- Museum number
- Object: The Corsican Tiger at Bay
Napoleon, 'Corsican Tiger', with the body of a tiger, and wearing his feathered bicorne, puts his fore-paws on a bunch of four yelping and prostrate dogs, one with a collar inscribed 'Royal Greyhound' (the collars of the others being hidden). He turns his head in profile to the left. to glare savagely at a pack of 'Patriotic Greyhounds'. The two foremost bark fiercely at him, their heads close to his, others are streaking down a steep hill (l.) towards him. Narrow water divides the land on which Napoleon stands from three other projecting pieces of land on the r. In the foreground a 'Dutch Frog' sits smoking a pipe and watching the conflict, saying, "It will be my turn to have a slap at him next." On a cliff behind the frog 'Iohn Bull', a 'cit', stands aiming his musket at the tiger; he says:
"There was a little Man
And he had a little gun,
And his Bullets were made of lead
D------n me but we'll manage him amongst us."
On a more distant plain a bear on its hind legs faces an eagle with three crowned heads: they are 'Russian Bear & Austrian Eagle', and are linked together by a heavy chain attached to collars on the bear and eagle. The eagle says: "Now Brother Bruin is the time to break our chains." 8 July 1808
- Production date
Height: 254 millimetres
Width: 355 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
Insurrection broke out in Madrid on 2 May against the French army under Murat, after news from Bayonne, see BMSat 10990, &c. Though immediately and ruthlessly crushed, Spain rose in arms between 29 May and 10 June. See BMSat 10997, &c. For Napoleon's treatment of the Spanish Bourbons see BMSat 10990, &c.; the dogs under his paws are probably the King and Queen, Ferdinand, and Don Carlos. The events of 1813-14 are prophetically anticipated, and rightly attributed to the 'Spanish ulcer'. (Cf. especially The 'Corsican Blood-Hound . . .' (1813), based on this design.) For Napoleon as tiger cf. BMSat 10254.
There is a state (not in B.M.[Bodleian Library, Curzon collection]) with the same imprint and an additional Spanish title, 'El Tigre Corso Atacado', with marginal translations of the English inscriptions, John Bull being 'Juan Toro'. Reproduced, Broadley, ii. 162.
Grego, 'Rowlandson', ii. 93. Broadley, i. 269 f. Reproduced, Grand-Carteret, 'Napoléon', No. 196.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1989/90 Nov-Jan, Glasgow Mus & AG, World of Thomas Rowlandson
1990 Jan-Mar, Leicester City AG, World of Thomas Rowlandson
1990/1 Nov-Jan, Maidstone Museum, World of Thomas Rowlandson
1991 Jan-Mar, Swansea, Glynn Vivian AG, World of Thomas Rowlandson
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number