- Museum number
- Object: Billingsgate at Bayonne or the Imperial Dinner!
Napoleon, enthroned on a dais, faces one end of a table at which the Spanish royal family is dining. At the opposite end (l.) Queen Maria Louisa, a dishevelled coarse-featured termagant wearing a crown, yells at Prince Ferdinand. They face each other, hands on hips, both having risen from their chairs. She screams: "Now you Villain I'II tell you to your face-and before my dear Friend Boney - You are no child of the Kings. - So you may shut up shop." [Partridge, 'Slang Dict'., attributes the phrase 'shut up shop' = 'be silent' to c. 1850.] He says: "Madam I know all your tricks, and all the tricks of your prince of the peace." A man (? Don Carlos) seated on the farther side of the table, puts his fork to his mouth, saying, "I wish they would let me be at peace." Two younger children sit together on a stool, behind Ferdinand; one says: "Brother dont mind her, we the Infants acknowledge you." Facing each other at the right. end of the table sit Godoy and Charles IV. The former is in back view, but turns his head to shout at the Queen: "Am not I the great Zavallos - will you be silent." The King, wearing a night-cap, plays the violin, with eyes turned upward and towards his wife; he says: "I wish they would let a poor old King play quietly on his fiddle." Napoleon, wearing a plumed bicorne and uniform, rises from his throne to say, with clenched fists: "I'll tell you what if you make such a Riot at my Table - I'll be d - d if I dont send you all to the round House."
10 July 1808.
- Production date
Height: 242 millimetres
Width: 340 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
In the violent quarrel at Bayonne (5 May) between Charles IV, Ferdinand, and the Queen, the Queen attacked Ferdinand 'with a stream of abuse worthy of a fishwife' (Oman, Hist, of the 'Peninsular War', i. 53), and is said to have told him he was illegitimate. 'Ann'. Reg., 1808, p. 155 f. Napoleon intervened and quelled Ferdinand by threatening to treat him as a rebel if he did not at once restore the crown to his father (who had abdicated owing to the revolt in Aranjuez in March). Napoleon said no one could imagine 'the hatred of the mother for her son or of the son for his father and mother ... he would try to break into the conversation so as not to soil his ears with so much that was disgusting'. Caulaincourt, 'Memoirs', 1935, i. 456. The two youngest children are the Duke of Cadiz and the Infanta Maria: their title accounts for their youthfulness in the print (see BMSat 10998). See BMSat 10990, &c.
Grego, 'Rowlandson', ii. 93 f. Broadley, i. 270.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number