In the centenary year of the start of the First World War, Sir John Soane’s Museum presents Peace Breaks Out! (20 June – 13 September) an exhibition focusing on the summer of 1814, when Europe celebrated peace after the Treaty of Paris following the fall of Napoleon.
Dr Jerzy Kierkuć-Bieliński, Exhibitions Curator at Sir John Soane’s Museum, introduces the exhibition to us with a tour of the pieces within the exhibition.
“The Peace of 1814 and the subsequent congress of Vienna in 1815, after the final defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, laid the geo-political framework of the European Empires that would dominate the Continent and much of the globe up to the outbreak of the First World War. The Allies who celebrated the signing of the Treaty as guests of the Prince Regent in London, would, almost exactly one hundred years later face each on the battlefields of Europe – this time as enemies. In many ways, to understand the origins of the First World War, one has to look at the events of 1814 and the false promise of lasting peace that it offered”.
Napoleon bust © Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge