The Battle of the Great Redan, Sebastopol, 1855
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Overall: 27cm (10.6in) x 30.5cm (12in)
Oil on board. A depiction of British troops of General Sir William Codrington’s Light Division assaulting the Great Redan at the Fall of Sebastopol on 8 September 1855. In the distance the French tricolor, famously raised by Zouave Eugène Libaut, flies over the Malakoff Redoubt, having been successfully stormed by the French 1st Division under General MacMahon.
To the minds of many Victorians the attack of 8 September 1855 on the Great Redan before Sebastopol was seen as the crowning moment of the Crimean War. Although initially successful, the British attack was a failure because the Great Redan, which was little more than an open backed position could not be retained in the face determined Russian counterattacks, whereas the Malakoff, being a tower surrounded by a moat, allowed the French to mount a defence that ultimately made the Russian occupation of the city it overlooked untenable.
Gustav Otto Müller (1827-1922) was a German painter and an acquaintance of the famous German author Karl May. Müller was known primarily as a military painter, but also produced landscapes and genre paintings. He studied from 1842 to 1846 at the Dresden Academy. From 1865 he worked as a drawing master at the Royal Cadet School. From 1870 he was Inspector of the Royal Picture Gallery in Dresden, and Keeper of Pictures from 1908.