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The plumb-pudding in danger: -or- state epicures taking un petit souper

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The plumb-pudding in danger: -or- state epicures taking un petit souper
  • Description

    Pitt (l.) and Napoleon face each other at a round dinner-table on which, in a dish, is a terrestrial globe in the form of a steaming plum-pudding. Pitt, with a carving knife, and three-pronged fork (like a trident) planted in the '[Atlantic] Ocean', cuts a deep gash to the west of 'Britain', extending from the Pole to the Equator; he obtains the 'West Indies'. Napoleon, using his sword and a two-pronged fork which straddles 'Hanover', is cutting from Europe a large fragment including 'France', 'Holland', 'Spain', 'Swiss[erland]', 'Italy', 'Mediterranean', but missing 'Sweden' and 'Russia'. Before each is an empty (gold) plate, on Pitt's the Royal Arms, on Napoleon's an imperial crown. On the back of Pitt's chair is a crowned British Lion on its hind-legs, holding up a Union flag; a fierce imperial eagle clutching a bonnet rouge decorates that of Napoleon. Pitt, very tall and thin, wears a cocked hat and regimentals and long pigtail (cf. BMSat 10113, &c). Napoleon, sturdier and much shorter, has almost to rise from his chair to reach the pudding. He wears military dress, a huge plumed bicorne resting on his shoulders. Pitt looks warily at Napoleon who stares fiercely at the pudding. The figures are seven-eighths length. Below the title: '- "the great Globe itself, and all which it inherit" [sic, 'Tempest', iv. i], is too small to satisfy such insatiable appetites - Vide Mr W-d-m's [Windham's] eccentricities, in ye Political Register.' (For Windham as a contributor to Cobbett's paper see BMSat 10414.) 26 February 1805
    Hand-coloured etching


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1805
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 261 millimetres
    • Width: 363 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with artist's name, title, text within image and publication line: "Js. Gillray inv. & fect. / London Pubd. Feby. 26th 1805 by H. Humphrey. 27 St James's Street".
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M.Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VIII, 1947)
    Cf. BMSat 9977, &c.
    A Dutch copy, with English inscriptions, is Van Stolk, No. 5997.
    Grego, 'Gillray', p. 316 (reproduction). Wright and Evans, No. 295. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Broadley, i. 230. Often reproduced, e.g., Grand-Carteret, No. 150; Fuchs, i. 169; S. C. Roberts, 'Picture Book of British Hist.', iii. 43.


  • Bibliography

    • BM Satires 10371 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XVIIIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history


    2005 July-Nov, London, National Maritime Museum, 'Nelson and Napoleon'
    2015 Feb-Aug, BM, Rm 90, Bonaparte and the British

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat).  26 February 1805  Hand-coloured etching


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 26 February 1805 Hand-coloured etching

Image description



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