- Museum number
- Object: The Congress disolved before the cake was cut up-
The Powers of Europe surround a Twelfth Cake, as in No. 12453, but, as in No. 12522, they are interrupted by the return of Napoleon (left). He dashes in, trampling on the documents containing the achievements or aspirations of the Congress: 'Decrees of the Congress'; 'An Account of the Deliverance of Europe'; 'A Plan for the Security of Europe'. He is in profile to the right, holding up a large sabre, and pointing with a minatory forefinger. He says: "Avast ye Bunglers, the Cake you have been these six months disputing about, the Cutting up I will do in as many hours [cf. No. 9544]." He wears the large plumed bicorne of earlier prints, with gauntlets and spurred jack-boots; his sash and coat-tails fly out behind him. The cake covers the surface of a round table. The monarch nearest to Napoleon is the Tsar, who drops knife and fork, and turns round in his chair, with extended arms, saying, "who the Devil would have expected you here—this is mal a propos." Next, and on the farther side of the cake, is the King of Prussia, seated opposite a portion inscribed 'Saxony'; he drops his knife and says with shocked disapproval: "I thought England had promised to guard him!!!!" Shrinking behind Frederick William is the Emperor of Austria; he grasps his knife, saying, "Hold him Seise him." These three wear crowns. Next sits the Pope, holding up both hands, and exclaiming "Oh! dear Oh! dear what will become of me." He wears a grotesque tiara with a wide brim; his portion of cake is inscribed 'Italy'. Next is a handsome man wearing a fur cap decorated with a star which indicates Poland in these prints. His arms are folded, and he says, looking to the right, "Who'll begin? there's the Rub!!!" He sits near 'Poland'. Next on the cake is 'Sweeden'; Bernadotte stands behind Poland, with arms raised, shouting: "Seize him, Kill him." In the foreground (right) is Wellington, who has risen from his chair, and stands about to draw his sword, the only silent and unalarmed witness of Napoleon's entry. Behind his chair, and on the extreme right, crouches a terrified king, whose ruff indicates Ferdinand VII; he screams "aye why dont you Kill him." In front of the cake and next to Wellington a small man crouches, his chair overturned, arms extended, exclaiming "Stop him stop him." He is opposite 'Norway'. Between him and the Tsar a grotesque Dutchman, representing the new King of Holland, has fallen on his back, overturning a stool; he is more burlesqued than the others, resembling a clown, and exclaims: "O! Donder & Blixen! my Hollands is allgone." A bottle of 'Hollands' ['Schiedam' according to Broadley] lies on the floor beside him, spilling its contents. In the background (left), through the doorway by which Napoleon has entered, are seen grinning French soldiers, with bayonets and wearing bonnets rouges.
6 April 1815.
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 395 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
One of several prints of the Congress (see No. 12453, &c.) disturbed by Napoleon's return, see No. 12528, &c. The identity of the frightened little man opposite 'Norway' is doubtful: either a personification of Norway, or Prince Christian of Denmark, proclaimed constitutional King in 1814 but forced by the Allies (pledged to Bernadotte, see No. 11921) to yield the country to Sweden.
Reid, No. 474. Cohn, No. 1011. Broadley, i. 378. De Vinck, No. 9520.
- Not on display
- Associated names
Associated with: Alexander I, Tsar of Russia
Associated with: Karl XIV Johan, King of Sweden and Norway (Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte)
Associated with: Ferdinand VII, King of Spain
Associated with: Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Francis I, Emperor of Austria
Associated with: Frederick William III, King of Prussia
Associated with: Napoléon I, Emperor of the French
Associated with: Pope Pius VII
Associated with: Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Associated with: William I, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxemburg
Associated with: Christian VIII, King of Denmark
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number