- Museum number
- Object: The afterpiece to the tragedy of Waterloo-or- Madame Françoise & her managers!!!
France, or 'Mme Françoise', is a woman, larger in scale than the other figures, whom the Allies pinion, plunder, and maltreat. She is on the ground on her back, supported on her arms, with a heavy fetter attached to her left wrist and right leg. She wears a décolletée high-waisted dress, with bare arms and legs; her hair is loose. Wellington (right) kneels to hammer to the ground an iron plate attached to her left wrist: Alexander (left) locks a large padlock by which her chained left leg is linked to a staple in the ground. The former says: ""We enter France as Friends"—well, I've crippled her Arms if that will do her any good." The Tsar says: ""It is necessary that France shod be great & powerfull in order to keep up the Ballance of Power for the security of Europe" [see No. 12558] But 'tis the great I who must preponderate in this Ballance." Beside him stands a fat Dutchman representing William I; he stoops over Mme Françoise to cut off with scissors a part of the skirt of her dress, inscribed 'Netherlands'. He is dressed like the Dutchman in English caricature in bulky breeches and short jacket, but over his shoulders is the ribbon of an order. In his hat is a tobacco-pipe. On the extreme left. Francis I raises a mallet in both hands to hammer the staple by which the chain held by the Tsar is attached to the ground. He says: "We come to restore France to her Ancient rights & Liberties." A figure in armour which bristles with ferocious spikes represents the armed forces of the Allies. The face is covered by the helmet which is topped by a small cannon with six large feathers waving from the touch-hole; the largest, in the centre, is inscribed 'England', the others are 'Russia', 'Prussia', 'Austria', with 'Holland' (small) and 'Sweeden' (drooping). This monster plants one foot on the stomach of Mme Françoise, while he uses a musket whose bayonet has been converted into a spoon to cram tiny figures into her mouth. The fat posterior and gouty legs of the half-swallowed Louis XVIII project from her mouth; the others are lined up on the spoon, eager to be swallowed: the foremost is the Duchesse d'Angoulême, with outstretched arms. The other three must be her husband, the Cte d'Artois, and the Duc de Berry; they have a flag inscribed 'Les Bourbons'. Behind the victim's right shoulder stands Blücher, lunging forward to drag a large purse from her pocket, and to seize the miniature of 'Napoleon' which hangs from her necklace. He says: ""France shall choose her own rulers" only she must have the Bourbons we know what is best for her & ourselves too." Behind her Castlereagh walks off to the right, holding up a mural crown bristling with guns and a bonnet rouge, both of which he has just snatched from her head. He turns his head in profile, saying: "It delights me when I see a Country enjoy her Old established Privileges—My Own Country to wit." In the foreground beside La France lie a damaged laurel-wreath, a broken spear, and a shattered shield inscribed 'Napoleon le Grand'.
In the middle distance soldiers stand at attention with fixed bayonets and in close formation, watching the proceedings. In front of them (right) three soldiers walk off to the right, heavily burdened. The first two have baskets on their shoulders. The first is heaped with feathers, and is inscribed 'Borrowed Feathers'. From the second, 'Borrowed Ornaments', project miniature statues: a woman and a horse. The third carries a picture on his shoulder and a portfolio under his arm. Behind, on rising ground above the tips of the soldiers' bayonets, are two scenes. On the left a rectangular pilastered building stands upside down, poised on the apex of its roof. Above it is a scroll inscribed 'Louvre 1815'. Beside it (right) is an enormous placard, decorated with fleurs-de-lis and inscribed: 'In consequence of the "removal of the pictures & other things", The public are respectfly inform'd That this Buildg will in future be used as a Bastile—artists are therefore invited to send in plans of alteration, improvement &c &c— NB The Holy Inquisition of Spain have kindly ojferd to supply the necessary instruments.' Frenchmen (left) stare at the building with amazement. An officer looks through a telescope, saying, "Ah! Dear me I see they have turn'd it inside out." A civilian turns to his companions, shrugging his shoulders: "By gar! it is not like de same place as it vas." As a pendant to this, John Bull, a countryman, stands on a grassy plateau (right). He watches the Allies with a delighted grin, saying, "My soul but they are befriending Mumzel Franca indeed!!—Well I've no objection to their rendering her all that sort of assistance in their Power, for she well deserves it! Only they didn't mention all this fun in their Proclamations!!!!" A curtain draped from the upper margin gives the semblance of a proscenium.
9 November 1815
- Production date
Height: 250 millimetres
Width: 350 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
For the return of the Bourbons under Allied protection see No. 12609, &c. Wellington's proclamation, 21 June, began: 'I announce to the French that I enter their Territory at the head of an army already victorious, not as an enemy (except of the Usurper . . . with whom there can be neither peace nor truce), but to aid them to shake off the iron yoke by which they are oppressed.' 'Ann. Reg.', 1815, p. 392. He had difficulty in checking, and could not prevent, pillage by the Prussians. The treaty of 1815, by adhering (with minor adjustments) to the frontiers of 1790 instead of 1792, gave some additions to the Netherlands, but the satire seems to attack the delivery of the Netherlands (in 1813-14) from France, and the re-establishment of the House of Orange, cf. No. 12102. For the restoration of the works of art see No. 12619, &c. The words of John Bull admit that public opinion in England was opposed to the attitude of this and other prints published by Hone in 1815, and having the character of political tracts. Actually, owing to Castlereagh and Wellington, Russia and Britain were united to prevent Prussia from dismembering France, while insisting on guarantees against French aggression. See C. K. Webster, 'The Foreign Policy of Castlereagh', i, 1931, pp. 457 ff.
Reid, No. 513. Cohn, No. 874. Broadley, ii. 14-15.
- Not on display
- Associated names
Associated with: Alexander I, Tsar of Russia
Associated with: Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duc d'Angoulême
Associated with: Marie Thérèse Charlotte de France, Madame Royale, Duchess of Angoulême
Associated with: Charles X, King of France and Navarre
Associated with: Charles Ferdinand, Duc de Berry
Associated with: Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Associated with: Robert Stewart, Viscount Castlereagh and 2nd Marquess of Londonderry
Associated with: Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Francis I, Emperor of Austria
Associated with: Louis XVIII, King of France
Associated with: Napoléon I, Emperor of the French
Associated with: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Associated with: William I, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxemburg
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number