A phenomenally rare rolled paper picture depicting the storming of the Paris Bastille of 1789.

In a remarkable state of preservation, retaining much of the original vivid colouration.

The attention to detail is truly exceptional, each roll of paper being approximately 1/2 inch long and carefully positioned to make up this staggeringly complex arrangement.

France, circa 1800

Unframed 25in 64cm x 18in 46cm
Framed 33.5 in 85 cm x 26.5 in 67cm

Throughout the 18th century, past-times such as embroidery and needlework were popular among society ladies. Women could fill their spare time in the relative warmth of a salon and talk together whilst working on embroidery patterns or needlework scenes for their own amusement.

A less well known decorative phenomenon was rolled paper-work or filigree paperwork quilling which flourished in popularity towards the end of the 18th century. Numerous quilling kits were developed by enterprising craft firms for ladies to decorate tea caddies, boxes or pictures.

In 1791, a Royal tradesman, Charles Elliott, supplied Princess Elizabeth, with “15 ounces of different filigree paper, one ounce of gold paper, and a box made for filigree work with ebony moldings, lock and key, lined inside and outside and also a tea cadde to correspond with box”.

The art of rolled paper filigree quilling work was indeed a hard and demanding one to master. It was considered so important for a lady to learn that it was actually taught at school, and is recorded in period literature such as Jane Austin’s’ Sense and Sensibility. Lucy Steel is noted rolling papers for a decorative basket that she was working on.

Nicholas Wells Antiques advisors are available to answer all your questions. 

Please email us or call +44 (0)207 6920 897

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French Revolution Rolled Paper Picture ‘Storming The Bastille’ After Napoleon Thomas

Stock Number: 3876

French Revolution Rolled Paper Picture ‘Storming The Bastille’ After Napoleon Thomas

Made of Rolled Paper – after a print by Napoleon Thomas, printed by H Jannin

A very rare mid 19th-century picture depicting the storming the Bastille in Paris, 14 July 1789. With incredible attention to detail, the figures all picked out in multi-coloured rolls of paper measuring no more than 1.5 millimeters in diameter. Some roles picked out in gold leaf to highlight buckles, buttons, hinges, weapons, and chains. The colours and figures remain in exceptional condition

France, circa 1820



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Approximate Dimensions

  • Height: 67 cm (26.38 inches)
  • Height (Framed): 67 cm (26.38 inches)
  • Height (Un-Framed): 46 cm (18.11 inches)
  • Width: 85 cm (33.46 inches)
  • Width (Framed): 85 cm (33.46 inches)
  • Width (Un-Framed): 64 cm (25.20 inches)
  • Width (Un-Framed): 64 cm (25.20 inches)



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