- Museum number
- Object: Napoleon le Grande
A travesty of a French print, an apotheosis of Napoleon by Tardieu after Dabos. As in the original, the title is on a piece of fringed drapery between two naturalistic eagles; these flank an arc of the globe, its northern summit, more flattened than in the original. On the globe is a map, with 'France' in the centre, flanked (left) by 'Golfe of Venice' and 'Italy' and (right) 'Espagne' and 'Pologne'. On the north are 'Amsterdam Pres Unie' [sic] and 'Whestphalia'. From the summit of the globe rises a pole supporting the face of Napoleon, copied from the original but with the addition of a melancholy frown and transformed by the pole into a decollated head. It is inscribed 'Polar Star' and enclosed in a circle of writhing serpents which takes the place of a laurel wreath. Rays extend from the circle over the greater part of the design, with inscriptions radiating outwards: 'Assisting in the Assassination of Louis the 16th my Benefactor'; 'Murdering the Citizens of Paris under Roberspierre' [cf. No. 9534]; 'Murdering the Citizens of Toulon' [see No. 10095]; 'Insulting the Pope robbing and plundering the Churches &c &c.' [see No. 8997]; 'Poisoning my own Sick Soldiers in the Hospital at Jaffa' [see No. 10063]; 'Murdering the Duke Danguilme' [d' Enghien, see No. 10251]; 'Treacherously betraying the king of Spain and his Family' [see No. 10990]; 'Murdering the inhabitants of Madrid in cold Blood' [see No. 11000]; 'Murdering Captain Wright in the Temple at Paris' [see No. 11057]; 'Marrying two Wives and intriguing with the Daughter of one of them' [Hortense, cf. No. 10362]; 'The Murder of Palm [see No. 11053] of Hoffer &c &c.'; 'Leading 500000 Frenchmen to perish in Russia by the Severity of the Season 1812' [see No. 11917, &c.]; 'Loosing another similar Army the following Year in Germany 1813' [see No. 12093]; 'Writing lying Bulletins' [see No. 11920]; 'Loosing all the Colonies Commerce and Shipping' [cf. No. 10439, &c.]. At this point, in the upper right corner, an open cask inscribed 'Dutch Comet', divides the inscriptions. A fat Dutchman smoking a pipe sits astride it; he directs the contents of the cask against Napoleon (see No. 12102). The final inscription: 'And for all these brilliant Exploits am now to be sent headlong to the Devil.' In the original the rays are faintly inscribed 'Marie Louise' and 'Roi de Rome'.
The design is surmounted by the head of the Devil wearing a spiky crown inscribed 'Damnation', between two oval shields: on one a heart, 'Heart of a Tyrant', on the other a 'Vulture'. These emblems replace a crown between two shields, one with the Napoleonic eagle, the other with the Habsburg eagle. From this centre-piece flames and smoke (replacing olive branches) stream left and right, with a scourge and a barbed trident. The lower corners are decorated with trophies slanting outwards from the eagles: spears, eagles, axes, &c., one spear supporting a placard: 'Flags manufactured for the Empress'. In the original spears are faintly indicated. Below the title (as in the original):
Astre brillant, immense, il éclaire, il feconde,
Et seul fait, a son gré, tous les destins du monde,
2 December 1813
- Production date
Height: 365 millimetres
Width: 248 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 embodying anti-Napoleon propaganda ranging from 'canards' through half-truths to facts, and forming a scurrilous life-history, cf. No. 11736. A new element is introduced: failure as well as crime. The execution of Hofer, the Tyrolean patriot, was especially ordered by Napoleon in a dispatch of 10 Feb. 1810 (J. H. Rose, 'Napoleon', 1934, ii. 201). The flags are those sent to the Empress by Napoleon to herald his return to Paris, see No. 12111, &c. The map connotes the French empire at its height. Jérôme fled from his kingdom after Leipzig, cf. No. 12549.
Grego, ii. 263 f. Broadley, i. 344. Reproduction of the original, Dayot, 'Napoléon', p. 388.
The (missing) publication date is taken from Broadley.
A parody of 1850,1014.804.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number