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Le Peuple faisant fermer l'Opera. le 12 Juillet 1789

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (published)

  • Date:

    1791-1794 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Berthault, Pierre-Gabriel, born 1748 - died 1819 (engraver)
    Prieur, Jean Louis (the younger), born 1759 - died 1795 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr E. Rawdon-Smith

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level C, case O, shelf 1, box A

This print is an illustration to a group of prints depicting events during the French Revolution. The prints with accompanying text were originally sold separately between 1791-4, then were issued as a set of three bound volumes 'Collection complète des tableaux historiques de la révolution française' in 1804. The authors of the work were all actively involved in the early stages of the revolution, as was the artist of this print, Jean-Louis Prieur.

Riots broke out in Paris as news spread of the dismissal of the finance minister Jacques Necker. He was popular with the people who believed his strict approach to the country’s financial disrepair would improve things for the ordinary people. Necker was less popular with the nobles, whose spending he tried to curtail, and who would suffer with his proposed tax revisions. On the day following his dismissal, the Parisian public called for the theatres to be closed as a sign of mourning for Necker’s position and the hopes it gave them. The theatres had been closed to mourn the death of the king’s son earlier in the year. Crowds surged towards and into the Paris opera, forcing its closure. This was one of the least bloody protests of the emerging revolution during July 1789.

Physical description

Print depicting a large crowd of people surrounding the Opera House in Paris on the 12th July 1789.

Place of Origin

Paris (published)


1791-1794 (published)


Berthault, Pierre-Gabriel, born 1748 - died 1819 (engraver)
Prieur, Jean Louis (the younger), born 1759 - died 1795 (artist)

Materials and Techniques


Marks and inscriptions

'Prieur inv. & del. Berthault Sculp.'
Lettered with title and



Height: 175 mm image, Width: 235 mm image, Height: 240 mm platemark, Width: 295 mm image, Height: 294 mm sheet, Width: 459 mm sheet

Object history note

The Collection Complète des Tableaux Historiques de la Revolution Française was first published in 40 parts in Paris between 1791 and 1794. They were published in 3 volumes in 1804.

Descriptive line

'Le Peuple faisant fermer l'Opera. le 12 Juillet 1789'. Print by Pierre Gabriel Berthault after Prieur, from the series 'Collection Complète des Tableaux Historiques de la Révolution Française', published Paris, 1791-1794.

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

Victoria & Albert Museum Department of Prints and Drawings and Department of Paintings, Accessions 1952. London: HMSO, 1963.
Text by Clause Fauchet, Sebastien R.N. Chamfort, Pierre L. Ginguené and F.X. Pagès. Cf. Tourneux Collection complète des tableaux historiques de la révolution française :composé de cent treize numéros en trois volumes. Paris: Auber, c1804.
Warren Roberts, Jacques-Louis David and Jean-Louis Prieur. Revolutionary Artists. The Public, the Populace, and Images of the French Revolution New York: University of New York Press, 2000. ISBN: 0-7914-4287-x


Printing ink



Subjects depicted

Revolution; Crowd scenes; Opera; Rebellion; Protest; Theatre; Mass media; Uprising; Street scenes; Rioting


Prints; Patriotism; Periodicals; Politics; Theatre; Illustration


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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