Arrest of Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette at Varennes


  • Additional Information

‘The Arrest of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at Varennes’ by Robert Alexander Hillingford (1828-1904).

The painting – which depicts the King and Queen of France’s failed attempt to escape the French Revolution – is signed by the artist and presented in a newly commissioned, fine quality gold metal leaf Louis XVI design frame.

On the evening of June 20th, 1791, Louis and Marie-Antoinette managed to slip out of Paris disguised as valet and governess to one of their own attendants, the Marquise de Tourzel. The King and Queen and the royal children escaped as far as the town of Varennes where they were recognised by the local postmaster Jean-Baptiste Drouet, depicted in the painting (left). In Hillingford’s cleverly constructed scene the King – though dressed in the drab brown frock coat of an attendant –inadvertently gives away his true identity by standing with 'hidden hand', the unmistakable expression of nobility and gesture of absolutism. The Queen slumps in a chair, head in hand, as a crowd of looting peasants gather at the door. Eighteen months after his arrest at Varennes Louis XVI was publicly executed by guillotine on the Place de la Révolution in Paris, Marie-Antoinette meeting the same fate nine months later.

Robert Alexander Hillingford was a highly successful Victorian painter of historical and literary scenes who became most famous for his portrayals of the Napoleonic Wars and the plays of Shakespeare. Amongst his patrons Robert Hillingford counted many of the most famous art collectors of the 19th century including Thomas Baring of the famous banking dynasty, the King of Württemberg, Prince Michel Kotchoubey, and many of the newly monied industrialists of Manchester and Halifax. Between 1864 and 1902 Hillingford exhibited at the Royal Academy, the British Institution, and the Royal Society of British Artists in London.

‘The Hillingford Chronicles’, a detailed account of the life and work of the artist, can be found at the News & Articles section of the Academy Fine Paintings website.

Academy Fine Paintings only offers artwork for sale in the finest condition it can be for its age, having been professionally cleaned, conserved, and re-varnished. Clients should also note that tracked and signed for international shipping is complimentary.

Dimensions: (framed) 71cm x 96cm (28” x 37½”)

Dimensions: (canvas only) 51cm x 76cm (20” x 30”)

Medium: Oil on canvas.

Provenance: Private collection.

Presentation: Fine quality gold metal leaf frame.

Condition: Very good. Professionally cleaned and re-varnished. Ready to hang.



    Your Name*

    Your Email*

    Work of Art

    Your Message

    * required