Posted 7 years ago
A card collected by Septimus and Clara is this striking image of “L'Aigle blessé“ by Gérôme. Researching this card I began to understand why the Millers had visited the Waterloo site in 1907.
The Battle of Waterloo became part of the myth surrouding the Duke of Wellington and his foe Napoléon Bonaparte. The site of the battle was forgotten for many years. It became farmland yet again.
There were a few monuments that marked the site of the battle. The largest was the Hillock created by the Dutch called the “Butte de Lion” in 1826. But there were others too: The Gordon Monument and the Hannover Monument were erected near the Butte de Lion. There was the Victor Hugo column too!
Certainly there was no mention of the fallen French soldiers who had died there in their thousands!
Late in the nineteenth century French nationalism resurfaced and a plan was hatched by three men to remember the French dead of Waterloo with a memorial. The historian Henry Houssaye convinced le comte Albert de Mauroy and Gustave Larronet to purchase some land (just 100 m2 ) for a group called Sabretache to erect a French memorial at Waterloo.
Jean-Léon Gérôme created the amazingly defiant image of a wounded eagle.
It was not until 1904 that the monument was dedicated. By then it had caught the attention of the French public. They arrived at Waterloo in their thousands!
On June 28 1904 over 100 000 people arrived at the site of the battle. It is said that the Brussels railways sold 57 000 tickets that day to the site.
The beginnings of a new tourist industry – the Millers were probably part of the movement to revisit the sites where their grandparents’ generation had fought nearly a century before them.
It is now our turn to return in one way or another to these same parts to remember the events of another Great War on the fields of Belgium.
This is a card publish by E.G. No. 86. - E. Grégoire.