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Adolphe Jean Baptiste Bayot (1810-71)

The entry of Queen Victoria into Paris, 18th August 1855 1855

RCIN 920059

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A watercolour and bodycolour drawing of Queen Victoria arriving by carriage into Paris, travelling down the Boulevard de Strasbourg, and about to turn right into the Boulevard Saint Denis. On the left is the Porte Saint-Denis, the seventeenth-century triumphal arch built on the site of one of the medieval gates to the city. Signed lower right: Bayot et Dauzats.

In August 1855 Queen Victoria and Prince Albert spent ten days in Paris, on the invitation of Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie. The historic state visit was intended to celebrate the military alliance between Britain and France in the Crimean War, and followed a visit by the imperial couple to Windsor in April that year. The party arrived at the Gare de Strasbourg (now the Gare de l'Est) from Boulogne, and travelled through the city to Saint-Cloud. They were three hours late arriving into Paris, causing discontentment among the crowds. This would have been Queen Victoria's first glimpse of the new wide streets laid out by Baron Haussmann. Many buildings were not yet completed, and were instead fitted out as stands for spectators.

It is not clear how Adrien Dauzats and Adolphe-Jean-Baptiste Bayot collaborated in this work, but Dauzats, who collaborated with Baron Taylor on the Voyages Pittoresques dans l'ancienne France, was possibly responsible for the buildings and architecture. His work was popular with Louis-Philippe, who commissioned three watercolours of interiors at the Chateau d'Eu to give to the Queen as a souvenir of her 1843 visit. The watercolour was commissioned by Queen Victoria through the offices of the Empress.