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La Délivrance


By André Gill


In 1870-71, France fought and lost the Franco-Prussian war. Prussia imposed a large indemnity which until paid, meant that Prussian troops would occupy France.

André Gill drew a caricature that depicted President Adolphe Thiers "delivering" from Mother France the debt that was owed to Prussia. At his feet stood three figures that represented the fallen Bourbon, Orleanist, and Bonapartist Dynasties -- dejected Royalist sympathizers who had hoped to regain the throne. The quick repayment of the indemnity was seen as a triumph for Thiers and the newly established Third Republic, and a blow to Royalist sympathizers.


André Gill used clouds to conceal
the figures at the base of this drawing
after censors ruled that they
could not be published.


Censors refused to let Gill depict the Royalists, but they allowed the drawing to be published with the figures obscured by clouds.

Gill's republican sympathies were well know and the eagle was a recognized symbol of the deposed Napoleon III. The identities of the figures were decipherable to politically astute readers.


Cover Illustration for L'Eclipse
August 4, 1872
Hand-colored engraving
11 1/2"h x 11"

    Robert Justin Goldstein, Censorship of Political Caricature in Nineteenth-Century France, The Kent State University Press, 1989
    Charles Fontaine, André Gill: Un Maître de la Caricature, Aux Editions de L'Ibis, Paris, 1927
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