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- Object: The oven on fire - or Boneys last Batch entirly spoiled!!!
Napoleon, as the gingerbread baker of BMSat 10518, has fallen to his knees, dropping his long shovel and raising his arms in despair at the fierce flames which burst from his oven (l.) and threaten to overwhelm him. On his shovel, now among flames, lies a little Joseph Bonaparte, still wearing his crown but dropping a broken sceptre; he cries: "Oh Nap Nap - what is this - instead of a King you've only made a Dup - ont." Napoleon, who wears an apron over his uniform and an immense bicorne, exclaims: "Zounds, I shall be ovwhelmed [sic] with this cursed Patriotic blaze - I did not think there was a single spark left but I find there is more then all the Engines of France can extinguish." The fierce flames almost obscure the dome-shaped oven which is inscribed 'Spain Portugal', the latter word almost hidden. In the centre of the fire is inscribed 'A People United can never be Conquered'. The flames which dart from this are inscribed (towards Napoleon): 'Asturian Legions', 'Army of Portugal', 'Biscay', 'Catalonian Army', 'Army of Galicia', 'Andalusian Arm'y, 'army of New and old Castile', 'British Army & Fleet' [in the flames reaching Napoleon], 'Estremadurian Army', 'Leon', 'Army of Valencia', 'Murcia'; [towards the gingerbread kings] 'army of Granada'. On the ground is a shovel on which are flaming coals; it is inscribed 'Dupont'.
On a chest on the extreme left. is a group of little gingerbread kings, angrily disconsolate. On the extreme right. stands Talleyrand as the baker's assistant; he wears a ragged apron and rolled-up sleeves, with clerical bands and a cross, and a high sole to his shoe, to indicate his lame leg. He watches the conflagration with sulky dismay, saying, "Aye. Aye I told you that you would burn your fingers at that Batch of Ginger Bread - but I have nothing to do with it. I am only a 'Jailor' so there is an end to all my glory." He leans against the trough of BMSat 10518, now inscribed 'State Prison'; from this project the heads and shoulders of the King and Queen of Spain, and their four children. On the ground on the extreme right. three gingerbread kings, ready for the oven, lie on their backs. 24 August 1808
- 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', VIII, 1947)
See BMSat 10997, &c. For Dupont's surrender at Baylen (for which he was imprisoned and disgraced) see BMSat 11010, &c., and for Joseph's retreat from Madrid, BMSat 11012, &c. The most extravagant hopes of the achievements of a nation in arms fighting for liberty were entertained by the Whig Press: e.g., our troops in Portugal, after conquering the country, should be moved not to Spain, which has no need of them, but to Italy, to assist Austria and effect Italian unity. 'Morn. Chron.', n Aug., 9 Sept. 1808 (cited Roberts, 'The Whig Party, 1807-12', 1939, p. 120). Cf. BMSat 11025. Ferdinand, don Carlos, and their uncle had been sent by Napoleon to Talleyrand's chateau of Valençay, see BMSat 10990. The old King and Queen were allowed to go first to Compiègne and then to Italy.
Broadley, i. 247.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
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