Dartmoor prison was built between 1806 and 1809, mainly to confine thousands of prisoners of war. It was built in Princetown, a bleak part of Dartmoor and an ideal location because of its remoteness. It was designed by Daniel Asher Alexander, with buildings arranged like the spokes in a wheel, surrounded by a high perimeter wall. It was one of Britain’s first purpose-built prisons designed for 6,000 prisoners, and still remains a prison today, though now with a maximum capacity of just 659.
This print was one of over a thousand satires produced by the celebrated caricaturist, James Gillray, who became known as the ‘father of the political cartoon’. In the 18thcentury, cartoons and caricatures were a popular way of mocking the establishment and calling them to account. They would be discussed and enjoyed in shop windows, coffee houses and taverns. The arrival of the industrial printing press in the 1800s helped to spread them far and wide, through broadsides (posters), newspapers and pamphlets. This one was inspired by the resumed hostilities and ongoing rivalrybetween Britain and France in 1805.
Napoleon rose to power during the French Revolution, crowning himself Emperor of France in 1804. He had ambitions to carve out a vast empire and dynasty, and successfully invaded and conquered countries across the European continent in a series of bloody battles, before he was finally defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. These became known as the Napoleonic wars.
This is a Royal Naval undress coat of the standard pattern for 1795-1812, worn by Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson when commanding the British fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. In this major naval battle, the British defeated the combined fleets of French and Spanish navies, ending Napoleon's threat to invade Britain. However, Admiral Nelson was shot at the height of the battle and mortally wounded. Ten years later, Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo would end his threat to Britain forever.
The Marseillaise is one of the most memorable war songs ever written. It tells us about the hopes and fears of French soldiers in the French Revolution.
William Pitt the Younger was Prime Minister of Britain through the French Revolutionary and early Napoleonic Wars in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
The wars precipitated by the struggles for independence and attempts at empire building that characterise the Age of Revolution, and their impact on the changing world map.