Retreat of Napoleon from Leipzig, 1813


This original watercolor drawing by John Augustus Atkinson (1775-1833?) shows Napoleon seated in a tent shelter, surrounded by soldiers and members of his staff. Atkinson was an English painter and printmaker who specialized in military themes. He produced sets of engravings showing British military uniforms, and was also known for his watercolors of historical events. In 1815, Atkinson was commissioned to collaborate with the British artist Arthur William Devis (1762-1822) on a painting of the Battle of Waterloo. In 1819, John Burnet, the first engraver to specialize in the reproduction of paintings for the middle class, engraved the painting. The drawing is from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection at the Brown University Library, the foremost American collection devoted to the history and iconography of soldiers and soldiering, and one of the world’s largest collections devoted to the study of military and naval uniforms.

Last updated: September 18, 2015