- Museum number
- Object: Funcking the Corsican
Napoleon, surrounded by the Powers of Europe who puff smoke at him, dances, frantic with rage and fear, upon the head of a large cask of 'Real Hollands Geneva'. The cask-head tilts under his feet, the contents splash out, and he is on the point of disappearing inside it. On the cask are the words: 'The Fly that sips Treacle is lost in the sweet' [Gay, 'Beggar's Opera']. The most prominent smoker, nearest the cask on the left, is a fat Dutchman in bulky breeches, with a big orange cockade in his small hat. He sits on a small barrel inscribed 'Dutch Herrings' and 'Crimp Cod' and leans forward and to the right, puffing upwards a cloud of smoke. In his left hand he holds up his long pipe, his right is on the handle of a jug inscribed 'Success to his Serene Highness'. Beside him are a 'Dutch Cheese' [cf. No. 9412], a 'Tobacco Pouch', three closely coiled twists of tobacco, and a jug of 'Dutch Drops' [a balsam or popular nostrum, prepared with oil of turpentine, nitric ether, &c. 'O.E.D.'; see No. 12118]. Almost equally prominent is an obese John Bull, a 'cit' holding a pipe and a frothing tankard of 'Brown Stout', who stands close to the cask in profile to the left, looking up with amused satisfaction, a cloud of smoke rising from his mouth. Next him and on the right, a Prussian hussar sits on a cannon, holding a pipe with a long curved stem, and turning a grotesque profile toward Napoleon. Behind John Bull is a (?) Hanoverian wearing a helmet, puffing steadily. Above them and near the upper margin are four heads: one very close to Napoleon, emerging from cloud, is perhaps a Saxon. A man wearing a high fur-bordered cap is probably a Russian, and a profile smoking a pipe with an ornate bowl may be Swedish. The man on the extreme right smoking a German pipe may represent Bavaria. On the left, standing behind the Dutchman, the bulky King of Würtemberg is conspicuous. His antique dress, with a long flowered and gold-laced waistcoat, is reminiscent of the caricatures of his courtship and marriage, see No. 9014, &c. He holds a bottle of 'Wirtemberg Drops', and smokes a large curved German pipe. Above him are the heads of two men, an Austrian and a Spanish don, probably the Emperor of Austria and Ferdinand of Spain. Napoleon stands among clouds of smoke, which also form a background to the heads. He storms: "Oh you base Traitors and Deserters. Eleven Hundred Thousand Lads of Paris [cf. No. 12113, &c.] shall roast every one of you alive, as soon as they can catch you!"
6 December 1813
Hand-coloured etching and aquatint
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 349 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
One of many satires on the consequences of Leipzig, see No. 12093, &c., and Wellington's victories, the subject being the defection of Napoleon's former vassals. As in other prints at this time, the prominent part taken by Holland illustrates the importance to England of the revolution (called counter-revolution in the radical press), see No. 12102, &c. This and other prints of early December reflect the 'triumphant events' for which the Tower guns were fired four times in the week 20-27 Nov.: on 21 Nov. for revolution in Holland, on 23 Nov. for the liberation of Hanover (see No. 12110), on 24 Nov. for the Battle of the Nivelle (on 10 Nov.), and (later) for the surrender of Dresden (11 Nov.). These events were followed on 25 Nov. by news of the fall of Stettin, and were accompanied by rumours of insurrection in Paris and the assassination of Napoleon. 'Examiner', 28 Nov. 1813. The Prince of Orange (William VI) landed from England at Scheveningen on 30 Nov. (whence his father had escaped to England on 18 Jan. 1795, see No. 8631). He was proclaimed Sovereign Prince at Amsterdam on 2 Dec. See Renier, 'Great Britain and the Establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands', 1930, pp. 120-8. See also Nos. 12116, 12117, 12118, 12119, 12120, 12122, 12123, 12171. To funk is to puff smoke at, figuratively to smoke or stink from fear, see Partridge, 'Slang Dict.', 1938 and No. 8086, Gillray's 'Austrian Bugaboo, Funking the French Army' (1792).
Grego, 'Rowlandson', ii. 262. Listed by Broadley. De Vinck, No. 8844 (a copy is No. 8845). Van Stolk, No. 6272, accompanied by a printed broadside headed 'Verklaring . . . de berooking van der Korsikaan met regie-tabak' (20 lines of verse). There is also a poem: 'De lelijke pijp tabak, Wijze: Van de jonge Matroos.'
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number