- Museum number
- Object: Hell hounds rallying round the idol of France
A colossal but life-like bust of Napoleon is placed on a mound of decollated human heads. He gazes fixedly upwards in profile to the left; round his neck and bare breast is twisted a noose of rope. Round this idol dance demons with human heads, holding hands. They are naked except for head-coverings, and have horns, hairy legs, tail, with one leg terminating in a cloven hoof, the other in the claw of a bird of prey. These 'Hell Hounds' have labels hanging from a collar of rope, showing that they are 'Caulincourt', 'Fouché', 'Savory', with a pen in his hat (he succeeded Fouché as Minister of Police in 1810), 'Vandamme', 'Davoust', 'Ney', 'Lefebre'. Two demons fly towards the emperor, holding a large wreath which is on fire, with the inscription 'He Deserves A Crown of Pitch.' This they are about to place on the idol's head, towards which gallops through the air a small demon (right) on a goat, blowing a horn. In the foreground lie dead and dying soldiers, one is decapitated, another (right) is naked and has lost an arm which he holds out with an agonized expression towards the idol. In the background (left) soldiers are feeding a bonfire with 'English Goods'. On the right is a blazing town.
8 April 1815
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 361 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
Napoleon remains the idol of the French, despite the slaughter and misery brought by him upon France and Europe, by war and his Continental System (under which British goods were publicly burned in 1810-11, according to the Fontainebleau Decree, see Heckscher, 'The Continental System', 1922, pp. 203, 227-9); cf. No. 12269. Of the 'Hell Hounds' who joined Napoleon on or before his arrival in Paris on 20 March, Fouché was to betray him a second time; for Ney see No. 12516. Cf. No. 12528.
According to Grand-Carteret an altered version with French inscriptions was published after the Hundred Days, and there are impressions from which 'Fouché' has been removed.
Grego, 'Rowlandson', ii. 291. Broadley, i. 378. De Vinck, No. 9409. Reproduced, Grand-Carteret, 'Napoléon', No. 340.
For a German version of this print, see 1989,1104.124. For more information on the latter, see: Sabine and Ernst Scheffler: 'So zerstieben getraeumte Weltreiche; Napoleon I in der deutschen Karikatur', 1995, p. 368-9 (cat 7.4)
- 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 Rowlandson
2015 Feb-Aug, BM, Rm 90, Bonaparte and the British
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number