Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Souvenirs De La Commune Par Léonce Schérer

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (printed)

  • Date:

    1871 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Schérer, Léonce, born 1827 - died 1876 (caricaturist)
    Barousse (lithographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand-coloured lithograph on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case GG, shelf 208

Physical description

Print depicting Gustave Courbet, holding a small mallet and hammering at a small pile of stones. He is standing in front of a scene in which the Vendome column is demolished in sections. Print from a set of caricatures, broadsheets and illustrations in ten volumes. Each volume is half-bound in red leather, gold tooled and stamped with imperial emblems, title etc.

Place of Origin

Paris (printed)


1871 (printed)


Schérer, Léonce, born 1827 - died 1876 (caricaturist)
Barousse (lithographer)

Materials and Techniques

Hand-coloured lithograph on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Souvenirs De La Commune. No.21 Deforet & César, Edit. Rue Nve. des Petits Champs. 64 Lith. Barousse à Paris.'

'L'homme qui était un jour appelé a démolir la Colonne devait commencer par êtrer casseur de pierres.'
Lettered with caption

'L Schérer'


Height: 26 cm, Width: 16.8 cm

Object history note

Provenance unknown.
Plate 21 from a series of 30 entitled SOUVENIRS DE LA COMMUNE.

Historical context note

As early as September 1870, the French painter Gustave Courbet had urged the demolition of the Vendôme Column on the grounds that it was a symbol of Bonapartism and that it offended his artistic sensibilities. On 12 April 1871, the Commune authorized its destruction, which was carried out with great celebrations on 16 May.

After the war Courbet, who was elected to the Commune at the April by-elections, was sentenced to six months' imprisonment and ordered to pay an enormous fine towards the column's reconstruction. To avoid finding the sum he fled to Switzerland.

Descriptive line

'L'homme qui était un jour appelé a démolir la Colonne...' Satirical illustration by Léonce Schérer depicting Gustave Courbet, holding a small mallet and hammering at a small pile of stones. Hand-coloured lithograph, France, 1871.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Lambert, Susan, The Franco-Prussian War and The Commune in Caricature 1870-71: catalogue of a collection of prints in the possession of the Department of Prints and Drawings of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, V&A, 1971
Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1962. London: HMSO, 1964.

Labels and date

Léonce Schérer (1827-76)

As the Vendôme Column heels over and breaks up into sections Courbet hacks away at a pile of stones. This is a reference to his painting ‘The Stonebreakers’, exhibited at the Salon of 1850-51, which Proudhon later labelled the ‘first socialist painting’.'

Lithograph, coloured by hand.
From a series of 30. E.1807-1962 [27/05/1971-10/10/1971]




Lithography; Hand-colouring

Subjects depicted

Pipe (smoking equipment); Hat; Memorial column; Dead-blow mallet; Man; Vendôme Column; Woman


Caricatures & Cartoons; Prints


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.