THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE
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
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.