Care for Collections

Franco-Prussian War Caricatures
Franco-Prussian War caricatures

These historical caricature volumes need to be rebacked, cleaned and repaired.

Your donation can help to make them fit for Reader access again.

Donate now


Thank you everyone who helped us successfully raise £980 to conserve one volume of these caricatures. There are two more volumes that need conserving, please help us raise the total to £2,960 to treat all three volumes.

Head of Conservation, British Library

“Conservation is vital - if items are not in a fit condition to be handled then they cannot be used. Your support will help us to treat items and return them to the shelf quickly.” 

Cordelia Rogerson
Head of Conservation

A collection of French and German caricatures from the Franco-Prussian War and the Commune, 1870 - 1871

This small collection of two volumes of French and one volume of German caricatures is part of our world-class collection of caricatures from the Franco-Prussian war and Paris Commune of 1870-1871. The British Library holds around 2,500 caricatures produced between the fall of the French emperor Napoleon III in September 1870 following defeat in the Franco-Prussian war, the Siege of Paris, and the Paris Commune of 1871 in three separate collections bound in 55 volumes.

Teresa Vernon, our curator of French studies, shares highlights from this collection illustrating Napoleon III’s defeat by the Prussians and the two sieges of Paris.

No comparable collection exists in the UK, and, although many of these images are preserved in different parts of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, these are not collected in easy to access bound volumes as at the British Library. The collection contains caricatures of all the leading statesmen of the period (Napoleon III, the German chancellor Bismarck, etc), as well as illustrating social customs. It is also an important resource for the study of caricature as many important caricaturists are represented in the collection. The other two much larger collections have already been conserved and are now fit for use, so our challenge now is to raise sufficient funds to complete the work on the whole collection.

Condition: The spines are loose, and the boards completely detached. The title pages are loose. There are many damaged pages with tears and cracks throughout, and the pages are quite dirty. At present the collection is unfit to issue to readers.

How your donation will help: The dirt will be removed, pages will be repaired or reinforced, and the volumes will be rebacked using the original boards. This treatment will render the volumes fit for reader access. You can help conserve these historically important caricatures by making a donation now.

Caricatures   Caricatures

Caricatures   Caricatures


£ 1,045

raised of £2,960 goal

Thank you for helping us raise the first £980 needed to conserve one volume of these caricatures. Please consider another donation towards the stretch goal of £2,960 which will help to repair all three volumes and make them fit for use in our Reading Rooms again. 


Here are some of the items that your donations have helped us save in the last few months.

Catalogue of household itemsThe Book of Common Prayer [and] The Psalter or Psalms of David, 1797 thought to have been destroyed by WWII bombing

Catalogue of household items

A catalogue of the household furniture…of the RT. Hon. Lady Vere Bertie, deceased, 1779. Its cover was worn and parts were missing.