Waterloo, the Tombs, Belgium


This photochrome print of the tombs, or more specifically cenotaphs, at Waterloo is part of “Views of Architecture and Other Sites in Belgium” from the catalog of the Detroit Publishing Company (1905). Located approximately 12 kilometers south-southeast of Brussels, Waterloo is the site of the great battle of June 1815 between the French army of Napoleon I and the armies led by the Duke of Wellington of Great Britain and General Blücher of Prussia. On February 26, 1815, Napoleon secretly left the Mediterranean island of Elba, where he had been exiled by the victorious allies the previous year. He marched to Paris, gathered an army, and moved to attack his enemies in Belgium. Napoleon won an initial victory over Blücher at Ligny, but on June 18 Wellington and Blücher were able to combine forces for their decisive victory at Waterloo. Following his defeat, Napoleon abdicated for a second time on June 22 and was exiled to the South Atlantic island of St. Helena, where he resided until his death in 1821. Seen in the background is the Lion’s Mound, or Butte du Lion, an artificial hill that was constructed in 1823–26, made of earth from the battleground. The hill marks the location where William, Prince of Orange, later King William II of the Netherlands, was injured during battle. The hill measures 38 meters high, with a circumference of 491 meters. The lion that surmounts the hill is made of cast iron and measures approximately five meters long and five meters high and weighs nearly 32,000 kilograms. The statue’s blue-stone pedestal is approximately six meters high and is engraved with the date “June 18, 1815.”

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Detroit Publishing Company, Detroit, Michigan


Type of Item

Physical Description

1 photomechanical print : photochrom, color


  • The Detroit Photographic Company was launched as a photographic publishing firm in the late 1890s by Detroit businessman and publisher William A. Livingstone, Jr., and photographer and photo-publisher Edwin H. Husher. They obtained exclusive rights to use the Swiss "Photochrom" process for converting black-and-white photographs into color images and printing them by photolithography. This innovative process was applied to the mass production of color postcards, prints, and albums for sale to the American market. The firm became the Detroit Publishing Company in 1905.

Last updated: June 12, 2015