1871 View of Paris Under Siege | Franco-Prussian War
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Pictorial map of the city of Paris and its environs, showing the principal buildings, monuments, parks, etc., the French fortifications, and the Prussian lines of investment.
By: Harper’s Weekly
Date: 1871 (published) New York, NY
Dimensions: 35.25 x 25.5 inches (90 x 65 cm)
Published in Harper’s Weekly on February 11, 1871, this bird’s eye view of Paris in wartime is a captivating look at a European city in crisis. Oriented east, the map showcases many boulevards, monuments, bridges, and churches with proper labels throughout.
The map is drawn from a vantage point high up on a hill to the west of the city of Paris. In the foreground at the bottom of the print is a line of cannons firing into the city. Dispersed among the cannons are Prussian soldiers, and in the fields below there are farms, houses, woods, and a military fort.
The Arc de Triomphe is shown right beyond the original wall of the city. Looking eastward, one can see the Louvre Museum, Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Elysées, Hôtel de Ville, and Place du Châtelet. Across the river on the Left Bank of the Seine, Sorbonne University, Hôtel des Invalides, and the Pantheon are featured, among other monuments and institutions.
Smoke and cannon fire is shown coming from every direction outside of the city. Showing just a moment in the 1870-71 Siege of Paris, the map shows the terrors of war. The Siege of Paris culminated in France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) and established the German Empire. Published about two weeks after the conclusion of the Siege of Paris, this map featured in Harper’s Weekly is about as close as one could get to on-the-ground reporting––in a visual medium––at the time.
Condition: Map is in B condition. Slight foxing with small fold separations that have been filled in. The print presents wide margins and fine dark image. This piece has received archival linen-backing for preservation purposes.
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