Order of release 1746 (1853) by the English painterJohn Everett Millais (1829–1896). Millais depicts here the wife of a rebel Scottish soldier arriving with an order of release for her husband who has been imprisoned after the Jacobite rising of 1745. Finally the war is over. It's kind of typical for Millais that heroism is much more with the civilians, the non-combatants.
History painting dates back to the Renaissance and was long considered to be the "grand genre". Nevertheless it has its peak in the 19th century forged by Neoclassicism and Romanticism. There it became the artistic contribution in the process of the construction of National Identities of the European and American nations.
At the same time history painting under the influence of historism pretended to be "realistic", to show history how it has been. Above all it was this pretension that led to the great failure of History painting AND Realism at the end of the century.
When artists and their public realized that telling history always will be subjective and a painting will always be an illusion Realism and history painting lost their ground to modern painting.