- Museum number
- Object: John Bull guarding the toy-shop, -or Boney crying for some more play things
A fat elderly volunteer stands, legs astride, outside the shop of 'Fores Carac[a]turist to [t]h[e] First Consu[l]', looking down our contempt at Napoleon (r.), who stands in profile to the left. pointing a forefinger at the shop-window, his handkerchief to his eye. The latter wears his huge bicorne and sabre; he says: "Pray Mr Bull let me have some of the Toys if tis only that little one in the corner." John answers: "I tell you - you shant touch one of them - so blubber away and be d-d". Only a part of the window of a corner-shop is visible, fronted with iron railings. The panes are filled, not with prints, but with models of London buildings: 'India House', 'St James's', 'Bank', at which Napoleon points, 'Costom House', 'The Treasury', 'Tower'. Behind Napoleon and in the middle distance are houses drawn with little regard to topography. 29 October 1803
- Production date
Height: 255 millimetres
Width: 350 millimetres
- Curator's comments
The print shop in this satirical image is identified in its window as ‘Fores Caracaturist to the First Consul’. From 1799 to 1804, the First Consul of France was Napoleon Bonaparte ('Boney'). The image suggests that the feared French invasion of 1803 has already occurred. The print was published by Samuel William Fores, a successful printer of caricatures and the owner of a print shop at 50, Piccadilly, between 1784 and 1820. Instead of the usual printed caricatures filling the window panes, there are images of major London buildings: East India House, St James's Palace, the Custom House, the Treasury, the Tower and the Bank of England. A child-like Napoleon sees the print-shop as a toy-shop and the buildings, representing the royal and financial establishment of England, as mere playthings. Boney points to the ‘Bank’ and cries, “Pray Mr. Bull let me have some of the Toys if ‘tis only that little one in the corner”. His arch-enemy in these satires is the robust John Bull, here dressed in the regiment of the Volunteers, who replies, “you shant touch one of them - so blubber away and be d-----d.” Such prints encouraged British patriots to join the Volunteers in the defence of Britain against a foreign invasion.
(Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
The shop is the one recently (1939) demolished (and so occasioning Messrs. Fores to remove to Bond Street). The earlier shop, 3 Piccadilly, is depicted in BMSat 6961. For Napoleon and the Bank see BMSat 10131, &c.
Broadley, i. 53, 203. Reproduced, Wheeler and Broadley, ii. 272.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
2018 12 Jan-11 Mar, BM, 90a, Pots with Attitude: British satire on ceramics
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number