- Museum number
- Object: General Frost shaveing little Boney
General Frost towers above Napoleon who stands in the snow, his arms folded, while Frost, standing behind him, holds his victim's nose, and flourishes a large razor of 'Russian Steel'. Frost is a grotesque monster, nude to the waist and with the legs of a bear; his great feet are planted upon two groups of little French soldiers, crushing them into the snow. He is emaciated and old, with glaring eyeballs, wide mouth fringed with fang-like teeth, and huge moustache; a blast issues from each nostril; one inscribed 'North' slants down upon Napoleon's head, the other, slanting to the right, is inscribed 'North East—Snow and Sleet'; these are white against a dark sky. He has icicles for eyebrows and on his head are jagged pinnacles inscribed 'Mountain of Ice'. This is irradiated by a disk above his head inscribed 'Polar—Star'. His fingers are talons. From his mouth float the words: "Invade My Country indeed—I'll Shave—Freeze—and Bury you in Snow—You little Monkey." Tears fall from Napoleon's eyes, and he says: "Pray—Brother—General—have Mercy, dont overwhelm me with your hoary element, You have so niped me, that my very Teeth chatter Oh—dear—I am quite Chop fallen." A telescope is thrust under his arm. He wears the wide plumed bicorne of earlier caricatures. In the background on the left is 'Moscow' in flames; on the right the buildings of 'Petersbourg', and, nearer the foreground, 'Riga'. Above the horizon rise icebergs in fantastic shapes.
Plate numbered 181.
1 December 1812
- Production date
Height: 347 millimetres
Width: 258 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
An early representation of the horrors of the retreat from Moscow, which began on 19 Oct. It was not till 7 Nov. that the cold began. Napoleon said at St. Helena: 'I conquered their armies. But I was unable to conquer fire frost numbness and death.' See 'Memoirs of Sergeant Bourgogne', 1926, pp. 55 ff. Cf. the lithographs of C. W. von Faber du Faur, 'Blätter aus meinem Portefeuille im Laufe des Feldzugs . . .', 1831-43. For the invasion see No. 11896. For the shaving theme cf. Nos. 12007, &c., 12575, &c. For the retreat see also Nos. 11918, 11919, 11920, 11921, 11991,11992, 11994, 11995, 11996, 12004, 12014, 12022, 12024, 12025, 12036, 12050, 12051, 12053, 12112, 12113, 12202, 12240, 12478.
Broadley, i. 313. Van Stolk, No. 6155. Reproduced (colour), Klingender, p. 23.
- Not on display
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Retreat from Moscow 1812
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number