Louis’s Separation from His Family


After hearing the verdict, the King was allowed a final evening with his family, whom he had not seen for almost a month during the trial. Twice on the evening of 20 January the King met with his wife, his son, and a daughter. For about an hour and three–quarters all told, they visited. Only at this time, three days after the verdict, was the family told of the King’s sentence. This led to a... Read More »

March of the Powers Allied against France


This engraving uses classical figures to depict allegorically an alliance of Prussia, Britain, and Austria, represented as "Tyranny, Hypocrisy, and Pride," who seek to divide the map of France among themselves, while the French Nation prepares to resist so as to bring peace and tranquility to all of Europe.

Marie Antoinette as a Serpent


The Queen, never popular to begin with in France, also bore the brunt of popular anger in 1792, as seen in these images of the King, Queen, and elsewhere the entire royal family, as animals. One wonders if this dehumanization of the King and Queen might explain why they became such lightning rods for criticism and, moreover, why the entire royal family would eventually be excluded from any... Read More »

Memorable Day at Versailles, 5 October 1789


This engraving marks success and reconciliation among revolutionaries, as men and women, as well as soldiers and civilians, relax together.

Monks Learning to Exercise.


This image ridicules monks for contributing nothing to society, either economically or demographically, by depicting a group of them being taken from the monastery and drafted into the army, where they hope "to become good citizens" as was expected under religious restructuring during the French Revolution. To bring the clergy under the control of the new government, on 12 July 1790, the... Read More »

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Mourning Rituals for Deceased Children


This moving tribute, carved in the stone of an elaborate shrine, honored a five-year-old boy who died in 170 CE. While the emotions expressed in this inscription seem universal in nature, it is important to note that in Chinese antiquity, mourning a small child was considered to be highly irregular.

According to an ancient Chinese text on ritual called the Yili, mourning rites are... Read More »

Mr. de Lafayette, Commander of the Paris National Guard, Receives the City’s 'Sword for the Defense of Liberty'


During the French Revolution the most visible connection between America and France was Lafayette, who had volunteered for service in the American Revolution and had been mentored by Washington and Jefferson. This special status vaulted him to prominence in 1789 as he became a delegate in the Estates–General, head of the National Guard, and a general in the military. In a way, his background... Read More »

National Assembly Relinquishes All Privileges


This image, part of a series produced to show the most important events of the Revolution, focuses on 4 and 5 August 1789, when the system of privileges came to an end. This legal structure, characteristic of the old regime, guaranteed different rights for different people. Most obviously, nobles had advantages over commoners, but the system was a far more general phenomenon that encompassed... Read More »

Native American Children and Toys thumbnail image

Native American Children and Toys


Theodore de Bry included this colorful engraving in his publication of Hariot's, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1590). It was based on a watercolor by John White (fig. 2) painted five or six years earlier. Despite their differences, in both versions a mother is standing with her 8- to 10-year-old daughter who is wearing a string of beads and a leather... Read More »

Thumbnail of boy posing with bicycle on a city street

New York Public Library Digital Collections

The NYPL Digital Collection provides access to over 755,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities, including illuminated manuscripts, vintage posters, illustrated books, and printed ephemera.