- Museum number
- Object: The Political Butcher or Spain cutting up Buonaparte, for the benifit of her Neighbours
The butcher, wearing Spanish costume with feathered hat, apron, and over-sleeves, stands behind a table on which is extended the decapitated body of Napoleon, flayed above the waist, but in breeches and boots. He holds up the bleeding head; in his teeth is his long knife. The Powers of Europe, as animals, surround the carcass. He says: "Now my little Fellows here are bones for you 'all' to pick The meat being just kill'd, may be somewhat toughish - but I'll warrant it fresh and high flavor'd - True Corsican Veal I assure you - You see the 'Head'." A two-headed Austrian eagle, its wings inscribed 'Vienna', pecks at the victim's hair, saying "I have long wished to Strike my talons into that diabolical head piece And now I hope to do it effectively." Below, a 'Prussian eagle' with much-clipped wings, stands on the ground, wearing a collar inscribed 'Berlin'. It says: "O! the delicious morsel for an Eagle to pick, but my clipt Wings cannot bear me so high - Cruel Boney why cut them so short." An Italian greyhound lies on the ground (l.) looking up at the carcass; its collar is inscribed 'Rome'. Under its paws is a music-book, open at 'A New Concerto called - If you will not when you may when you will it shall be may Harmony by Messrs Spain and Portugal'. Th music is headed 'Maestosamente'. Under the animal are music and paper inscribed 'Adagio' and 'Bisogna venire alle mani'. Behind the greyhound a Dutch frog sits on a cask of 'Hollands', smoking a pipe and looking up at the carcass; it says: "If I were sure matters are as they appear - I should like to pick a bone it is true - But Wisdom bids us doubt And Prudence condemns precipitation So I'll e'en take another whiff." Beside its cask is another, overturned, inscribed 'Somniferous Cordial for King Louis' [see BMSat 10581]. The r. arm of the corpse hangs down, the bones completely bare. A dog inscribed 'Copenhagen' bites at the hand, saying, "The Nearer the bone, the Sweeter the Meat - But the nearer that Bull the less I can eat [cf. BMSat 10762, &c.]." Close by is a very active bull-dog, (John) 'Bull' [its collar so inscribed], looking up at Napoleon's head and saying, "I should like to have the picking of that head, for I dare say it is hare brain'd." Under its feet are papers: "O! the Roast Beef of Old England and Britons Strike Home." A bear (r.), its collar inscribed 'Court of St Petersburg' stands on its hind legs at the corpse's feet, licking one of the boots; it says: "This licking gives me a mortal inclination to pick a bone as well as the rest - But Turkey's a fine garden and would be a vast acquisition." At its feet is a paper inscribed 'Map of Russia'. Beside the bear is a dog with a collar inscribed 'Sweden' standing on a paper inscribed 'Stockholm'. It looks up to say 'Yes' but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. From hooks on a board indicating a butcher's shop three carcasses hang by the feet. They are the bodies of 'Murat', 'Dupont', and 'Junot'.
12 September 1808
- Production date
Height: 256 millimetres
Width: 345 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
It is assumed that Spain has defeated Napoleon by her own efforts, cf. BMSat 11017. For Murat's departure see BMSat 11000; for Dupont's defeat at Baylen see BMSat 11010. On 21 Aug. Wellesley defeated Junot at Vimiero (see BMSat 11024, &c.): nevertheless, John Bull has a mere jackal's part. Napoleon after Tilsit had beguiled Alexander, anxious for the partition of Turkey, with visions of a joint conquest of the East by invasion of Persia and India (cf. BMSat 10995, &c.).
Grego, 'Rowlandson', ii. 97. Broadley, i. 276 f. Van Stolk, No. 6112.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number