Celebrating Waterloo’s 200th in words and music

A detail from a 19th century screen depicting the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball

There won’t be any cannon-fire or grapeshot: instead, an event today in the Central Library at Flinders University will evoke the Battle of Waterloo through readings, talks and music.

The battle – fought 200 years ago yesterday – was an event of global consequence, putting a final halt to the military resurgence of Napoleon, emperor and general, and ending ambitions of French rule over Europe.

The program for Remembering Waterloo: End of an Era and Beginning of a Myth will include readings from contemporary accounts and literary and poetic responses to the battle, as well as performances of music and songs composed to mark the closely contested victory of the Duke of Wellington’s British forces and their allies over Napoleon’s army.

As well as describing the course of the battle itself, Waterloo scholar Bas de Groot will present a talk on the famous Duchess of Richmonds’s Ball, which took place on the eve of the battle.

His account will have the advantage of a visual reference in the form of a 19th century painted screen portraying the ball, which is part of the Flinders Library’s Heap-Mannam collection.

Also appearing on the program will be Flinders academics from the School of Humanities, Professor Graham Tulloch and Dr Eric Parisot.

The free event is open to the public will run from 2pm to 5pm in the Noel Stockdale Room of the Central Library at Flinders.

Flinders Library runs regular public events of cultural interest throughout the year as part of its Fridays at the Library program.

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