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An Imperial stride!

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • An Imperial stride!
  • Description

    A colossal figure of Catherine II steps from 'Russia', a rocky mound on the extreme left, to 'Constantinople', her toe resting on the horn of a crescent which surmounts a spire on a group of buildings, with a dome and a minaret. Her head is turned in profile to the right; in her left hand is an orb, in her right she holds out a sceptre over Constantinople, at which she looks with a determined frown. Beneath her petticoats, and strung out between 'Russia' and 'Constantinople' are the heads and shoulders of seven sovereigns, gazing up at her. On the extreme left is a man wearing the cap of the Doge of Venice, saying, "To what a length Power may be carried". Next is the Pope wearing his triple crown, saying, "I shall never forget it". Next is the King of Spain, saying, "By Saint Jago, I'll strip her of her Fur!" Louis XVI says "Never saw any thing like it". George III says "What! What! What! What a prodigious expansion!" The Emperor says "Wonderful elevation". The Sultan says "The whole Turkish Army wouldn't satisfy her". Below the design is inscribed 'European Powers'. 12 April 1791 Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1791
  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 297 millimetres
    • Width: 374 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered: 'London Pubd April 12th 1791 by Wm Holland N° 50. Oxford Street In Holland's Exhibition Rooms may be seen the largest collection of of caricatures in Europe Admitce One Shilling'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VI, 1938)
    A satire on Catherine's morals and on the Russo-Turkish war. The print may derive from a paragraph in 'The Bon Ton Magazine', i. 40 (March 1791): 'The Empress of Russia is said to intend placing one foot upon Petersburgh, and the other upon Constantinople. What a delight must the Imperial stride afford to the curious inhabitants of the intermediate countries.' In the debate of 12 April Sheridan said Sir W. Young had 'pictured the Empress as a female Colossus, standing with one foot on the banks of the Black Sea, and the other on the coast of the Baltic'. 'Parl. Hist.' xxix. 205. For Catherine's ambitions in relation to Constantinople see Rose, 'Pitt and National Revival', pp. 481-2. On her ceremonial visit to the Crimea, in 1787, she entered Cherson through an arch inscribed 'The way to Constantinople'. 'Camb. Mod. Hist.' viii. 315. Cf. BMSat 7841, &c.
    Grego, 'Rowlandson', i. 290.

    See Vincent Carretta, 'Petticoats in power: Catherine the Great in British political cartoons', in '1650-1850 Ideas, Aesthetics and Inquiries in the early modern era', ed. Kevin L. Cope, New York 1994, pp.23-81.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 7843 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Satires British 1791 Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  12 April 1791 Hand-coloured etching

FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 12 April 1791 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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