Primary Source

Demolition of the Bastille

Painting of the demolition of the Bastille

Annotation

This watercolor painting illustrates the "demolition" of what the text refers to as the "horrible prison" of the Bastille. As workmen tear down the spires on the roof, ordinary people rip stones off the base. These stones soon became collectors’ items, souvenirs of the people’s role in the outbreak of the Revolution—and symbols of the way in which many more people wanted to commemorate the event than had participated in it.

Transcription

Title in French
Démolition du Château de la Bastille

Caption in French
Commencé sous Charles V en 1339; achevé en 1383. Pris le 14 Juillet 1789, et démoli aussitôt après sa prise. Le Vendredi 17 Juillet 1789, jour à jamais mémorable par l’Auguste confiance de Louis XVI envers sa bonne ville de Paris. Mrs les Députés de la Noblesse du nombre desquels était Mr le Marquis de Lusignon[?] se transportèrent sur les Plattes-formes de la Bastille dont on avait déjà démoli les Créneaux des Tours, ainsi que les petites Cahutes qui donnaient sur les terrasses. Ces généreux Citoyens soulevèrent eux-mêmes plusieurs pierres et secondés par les Ouvriers, ils les jetèrent dans les décombres en invitant le Peuple Français à continuer la Démolition de cette horrible prison.

Translation

Caption in English
Begun under Charles V in 1339, completed in 1383. Seized July 14, 1789 and demolished immediately after its capture. Thursday, July 17, 1789, a day forever memorable through the wise confidence of Louis XVI toward his good city of Paris. The deputies from the nobility including the Marquis of Lusignon [?] went up to see the platforms of the Bastille from which workers have already demolished the battlements of the towers as well as the little huts that look out over the terraces. Generous citizens pull up some bricks and seconded by the workers, they throw them into the ruins, thus inviting the French people to continue the demolition of this horrible prison.

Credits

Michel Hennin. Estampes relatives à l'Histoire de France. Tome 119, Pièces 10386-10489, période : 1789

de Vinck. Un siècle d'histoire de France par l'estampe, 1770-1870. Vol. 10 (pièces 1571-1762), Ancien Régime et Révolution

How to Cite This Source

"Demolition of the Bastille," in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/demolition-bastille [accessed November 27, 2021]