- Museum number
- Object: Portraits of Ferdinand VII & the Duke D'Angoulême - or - a Spanish Mule and a French Jack Ass!!
A scene at the foot of the Pyrenees, whose peaks form a background. The mule, with the head of Ferdinand ('The Spanish Mule', see BM Satires 12508), is tied to the rectangular base (left) supporting a stone cylinder which is topped by a cap of Liberty. The cylinder: Constitution For The Protection And Happiness of the People; the base: Humanity Justice. The mule's hind-legs are linked by a hobble inscribed Necessary Restrictions for an Obstinate Beast; nevertheless he kicks the monument with his right hind-leg. His right foreleg is attached to the base by a bandage inscribed Constitutional Restrictions. In his mouth is a smaller strip, like a rein, inscribed Oath, which is tied to his right foreleg, forcing him to keep his head near the ground. He looks up at the ass (right) which is prancing on his hind-legs, to say: Haste! haste! Cousin! & help me to break my Bridle & these cursed Constitutional Bonds that prevent me from Hanging—Shooting—& Torturing my Subjects as I used to do. From his neck hangs a bell, and a Maltese cross on a ribbon. A sceptre (? or fool's bauble) projects vertically from his head, topped by a little crown. Round his body is a piece of drapery decorated by Maltese crosses, &c. The ass wears military uniform, his forefeet on the hilt of his sword (as 'Prince Hilt', cf. BM Satires 14506), one jack-booted leg in the air. He has an arrogant and stupid profile and answers: E—haw! E—haw! On the summit of a mountain behind him sits Alexander as the Russian Bear, wearing a crown; he holds up predatory paws, saying, O! how I should like to dip my paws in the Spanish honey. 25 February 1823.
- Production date
Height: 247 millimetres
Width: 351 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
The Revolution of 1820 had restored the Constitution of 1812 which in 1814 Ferdinand had repudiated with the support of the army, the Church, and the masses. As a prisoner of the liberales he appealed to the monarchs of the Holy Alliance for help, and at Verona in 1822, despite the protest of Great Britain, the proposal of the French Government to be allowed to march into Spain was approved, see No. 14497, &c. While Ferdinand was a cruel and treacherous bigot, said to have the head of a mule and the heart of a tiger, Angouleme 'had rectitude judgment and good sense', and was to gain credit by trying to prevent Ferdinand's excesses. See Temperley, Foreign Policy of Canning, p. 55.
A drawing for this (in reverse) is in the V. & A. (CC. 16 B.), autographed 'Designed & etched by G. Cruikshank who heartily hopes that the Spaniards may Spit up this whole business!'. Also, preliminary sketch, autographed 'Early Sketch—Geo Cruikshank', in the British Museum.
A pencil design for another satire on Ferdinand VII, signed 'Geo. Cruikshank', is in the V. & A. (CC. 18 A.). Ferdinand VII, beside a demon Jesuit and others, is in a car drawn by grovelling men (left). Above his head hangs a sword, labelled 'retributive Justice'. On the right is the figure of 'Spanish Liberty'.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number