- Museum number
- Object: Tragedy. Comedy
Duroc, wounded in the hip, falls backwards, breaking his fall with his right hand. His sabre, broken, lies beside him. Napoleon faces him, his head in profile to the left, looking down and weeping; in his left hand is a handkerchief; he contemptuously snaps his right forefinger and thumb. The Devil, a huge head between webbed wings, hovers over them. Duroc says: "Dear Master in this world I've served you right well / Have you any commands for the other." Napoleon answers: "Dear Duroc I need not your interest in Hell / For the Devil's my best friend and brother." Both are burlesqued, and wear uniforms heavily trimmed with gold. Behind Duroc a decollated head lies on the ground; a battle rages in the background.
A pair of scales hangs from the Prince's feathers, with 'Ich Dien' on a scroll; one bowl, the lower (left), is inscribed 'Protestant', the other 'Catholic'. Three men tug at a rope passed over the 'Catholic' bowl; a fourth stands with them, holding up a decanter and drinking a toast. They are (left to right) the Duke of Sussex, wearing his apron as Grand Master of the Freemasons; he says: "Pull away boy[s] & the Protestant Establishment must kick the beam"; the Duke of Kent, in regimentals, in back view, saying, "Hurra! Catholicism for ever"; Lord Holland (?) who says: "As Chairman, I drink the Prince Regent in solemn silence!!!"; Lord Grey, facing Sussex in profile, says: "The Catholic Faith & all the Talents! Pull boys— pull!!!" Close beside them (right) is a large cask on which stands Whitbread holding a frothing tankard, and pointing to the Prince's feathers; he says: "Here's down with the Plume." He is supposedly a statue, standing on a slab inscribed 'J. (a pig is depicted, signifying Bacon) Sculptor'. The cask, which serves as pedestal, is inscribed 'Erected / Gratitude by / Drury Lane / To / Sam W. . . Esqr / the brewer of. . .' A label from the mouth of Sheridan, who lies drunkenly on his back against the barrel and under Grey's legs, floats across the cask: 'Bacon and Beer / Very good cheer!'
1 July 1813
- Production date
Height: 188 millimetres (plate)
Width: 364 millimetres (plate)
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
See No. 12061. Duroc was with Napoleon and other officers at Bautzen when he was wounded by a bullet which ricocheted from a tree; Napoleon did not notice it till he saw Le Brun in tears, speaking low to Caulaincourt. The text (p. 3), after citing a French account of Duroc's death, attacks Napoleon as a 'Damnable hypocrite . . .': 'the cold-blooded assassin of the cabinet, and the demon of horror in the field, dares to mock the misery of mankind'.
Broadley, i. 334 f.
The text (pp. 4-7) is an attack on the Opposition and the Catholic Relief Bill. On 10 June a dinner was given by the 'Friends of Religious Liberty' to the Catholic Delegates (to support the abortive Emancipation Bill, see No. 12016) at which the Dukes of Kent and Sussex were present, and speeches by Whitbread and Lord Holland were particularly eloquent. Since the conviction of Leigh Hunt, cf. No. 12006, it had become customary for the Whig newspapers to record hisses or disapprobation when the Regent's health was drunk. It had also become customary to drink the King's health in silence, on account of his illness and seclusion; 'as a subtle stroke of humour' the Prince's health was also drunk in silence, and was so drunk on 10 June. See 'Examiner', 1813, pp. 301-2, 376. The Duke of Sussex succeeded the Regent (who had held office for twenty-two years) as Grand Master of the Free Masons in 1813. A form of disparagement to the Regent was applause for his Whiggish brothers, Kent and Sussex. A bust of Whitbread by Bacon had recently been placed in 'the principal saloon of Drury Lane Theatre'. 'Europ. Mag.' lxiii. 454. Cf. No. 11993.
The two scenes on a single plate were given two different catalogue numbers by George, but the sheet has only one register number.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number