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Old Bumblehead the 18th trying on the Napoleon Boots

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • Old Bumblehead the 18th trying on the Napoleon Boots
  • Description

    Louis XVIII, in a landscape suggesting the foot-hills of the Pyrenees, sits in profile to the left in a wheeled chair, vainly trying to thrust a swathed and swollen leg into a jack-boot. As he leans back, tugging with boot-hooks, his crown falls from his head. Napoleon's son, the duc de Reichstadt (ex-King of Rome), dressed in Napoleon's famous uniform of the chasseurs of the Guard, but with childish curls on his shoulders, stands behind the chair (right) raising his arms to catch the crown. He says: The Boots wont fit you Old Bourbon—I'll try them on by- & by. The King exclaims: Oh! God of St Louis assist me for tho' I have had my heels well rub'd with Bears grease yet I'm afraid I shall find it a d—d awkward job— His other gouty leg rests on a cushion, with a boot standing beside it. From the clouds on the extreme left emerges a guillotine topped by a bonnet rouge. 17 February 1823.
    Etching with hand-colouring


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1823
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 247 millimetres
    • Width: 351 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered with title, artist's name and publication line 'Geo Cruikshank fec/ Feby 17th 1823 Pubd by Jn. Fairburn Broadway Ludgate Hill London'
  • Curator's comments

    (Description and comment from M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', X, 1952)
    See No. 14497, &c. Louis is threatened with loss of his crown, even of his head, if he persists in the intention to invade Spain. He alludes to the support given by the Tsar to the invasion project, see No. 14501. For the suggestion that a Bonapartist revolution will be the result of the invasion, see also Nos. 14510, 14511, 14512, 14521. This was a Whig thesis, cf. Lord Selton's remark to Esterházy recorded by Creevey, 17 Mar., that war would be 'all the better for a certain young boy'. Life and Times, ed. Gore, 1934, p. 176. Actually, Louis' nephew succeeded (ingloriously) where Napoleon had failed. For the contrast between the gouty king and Napoleon cf. No. 12550, also by G. C.
    De Vinck, No. 10883. Listed by Broadley.


  • Bibliography

    • Reid 1871 1170 bibliographic details
    • BM Satires 14502 bibliographic details
    • Cohn 1924 1801 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (Caricatures VI p.34)

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


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Object reference number: PPA172204

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