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Turner made a special detour from Melun in order to see the palace of Fontainebleau. For it was there in 1814 that Napoleon had been forced to abdicate. Turner depicts the moment related in Soctt's biography when, after resigning himself to his defeat by the Allies, Napoleon addressed the Imperial Guard in the court in front of the château. In the sky above Turner placed a falling comet, symbolic of the Emperor's fate. Many years later, in the early 1840s, Turner seems to have toyed with the idea of producing another set of images commemorating Napoleon's life, one of which is inscribed 'Adieu Fontainebleau', presumably echoing the idea of the earlier subject.

June 1999