The Objects

11th Jul 1815

jeu du voyageur.jpg
Source: Waddesdon Manor, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust)
Photo: Mike Fear © The National Trust, Waddesdon Manor

Game of a Traveller in Europe

Contributed by: Rachel Jacobs

Game of a Traveller in Europe (Jeu du voyageur en Europe), 1813 [nd], c. 1820 [later additions] published by Paul André Basset (active 1785-1815), Paris etching and engraving on paper, hand-coloured in watercolour and bodycolour Waddesdon, The Rothschild Collection (The National Trust) Accession number: 2669.2.21

This travel game begins in France, moves through Europe and ends back in Paris at the Arc de Triomphe. It reflects changes in political power during the early 19th century, leading up to the Restoration of the French monarchy. Someone has written on the sheet in ink, removing references to the French Revolution and to Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). On the Arc de Triomphe, fleurs–de-lis (the symbol of the Bourbon monarchy) cover up an angel and an imperial crown.

The triumphal arch had been commissioned by Napoleon in 1806, but construction was halted by the Restoration of Louis XVIII (1755-1824) and only resumed in 1833 and 1836, during the reign of King-Louis Philippe (1773-1850).

This game and its manuscript amendments highlight the importance of the Napoleonic symbol and how meaning was adapted to changing circumstances even in moments of play.