, sl. affecting image. Blank verso. Please study images carefully.

Date: c.1845

Overall size: 79.3 x 60.5 cm.