British Museum collections, £12.99
Height: 315.000 mm
Width: 234.000 mm
Prints and Drawings
George Cruikshank, Snuffing out Boney, an etching
Published London, England, AD 1814
A caricature of Napoleon as a candle being extinguished by a Cossack soldier
Born into a family of printmakers, George Cruikshank (1792-1878) was by 1820 so successful in his own right that he received one hundred pounds, 'in consideration of a pledge not to caricature His Majesty [George IV] in any immoral situation'. His work as a book illustrator included Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe (1831), and Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist (1838), bringing him international recognition.
The Napoleonic Wars provided Cruikshank with plenty of material for his political satires. This print was published in 1814 after the Allied invasion of France and Napoleon's unconditional abdication. The scene looks back to the ill-fated Russian campaign of 1812 which had sown the seeds of Napoleon's downfall. A huge Cossack soldier using a pair of candle snuffers extinguishes the tiny emperor.
M.D. George, Catalogue of political and p-1 (London, 1949)
J. Buchanan Brown, The book illustrations of Geor (Newton Abbot, David & Charles, 1980)
R.L. Patten, George Cruikshanks life, times (Cambridge, Lutterworth Press, 1992)