Collection online

The Corsican Whipping top in full spin!!!

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Corsican Whipping top in full spin!!!
  • Description

    A (tricolour) top with the head of Napoleon spins, above the ground, savagely lashed by representatives of the Allies. His arms and his legs have already been severed from his body, now represented only by the madly spinning top. The most violently active is Blücher (left) stripped to the shirt, his coat and hat thrown on a drum on the extreme left, beside which lie his gloves and baton. Facing them is Wellington (right) equally effective, stern, but less savage. Full-face, and immediately behind the top is the Tsar, left hand on hip; his whip is inscribed 'Knout'. Between him and Wellington is Schwarzenberg (or Francis I). Bernadotte stands rather behind, between Blücher and Alexander, both hands on his hips; he holds a whip but is an amused spectator. Behind (right) the future King of Holland, crowned and wearing a star, but dressed in the breeches and jacket of the Dutchman in English caricature, sits under a tree on a cask of 'Hollands'. He watches delightedly, holding up one of Napoleon's legs inscribed 'United Netherlands'. The other leg, the thigh inscribed 'Swisslad, the boot Italy, lies near Blücher. At Wellington's feet is the right arm inscribed Spain & Portugal'; the left arm, inscribed 'Germany', is near Schwarzenberg. Napoleon's orb and (broken) sceptre lie near him, with some of the feathers from the large hat which is still on his head; his horrified and shrieking profile faces Blücher. In the background (left) is a road along which a carriage drives off, drawn by four galloping horses. It contains tiny figures: Marie Louise, crowned and looking behind her, and the little King of Rome also crowned and waving a sceptre. Two soldiers are on the box, two others sit behind. In the air behind Bernadotte a demon flies off to the left, with Joseph Bonaparte clutching his barbed tail. The latter, his crown flying off, looks back horrified, exclaiming "O! My poor Brother Nap oh oh! O!"
    11 April 1814.
    Hand-coloured etching.


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1814
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 250 millimetres
    • Width: 354 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, artist's name and publication line 'G. H invt/ G. Cruikshank fect/ Pubd April 11th 1814 by- H Humphrey St James's Strt'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', IX, 1949)
    The first recognition in these prints of the inactive part played by Bernadotte. For the first time Holland is represented by the future William I, instead of by a fat Dutch civilian. Marie Louise left Paris with her son on 29 Mar. for Rambouillet; on 12 Apr. she left Orléans to join her father. Joseph, put in command of Paris by Napoleon, abandoned it on 30 Mar. without giving any military orders or leaving any instructions for the civil authorities. For the situation at this date cf. No. 12216. Cf. No. 9412, Gillray's 'Allied-Powers, un-booting Egalité' (1799). For the whipping-top cf. Nos. 8839, 12273.
    Reid, No. 311. Cohn, No. 1021. Broadley, i. 351. De Vinck, No. 8979.


  • Bibliography

    • Cohn 1924 1021 bibliographic details
    • BM Satires 12218 bibliographic details
    • Reid 1871 311 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (British XIXc Unmounted Roy)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • 1891,1116.179
FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 11 April 1814.  Hand-coloured etching.


FOR DESCRIPTION SEE GEORGE (BMSat). 11 April 1814. Hand-coloured etching.

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: PPA148522

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help