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The Zenith of French Glory: the Pinnacle of Liberty

The Zenith of French Glory: the Pinnacle of Liberty

James Gillray

Collections record: P.298-1948

1757-1815 Etching with hand colouring, 1793

This image echoes Burke’s statement in Reflections (1790) where he writes of the cry to hang bishops from the lampposts. A terrifying sans-culotte sits up high on a lamp bracket, resting a foot on the neck of one of the clergymen who are strung up below him. The scene the revolutionary fiddler is watching is the guillotining of Louis XVI. The execution platform is surrounded by a swarm of fellow revolutionaries, eerily denoted solely by their bonnets rouges. In the background a church dome is aflame, and the liberty cap and stick on the right make an inverted crucifix.

Given by Lady Violet Beaumont, 1948 (P.298-1948)

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