- Museum number
- Object: The Imperial embrace- on the- raft- or Boneys new drop.
Napoleon (l.) and Alexander embrace on a raft of planks in the river Niemen. Napoleon (l.), wearing an enormous bicome, seizes Alexander by the back of the head and the shoulder, dislodging his crown which falls off. His pursed lips advance menacingly to the frightened Tsar, whose hand is on Napoleon's waist. The raft tilts downwards (r.) and is swamped where the King of Prussia has slipped into the water. Napoleon says: "My Dear Brother - recieve this Fraternal Embrace out of pure affection!" Alexander responds: "Zounds Brother you'll squeeze me to death - besides I find my side of the raft is sinking very fast! -" Frederick William, trying to recover his crown which floats away in the waves washing over the raft, says: "What a Prussian Cake I was to listen to him - I am afraid I shall never recover it." On each side of the raft barges are moored in which troops of the two emperors stand at attention, with trumpeters and drummer. Those on the left have tricolour flags and an imperial eagle; on the left are flags with the Russian eagle. The hills of the background are outlined by tents. July 1807
- Production date
Height: 237 millimetres
Width: 331 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
After his victory at Friedland, 14 June, Napoleon had a friendly meeting with the Tsar, on 25 June, on a raft moored in the Niemen, the King of Prussia waiting on the bank (in the rain) to learn the result. The two emperors landed from boats simultaneously and embraced each other, Alexander having a already expressed his desire for a Franco-Russian Alliance 'to secure happiness and peace for the world'. See Butterworth, 'Peace Tactics of Napoleon', 1929, p. 254 f. On the raft was a magnificent pavilion. The meeting is the subject of Napoleon's 86th Bulletin, 25 June. The negotiations culminated in Treaty of Tilsit, signed 7 July, when Prussia lost half her territory. 'Cake' is slang for 'fool', 'gull', or 'blockhead'. For 'Prussian Cake' cf. BMSats 10602, 10145, 10756, 10763. Cf. also BMSat 10646; for Tilsit see also BMSats 10751, 10755, 10756, 10757, 10758, 10760, 10762, 10763, 10775, 10970, 11015, 11054.
Broadley, i. 254 (reproduction), 259.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
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