- Museum number
- Object: The genius of France extirpating despotism tyranny & oppression from the face of the earth or the royal worriors defeated
The Genius of France is a comely young woman wearing a Phrygian cap who stands on the extreme right, stopping the advance of an ass on which princes of Europe are seated; she threatens them with a scourge of many lashes, saying, "I am Determin'd to Inflict Death on all Despots & Oppressors." The lashes are inscribed: 'Religious Bigots', 'Aristocrats who screen'd by their unjust Privileges rob Tradesmen of their Property', 'Monopolizer of Provisions to Distress the Poor', 'Perverters of Public Justice', 'Oppressers of the People', 'The Increase of Tyranny', 'The Stretch of Prerogative', 'The Abuse of Power', 'Despotism'.
The ass is being pushed down on its haunches; under its feet lies Louis XVI, into whose mouth it is excreting; he is inscribed 'France'. On the animal's back are figures representing 'Prussia', 'Germany', 'Russia', 'Sweeden', and 'Brunswick'. The foremost is Frederick William II with a raised club, behind him sits Francis II, with half his crown broken off. On his shoulders, and dominating the group, sits the termagant Catherine, raising her sceptre to smite France, and almost throttling the Emperor, who says, "Let go you Bitch I d'ont like the Looks of her let's be Off." Behind the Empress is the King of Sweden (actually a boy of fourteen), who clutches her legs, saying, "This Business Stinks Cursedly". Behind him the Duke of Brunswick falls backwards to the ground, saying, "Ive lost my Place". In the middle distance (left) another ass plunges violently, heels in air: the Sultan of 'Turkey', waving a sabre, keeps his seat, but says, "I shall never get back to the Seraglio again." The Emperor of China falls headlong; 'Spain' clings to Turkey. Three unidentified sovereigns are falling from the ass, their crowns flying from their heads. In the foreground (left) a woman, inscribed 'Portugal', sits on the ground, holding her crown, and tearing her dishevelled hair. (Maria I of Portugal was insane.) 21 December 1792.
- Production date
Height: 283 millimetres
Width: 384 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
A satire on the reverses of the allies. The French under Custine had occupied Spires, Worms, and Mayence (Sept.-Oct.). Savoy was invaded in Sept. and on 27 Nov. was declared incorporated with France. Nice was occupied on 28 Sept. For the defeat of Brunswick see BMSat 8125, &c. Jemappes, 6 Nov., was followed by the occupation of Brussels. The print has little relation to the actual situation, but is favourable to the French Republic. For the leading part given to Catherine II cf. BMSat 8124.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number