• 10.00am - 5.30pm
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  • Chelsea, London
  • 10.00am - 5.30pm
  • FREE
  • Chelsea, London

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A soldier relating his exploits in a tavern, 1821

2 min read

The bigger picture

The Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815) proved to be the final defeat of the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. It was a decisive event in determining the subsequent history of Europe.

Produced six years on from the battle, this painting depicts a soldier holding forth to a small but attentive audience. Clues within the artwork suggest that he's proudly recounting his own experiences of that famous campaign.

Tall tales

While the onlookers are undeniably amused, there is a suggestion that they may be a little sceptical of the soldier's story. This is perhaps a subtle reflection of the ambiguous place of the redcoat in British society during the early 19th century.

See it on display

Come and see this playful painting in our Soldier gallery, displayed alongside other items that provide insights into the transition from military to civilian life.

Purchased with the generous support of the Art Fund.
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"First time @NAM_London today. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought the presentation & interpretation made the subject accessible..."