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Ernest Crofts (English, 1847 – 1911), Napoleon’s Last Grand Attack: Waterloo, oil on canvas, 1895

March 1, 2015

Ernest Crofts (English, 1847 – 1911), Napoleon’s Last Grand Attack: Waterloo, oil on canvas, 1895

A plaque beside the painting reads:

Another Image of the Battle of Waterloo, not far from Brussels, is given in this oil painting by the English artist Ernest Crofts. The many representations of this event testify to its grip on the public imagination. The Romantic writers were fascinated by its emotional drama: Victor Hugo described it in Les Chatiments, Stendhal in La Chartreuse de Parme.

This moment in history was just as enthralling for the victorious English, as Crofts’ canvas makes clear. Crofts was one of the leading painters of military subjects in the late-Victorian era, comparable to the French artists Meissonier. he spent ten years in Germany, where he was present at real battles during the Franco-Prussian War.

This canvas is one of a series of twelve depicting events connected with Waterloo, the Emperor’s last battle of the Hundred Days. Crofts exhibited the series at the Royal Academy between 1875 and 1908. This work was exhibited in 1895 and purchased by the Royal Artillery in London. In 1908 it passed into the hands of private collectors.

The painting is on display in the Napoleon exhibit in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

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