The Peace of Amiens (March 25-27, 1802)

The Peace of Amiens (March 25-27, 1802)

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  • The Peace of Amiens

    ZIEGLER Jules-Claude (1804 - 1856)

  • Homage to Bonaparte the Peacekeeper.


  • Fireworks project organized in Marseille to celebrate the signing of peace in Amiens

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Title: The Peace of Amiens

Author : ZIEGLER Jules-Claude (1804 - 1856)

Creation date : 1853

Date shown: March 27, 1802

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Oil on canvas

Storage location: Picardy Museum website

Contact copyright: © Amiens métropole, Musée de Picardie - All rights reserved

Picture reference: ND

© Amiens métropole, Musée de Picardie - All rights reserved

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Title: Homage to Bonaparte the Peacekeeper.

Author : LECOINTE (-)

Creation date : 1801

Date shown: 1801

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Pen drawing by Lecointe, clerk at the town hall of Laon, in the register of deliberations of the municipal council of Laon (April 18, 1800 - October 22, 1802).

Storage location: Departmental Archives of Aisne website

Contact copyright: © Departmental Archives of Aisne

Picture reference: FRAD002_E-depot 401_1D1

Homage to Bonaparte the Peacekeeper.

© Departmental Archives of Aisne

To close

Title: Fireworks project organized in Marseille to celebrate the signing of peace in Amiens

Author :

Creation date : 1802

Date shown: 1802

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 0

Technique and other indications: Drawn and handwritten project (on paper)

Storage location: Marseille municipal archives website

Contact copyright: © Municipal Archives of Marseille

Picture reference: AM Marseille 78 Fi 331.

Fireworks project organized in Marseille to celebrate the signing of peace in Amiens

© Municipal Archives of Marseille

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

Diplomatic isolation of England

Formed at the instigation of England at the end of 1798, the second coalition opposed to France suffered a complete military failure two years later. Exasperated, Tsar Paul I withdrew. The following year Bonaparte, who had become First Consul, made overtures of peace to the King of England; they were rejected with contempt. Defeated on all battlefields in 1800, Austria signed peace at Luneville on February 9, 1801. Britain, isolated, began by reacting brutally by bombarding Copenhagen while its ambassador, Sir Whitworth, participated in the plot to l origin of the assassination of Tsar Paul I, an ally of France. The preliminaries of London, signed on October 1, 1801, led to the signing of the peace treaty in Amiens, on March 25, 1802, between England on the one hand and, on the other hand, France and its allies, the Spain and Holland.

Image Analysis

Ziegler's painting

Unlike the allegorical representations of the Peace of Amiens, performed in the year X, the work of Ziegler, a pupil of Ingres, best known for having decorated the dome of the Church of the Madeleine in Paris, is a a veritable historical picture, made up from information supplied by Picard scholars “to guide the artist's brush”. This is, in fact, an order made on January 24, 1851, at the request of Prince President Louis Napoleon following his visit to Amiens (July 15, 1849). The completed painting arrived in Amiens in October 1853. The scene represented takes place on Saturday March 27, 1802, when the agreement reached on the 25th is signed in front of the public, admitted to the congress hall. In the foreground, the Minister of France, Joseph Bonaparte, and the Minister of England, Lord Cornwallis, in red coats, shake hands after signing. At their feet is a carpet made by Bonvallet in Amiens. The other two plenipotentiaries are still seated. Batavian Schimmelpenninck, on the left, signs before affixing the seal presented to him by a secretary in an open box. To the right, the Knight of Azara, Minister of Spain, affixes his seal to a page presented by a secretary. Personalities surround the plenipotentiaries: on the left, the constitutional bishop Desbois de Rochefort; on the right, General Saint-Hilaire, commanding the troops in Amiens, the first prefect of the Somme, Quinette, Augustin Debray, mayor of the city, in blue coat. The moment is serious and the attention is widespread, but already the public flocking to both doors are showing their joy: two people kiss, a hat is raised, a child is hoisted above their heads. The joy is general.

Homage to “Bonaparte the pacifier”

As soon as the preliminaries of peace were signed in London, a wave of joy and hope aroused public opinion throughout France. In the register of the deliberations of the municipal council of Laon (Aisne) the clerk Lecointe designates Bonaparte as “the Peacekeeper of the world”, on the anniversary of the Dix-Huit Brumaire (November 9, 1801). He celebrates with fervor and naivety who he believes is the defender of peace. Like many then, the clerk of the town hall of Laon imagines a peace that could both last, confirm the French victories and guarantee the freedom of the seas, the promise of trade and abundance.

Fireworks project in Marseille for the celebration of Peace signed in Amiens

On 18 Floréal Year X (May 8, 1802), at the request of the Prefect of Bouches-du-Rhône, Charles Delacroix, the fireworks engineer Estellon presented a show project comprising twenty-four figures highlighting the representation of a dedicated temple to Peace and to the First Consul appearing at the top of the sketch.


Strangely enough, Bonaparte had not commissioned a work representing this important event. Did he perceive the fragility of the treaty? It was up to his nephew to have this historical picture painted without, however, using it for Second Empire propaganda. It was in Amiens, in fact, that in 1849, Napoleon III made a speech in favor of peace, a theme that he took up again in Bordeaux in October 1852 in the speech in which his famous formula appears "the Empire is the peace ". Half a century after the signing of the treaty, the painting reflects the immense joy of the French, which was manifested at the time by countless celebrations, like the fireworks display in Marseille, and by the vote of the consulate for life, opening the way to absolute power for Bonaparte.

  • Spain
  • Holland
  • Bonaparte (Napoleon)
  • peace
  • UK
  • Treaty of Amiens
  • Consulate
  • Bonaparte (Joseph)
  • Cornwallis (Lord)
  • Schimmelpenninck
  • knight of Azara
  • fireworks
  • signature
  • seal
  • pyrotechnics
  • England
  • Peace of Amiens


Thierry LENTZThe Grand Consulate: 1799-1804Paris, Fayard, 1999.Louis MADELINHistory of the Consulate and the Empiret. III and IV, Paris, Hachette, 1938-1939. Jean TULARD (dir.)The History of Napoleon through paintingParis, Belfond, 1991.Fernand BEAUCOUR "The painting of the Peace of Amiens by the painter Ziegler: a symbolic painting", in Acts of the commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Peace of Amiens, Bulletin of the Société des Antiquaires de Picardie, 1st quarter 2002.

To cite this article

Nicole GOTTERI, “The Peace of Amiens (March 25-27, 1802)”

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