Attack on a Barricade in Paris, 1848


This unsigned early pencil sketch by British artist John Everett Millais (1829-96) shows the chaos of the February 1848 revolution in Paris that ended the reign of Louis-Philippe and established the French Second Republic. In February 1848, the French merchant classes erected barricades throughout Paris to protest their lack of political rights and the difficulties caused by an extended economic depression. In an incident outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a soldier fired into a crowd, inciting a riot. By the end of February, Louis-Philippe had fled and the opposition had formed a provisional government. The sketch 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