- Museum number
- Object: Boney the Second or the little babboon created to devour French monkies
The little King of Rome sits in his cradle, between the proudly protecting arms of Marie Louise, who kneels behind him. The infant has an adult head resembling that of his father, and a tail; he wears a replica of Napoleon's cocked hat. He holds out his arms to Napoleon, who sits by the fire, holding out a napkin to dry. The Emperor looks fondly at the child, saying, "Rejoice O ye Frenchmen, the Fruits of my Labour has produced a little Image of myself, I shall for the love I owe to your Country instill in my Noble Ofspring the same principles of Lying thieving treachery Letchery Murder and all other foul deeds for which I am now Worshipped and Adored". Behind and between the Emperor and Empress, a bishop (? Cardinal Fesch) kneels over the infant, his hands folded as if in prayer; he repeats the words of Henry VI to Gloucester before his murder by the latter:
"The Owl shriek'd at thy Birth, an evil Sight
The Night Crow cry'd foreboding luckless Time.
Dogs howl'd and hideous Tempests shook down Trees
The Raven rook'd her on the Chimney Top
And chattering Pies in Dismal Discord sung."
['3 Henry VI', v. 6.]
On the fire (left) boils a saucepan inscribed 'French Blood'; little demons ascend in the steam rising from it. The mantelshelf is supported by carved demoniac creatures, one having a satyr's head, the other that of a Fury with snaky locks. A similar creature supports the bars of the grate. On the mantelshelf are imperial crowns, the iron crown of Italy (as in No. 10432), and a papal tiara. The cradle has a crown at the head, and at the foot a grotesque mask inscribed 'Devils Darlind' [sic]. Behind (right), a lady, evidently Josephine, sits up in bed, holding a wine-glass; she looks towards the child quoting Ophelia's words: "Ah Woe is me, seeing what I have seen and seeing what I see". Near her stands an ugly old nurse, holding a syringe; an infant's chair is beside her; it is ornamented with a crown and inscribed 'Prince Skinny Boneys Caching Chair'. On the ground (left) is a sauce-boat inscribed 'Bitter Cup'.
Plate numbered 66.
9 April 1811
- Production date
Height: 243 millimetres
Width: 347 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
The child, born 20 Mar., resembled Marie Louise: caricaturists anticipate Napoleon's desire that portraits should make the baby face a miniature replica of his own. Geer, 'Napoleon and his Family', ii, 1928, p. 214. See also Nos. 11715, 11721, 11722, 11735, 11737, 11998, 12476. A print by G. Cruikshank, 'The First Exploit of Boney the Second', Apr. 1811 (Reid, No. 118), is reproduced, Bourguignon, ii.' 128.
Grego, 'Rowlandson', ii. 203 f. Broadley, i. 302 f. De Vinck, No. 8574. Reproduced, Grand-Carteret, 'Napoléon', No. 227.
- 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