Napoleon Caricature, 1814
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Overall: 60cm (23.6in) x 45cm (17.7in)
Hand coloured satirical engraving printed by Harrison & Leigh, published by Ackermann, 101 Strand, London. Paper size 44cm (17.3in) x 25.5cm (10in). Framed and glazed.
Originally produced as a heading to a printed broadside, this popular caricature was reprinted in several editions in 1814 after first appearing as a German print by the brothers Henschel to commemorate the German victory over Napoleon at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig. Napoleon’s face is composed of contorted corpses; his uniform collar is made into a sea of blood in which a ship sails just above the 'cuff' of his epaulette. The epaulette takes the form of a grasping hand which is inscribed with the initial ‘R’ (for Regent), motto ‘Honi Soit’, and the initials 'A' (Austria), 'R' (Russia), 'P' (Prussia), 'S' (Sweden), 'E' (England) for the Allies. The letterpress consists of a thirteen-line parody of Napoleon's assumed titles: -
‘NAPOLEON The First, and Last, by the Wrath of Heaven Emperor of the Jacobins, Protector of the Confederation of Rogues, Mediator of the Hellish League, Grand Cross of the Legion of Horror, Commander in Chief of the Legions of Skeletons left at Moscow, Smolensk, Leipzig, &c. Head Runner of Runaways, Mock High-Priest of the Sanhedrim, Mock Prophet of Mussulmen, Mock Pillar of the Christian Faith, Inventor of the Syrian Method of disposing of his own Sick by sleeping Draughts, or of captured Enemies by the Bayonet; First Grave-Digger for burying alive; Chief Gaoler of the Holy Father and of the King of Spain, Destroyer of Crowns, and Manufacturer of Counts, Dukes, Princes and Kings; Chief Douanier of the Continental System, Head Butcher of the Parisian and Toulonese Massacres, Murderre of Hoffer, Palm, Wright, nay, of his own Prince the noble and virtuous Duke of Enghein, and of a thousand others; Kidnapper of Ambassadors, High-Admiral of the Invasion Praams, Cup-Bearer of the Jaffa Poison, Arch-Chancellor of Waste-Paper Treaties, Arch-Treasurer of the Plunder of the World, the Sanguinary Coxcomb, Assassin and Incendiary..../ MAKE PEACE WITH!!!'
‘This Hieroglyphic portrait of the DESTROYER is faithfully copied from a German Print, with the Parody of his assumed Titles. The Hat of the Destroyer represents a discomfited French Eagle, maimed and crouching, after his Conflict with the Eagles of the North. His Visage is composed of the Carcases of the Victims of his Folly and Ambition, who perished on the Plains of Russia and Saxony. His Throat is encircled with the Red Sea, in Allusion to his drowned Hosts. His Epaulette is a Hand, leading the Rhenish Confederation, under the flimsy symbol of a Cobweb. The Spider is an Emblem of the Vigilance of the Allies, who have inflicted on that Hand a deadly Sting!’