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The meeting of Wellington and Blücher at 'La Belle Alliance' after the Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815

Oil on canvas by Henry Baynes 1820 (c).

The Battle of Waterloo on 18 June 1815 was the last great battle of the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) and marked the end of France's attempt to dominate Europe. The Allied commander, the Duke of Wellington, called the battle 'the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life'. The outcome of the battle was in doubt until late afternoon when Blücher's Prussians arrived in force and broke through Napoleon's right flank.

This painting depicts a meeting of the two commanders in the aftermath of battle at the 'La Belle Alliance' tavern. They shake hands while wounded soldiers are being carried away on litters behind them. Napoleon had used the tavern as his headquarters during the battle and Blücher suggested that the battle be named after it to commemorate the multinational coalition that had defeated the French emperor. Wellington instead recommended Waterloo, the village just north of the battlefield, commenting that it would not do to name the battle after the loser's command post.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1962-06-18-1


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Battle gallery

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