- Museum number
- Object: Boneys return from Elba- or the Devil among the Tailors-
A tailors' workshop, with the shop-board round three sides of the room on which the Powers (at Vienna) are 'cutting out' Europe. In the centre wall is a large window through which Napoleon has just entered, and sits, with legs astride and arms extended, on the shop-board. His feathered bicorne is worn with the peak over the face, showing a horn projecting from his forehead. His jack-boots define cloven feet. On his breast, in place of the star of the Legion of Honour, hangs a black heart (cf. No. 11057). His large gauntlets are blood-stained, and he holds a sabre whose blade drips blood. The head is not caricatured. Beside him on the board is his imperial crown, through which is thrust the Hand of Justice (cf. No. 12247). His entry causes consternation, especially to Louis XVIII, the Pope, and Talleyrand. He says, looking to the right, "Dont disturb yourselves shopmates—I have only popped myself here as a cutter out— Where is my Wife & son Father Francis?" The Emperor of Austria, thin and insignificant, kneels on the shop-board on the right holding a small pair of (button-hole) scissors, and an iron or goose. He answers: "I will send an Answer shortly." The new King of Holland, wearing the bulky breeches of the Dutchman in English caricature and a small steeple-crowned hat, is between Napoleon and Francis; he rises from a cross-legged position, screaming with terror, "Donder & Blixen das is de Devil." On the right Alexander stands erect on the board, looking boldly at Napoleon, and pointing to a knout with tape-measures for lashes which he holds up in his left hand; he says: "I'll take a few Cossack measures to him."
On the board on the left are Blücher, the King of Prussia, and Bernadotte. Blücher stands on Napoleon's right, fiercely holding out a huge pair of shears; he says: "Cutter out indeed!!! Yes yes I'll cut you out Master Boney." He wears uniform, his thin legs in huge jack-boots. At his side is Frederick William, still seated cross-legged, needle in hand, with a gold-laced garment across his knees. He looks up to say to Napoleon: "You have cut out a little work for us to be sure but D—me if you shall be foreman here." He has a paper: 'Pattern of an Emperors Robe' [see No. 12453]. Standing behind him and on the extreme left is Bernadotte, stooping forward with a cunning smile; he says: "This looks like another subsidy." On the board are two crowns serving as pin-cushions, the pins shaped like sceptres. All these sovereigns wear uniform except the King of Holland, only Alexander and Bernadotte wear cocked hats.
In the centre of the floor, immediately in front of Napoleon, Louis XVIII has fallen on his face in his hurry to escape ; his gouty legs wave in the air. He shouts: "Help! Help! Oh! Oh! I am knock'd off my Perch." Beside him lies a bag: 'Cabbage Bag—i.e Diamonds Precious Stones &c &c'. John Bull, a fat carbuncled 'cit' (right), stoops over him; he holds a large club and says: "Never fear Old Boy I'll help you up again as for that rascal Boney I'll sow him up presently." Behind John is the Pope, grovelling on the floor, and about to take cover under the shop-board. His tiara falls off, his cross lies beside him; he looks round at Napoleon, saying, "Oh! Curse the fellow! I wish I had the Power of a Bull I'd kick him to hell. D—me if it is'nt enough to make a saint swear." In the dark recess of the 'hell' (the name of the space under the shop-board, see No. 7262) lies Talleyrand (right), revealed by his projecting legs with one club-foot. Near him lies an open book: 'The Tailors A Tradgedy For Warm Weather' [see No. 11762]. Through the window behind Napoleon are seen the sea, a ship, and 'Elba', a rocky islet on which is a large cave from which slinks a tiger with the face of Napoleon. Below the design, etched in four columns:
'Hush'd was the din of Arms & fierce debate,
Janus once more had clos'd his Temple gate;
Assembled Congress fix'd the flattering Plan
For Europes safety & the Peace of Man
When like a Tiger, stealing from his den,
And gorg'd with blood, yet seeking blood again;
From Elbas Isle the Corsican came forth,
Making his sword the measure of his worth
Hence Plunder, force & cunning, blast his fame
And sink the Hero in the Robber's name;
Hence guiltless Louis from his throne is hurl'd
And discord reigns triumphant o'er the World
S. M. B.
Swift as the vivid lightning's shock,
The Exile darts from Elba's Rock!
And like the Thunderbolt of fate
Dethrones a King! transforms a State!!
21 March 1815
- Production date
Height: 260 millimetres
Width: 360 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
For Napoleon's return see No. 12506, &c.; the enterprise had been encouraged by news of dissensions at Vienna, cf. No. 12533. Louis XVIII fled from Paris on 19 Mar., taking the crown jewels, see No. 12534, &c. Talleyrand's arrival in England on 19 Mar. was reported; he remained at Vienna till 10 June. The print is seemingly ante-dated.
Reid, No. 465. Cohn, No. 945. Broadley, i. 370.
- Not on display
- Associated names
Associated with: Alexander I, Tsar of Russia
Associated with: Karl XIV Johan, King of Sweden and Norway (Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte)
Associated with: Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Associated with: Francis II, Holy Roman Emperor and Francis I, Emperor of Austria
Associated with: Frederick William III, King of Prussia
Associated with: Louis XVIII, King of France
Associated with: Marie Louise, Empress of the French and Duchess of Parma
Representation of: Napoléon I, Emperor of the French
Associated with: Pope Pius VII
Associated with: Napoléon II, King of Rome and Duke of Reichstadt
Associated with: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Prince de Benevento
Associated with: William I, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxemburg
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number