The grisly art of Revolutionary France

There was a basket of thick red wool and two pairs of large knitting needles at the start of University College London’s cleverly curated exhibition, Witnessing Terror: French Revolutionary Prints 1792–94. Visitors were invited to contribute their own lines of stitches before picking up a copy of A Tale of Two Cities, in which Dickens fictionalised the tricoteuses, the women who gathered around the guillotine knitting and waiting for heads to roll. The first six prints are French portraits of ‘revolutionary martyrs’ ranging from Louis XVI, wearing the bonnet rouge, or red cap of liberty, that was placed on his head when the crowd broke into the Tuileries Palace in