Manuscripts and Special Collections

Charging Against Napoleon: Wellington's Campaigns in the Peninsular Wars and at Waterloo

This exhibition ran from 22 May to 6 September 2015.

The exhibition was jointly curated by Richard Gaunt (Associate Professor of History in the School of Humanities) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Charging Against Napoleon exhibition poster

The exhibition, timed to coincide with the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, reflected on the later stages of the Napoleonic Wars, which were fought between Britain, France and their allies from 1803, and which came to an end with the Battle of Waterloo on the 18 June 1815. The exhibition focused on the period from the Peninsular Wars in Spain and Portugal in 1808 to the end of hostilities seven years later.

Drawing on the material from The University of Nottingham's collections, the exhibition assessed the nature and impact of the war and its consequences. The displays described key moments in the conflict, charted the rise to prominence of military commanders such as the Duke of Wellington and revealed Nottinghamshire's contribution to the war effort.

The exhibition also explored the wider legacy of the wars. In Spain, British forces fought alongside those seeking liberation from foreign conquest. In Britain, the return of peace was accompanied by new demands for political and social change.

Listen again

Lakeside Arts Centre

Listen to audio recordings of the lunchtime talks given by external speakers that accompanied the exhibition.

Exhibition poster


Detail from 'The Battle of Waterloo' by H. Chartier, poster image for Charging Against Napoleon exhibition

Click on the image above to see a larger version of the poster. 

Exhibition themes

The exhibition boards which were displayed in the Weston Gallery are available to download:

The exhibition boards focused on the British response to the Napoleonic Wars, telling the stories of local people who fought abroad, and describing the formation of local Volunteer forces to defend the United Kingdom against invasion. They also recalled various later efforts to memorialise the Wars by the creation of detailed plans, artworks, and models.

Unfortunately it is not possible to display representations of the original archive material which featured in the exhibition cases.

Visitor comments

A well constructed exhibition as always. More please.

Really enjoy visiting these exhibitions on my lunch break.

A great exhibition – education and accessible.

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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

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