- Museum number
- Object: The Present State of Europe; A Political Farce of Four Acts, as it is now in Rehearsal, by all the Potentates, Anno Dom: MDCCLXI Act the Ist.
Satire on the relationship between combatant nations in the Seven Years War. A sea-shore with the island of Corsica in the background, the towns of Calvi and Bastia indicated, the latter under bombardment. In the foreground, from left to right: the Doge of Genoa weeps into his cloak, bewailing the loss of Corsica to the French; the Russian bear looks menacingly at the Danish dog which chews a bone representing the Duchy of Schleswig; the Swedish dog defends its territory in Pomerania from the approach of a Prussian hussar with a rod and collar; Empress Elizabeth of Russia turns towards Empress Maria Theresa who is falling forward revealing her legs; Frederick the Great of Prussia, playing the bawdy ballad "The Black Joke" on his flute, suggests to a Prussian Hussar ("Scheiter", probably General Hans Joachim von Zieten who had defeated the Austrian army at Liegnitz in 1760) that he attack the Austrian Netherlands, but is met with the reply that they are not worth plundering; in the background, the pope urges Spain to assist France (Louis XV), encouraged by the Devil who is the fourth member of the "Quadruple Alliance"; in the foreground, a triumphant British lion urinates on the French cock. 1761
Etching and engraving
- Production date
Height: 252 millimetres
Width: 378 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- For the other three prints in the series, see BM Satires 3821, 3929 and 3930. "A Print, representing the present State of Europe; a Political Farce in Four Acts" was announced for publication in the Public Advertiser, 12 November 1761.
Frederick the Great was a keen flautist who composed a number of works for the instrument.
The "two Houmourous Prints on the Present Time" referred to at the foot of the sheet have not been identified.
The animals in this print, particularly the lion and the bear, appear to have been copied from the work of Jefferyes Hamett O'Neale (perhaps from the Ladies Amusement, a pattern book first published by Sayer in 1760), but the composition as a whole is not in O'Neale's style.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Seven Years War 1756-1763
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number