Description

The celebrations in honour of the ill-fated peace of 1814, following the Treaty of Paris and the exile of Napoleon Bonaparte to Elba, were lavish, including a mock naval battle on the Serpentine, numerous public dinners and processions, and military reviews. In St. James’s Park, an oriental bridge and a seven storey pagoda were erected under the direction of Sir William Congreve, the inventor of the Congreve rocket. During the celebratory fireworks, the pagoda (illuminated with gas lamps), perhaps inevitably, caught fire and was destroyed, injuring or killing several workmen but entertaining the audience, who assumed it was an intentional part of the spectacle.

This King’s Library plate, published in Ackermann's Select Views of London, shows the crowds of onlookers with several soldiers in uniform. The towers of Westminster Abbey are visible beyond the trees in the distance.

Transcript