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Meissonier had only a brief artistic education and was largely self-taught. His early career was as a book illustrator, but in the late 1830s he also began to establish a reputation as a painter of historical genre scenes. Their small scale, meticulous detail and historical accuracy made them enormously attractive to many collectors. Within a decade he was the most expensive artist in France, his paintings largely the preserve of the financial and social élite. Many of his subjects were taken from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (cavaliers, artists and musicians, gentlemen at leisure), but in the 1860s he turned increasingly to scenes from Napoleon’s military campaigns, some painted on a more ambitious scale than his earlier works.

The Wallace Collection

London


Date

1861

Medium

oil on oak panel

Measurements

H 23.8 x W 18.6 cm

Accession number

P291

Acquisition method

acquired by Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, 1864; bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace, 1897

Work type

Painting


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The Wallace Collection

Hertford House, Manchester Square, London, Greater London W1U 3BN England

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