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Napoleonic Period Collection

A MEMBER OF THE FRENCH WAR Department Raising Forses to Conquer all the World
Creator Cruikshank, I.R. (Robert) 1789-1856
Dialogue & Signage: [Frogs] Oh Dear what can the matter be. I wish we was out of their Blody clutches sure some infurnal fiend protect them.
[Bubbles] Amsterdam, Rome, Vienne, Old England, Flanders, Prussia, Hanover, Petersburg, Sardinia.
Place of Publication England - London
Pub Nov'r 2 1793 by J Aiken Nº 4 Castle St., Leicester Square
1793 was a turning point in French history, with the execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette starting the Reign of Terror. Almost all of Europe united against the revolutionary government in France and sent major armies to destroy it. The French responded with a draft that raised an army of 750,000 soldiers. Important French victories at Hondschoote and Wattignies, under the leadership of Minister of War Carnot, turned the tide. The drawing ignores this fact, showing a revolutionary sitting on the knee of the Devil blowing frothy bubbles of French soldiers. The bubbles are labeled with the names of future French victories. The three frogs in the lower left are presumed to be Dutch, and they lament the fact that their country is in French hands. A city burns in the background.

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Ah! Papa, tu t'es fait bien du mal
Place of Publication France - Paris
Napoleon has fallen on his back, his sword broken, his hat on the floor, and a sailor's compass in his hand. The King of Rome, also dressed in a uniform, cries into his handkerchief at the sight of his father so badly hurt.
Napoleon's exile to Elba was indeed a fall from power, although his son wasn't old enough to mourn the event. Although Napoleon was granted sovereignty over the island that was his new home, it was a far cry from directing a huge Empire. The map is realistically drawn, but the scale on the map makes the much smaller than it really is. It is also located closer to Corsica than reality.

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Arrivée de Napoléon dans l'Ile d'Elbe
Place of Publication France - Paris
Napoleon carries into exile symbols of his broken power and of his legal works. He carries the broken "hand of justice" over his shoulder, a telescope in his hand, his Napoleonic Code under his arm,and a mass of papers representing decrees and military drafts on his back. Napoleon stares at the rocky, barren ground with a look of chagrin on his face.

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Blockade Against Blockade or John Bull a Match for Boney
Place of Publication England-London-Cheapside 1807
This drawing refers to a series of blockades enacted by the British and the French in 1806/1807.
The British began in May 1806 by issuing Orders in Council that placed the entire coast of Europe under a naval blockade. France retaliated with a series of decrees collectively known as the Continental System. The Berlin Decrees (Nov 1806) prohibited any vessel coming from Britain from landing at a port under French control. Britain's naval supremacy, however, allowed her to force ships from neutral countries to stop in Britain on their way to the continent, lessening the economic impact of the blockade. Napoleon's Milan Decree (March 1807) authorized any ship coming from Britain to the continent to be confiscated. Ultimately, the blockade hurt France more than it did England, causing widespread food shortages and a general recession.
This caricature shows John Bull, symbol of the average Englishman, gloating because his blockade is causing food shortages in France. The table behind him is heaped with food: a large steak, a tank of ale, and a bottle of Port. Napoleon, still resplendent in his uniform but with a look of chagrin on his face, sits before a simple bowl of soup. The posters on the walls are attributed to two newspapers of the day.

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Boney Hatching a Bulletin
Snug Winter Quarters
Creator Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878
England-London 1812
Caption on image: Boney Hatching a Bulletin or Snug Winter Quarters!!!
Dialogue and signage: [Emaciated figure on left] "By Gar he is almost lost!" [Soldier half-buried in snow) "Vat de devil shall Ve say in de Bulletin?" [Napoleon, nearly buried] "Say!!!! why say we have got into Comfortable Winter Quarters, and the Weather is very fine & will last 8 days longer. Say we have got plenty of Soup Meagre plenty of Minced meat--grill'd Bears fine Eating--driving Cust-us-off to the Devil. Say we shall be at home at Xmas to dinner--give my love to darling [Marie-Louise]--don't let John Bull know that I have been (?)...tell a good lie about the Cossacks...D....e [damne] it anything but the Truth. [Banner hanging from the eagle] Vive la Emperor Napo(leon). ("Long live the Emperor Napoleon!")
The French advance into Russia was the beginning of the end of Napoleon's Empire. The Grand Army moved swiftly through Europe and into Russia, finally attacking Moscow. The city had been evacuated. A fire destroyed two-thirds of the city soon afterwards. The lack of supplies and shelter plus constant attacks by Russian troops made it impossible for the French to winter in Moscow. They retreated in disarray beginning on October 19, their preferred routes blocked by Russian troops. Logistics support broke down and the men and horses were starving. Yet Napoleon kept the PR machine going, cranking out propaganda bulletins that claimed the French were close to a great victory. In this caricature, when all you can see of his troops are their Jacobin red bonnets, his officer asks what to say, and he replies to say they are in good shape and he should make up a good lie about the Cossacks.

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Chute du Tyran
France - Paris 1815
Napoleon is shown leaping from the Mont St. Jean (Waterloo) to the island of St. Helena. He looks terrified. On the rock beside his foot is a small wooden cross that flies a banner labeled Mont St. Jean. The trappings of his role as emperor are abandoned beside it: his sword, crown, Legion of Honor medal, and hand of justice. The few inhabitants of the island are fleeing in terror, harbinger of the horror he will cause from now on.

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General Frost Shaveing Little Boney
Creator Elmes, William (worked 1811-1820)
England - London - Cheapside 1812
Having waited until mid-October to depart for Moscow, the exhausted French army soon found itself in the midst of winter—in fact, in the midst of an unusually early and especially cold winter. Temperatures soon dropped well below freezing, Cossacks attacked stragglers and isolated units, food was almost non-existent, and the march was five hundred miles. Ten thousand men survived. The campaign ensured Napoleon's downfall and Russia's status as a leading power in post-Napoleonic Europe. The remnants of the Grand Army crossed the Berezina on November 26-29, and reached Prussian territory by crossing the Niemen on December 13-14.

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JACK FROST attacking BONY in Russia
Elmes, William (worked 1811-20)] 1812
This drawing shows Jack Frost on the back of the bear (symbol of Russia), hurling snowballs at a fleeing Napoleon, whose hat has been knocked off. The scene takes place during a raging blizzard, where the snow is blowing towards Napoleon, pushing him away from Russia. Napoleon holds onto his nose to protect it from frostbite. The angry bear breathes a "northern blast" that sears Napoleon's back. In the background you see Tsar Alexander standing strong, pointing to Napoleon to leave. Three grinning Cossacks watch Napoleon leave from another mound of snow, their spears smoking. Fur-capped Russian troops are shown in front of the city of Petersbourgh, standing at attention with spears raised. The French troops are huddled around a fire of sticks labeled Moscow. As implied, Napoleon's advance into Russia was defeated more by the bitter winter weather than it was by the Russian soldiers. When he arrived in Moscow, it had been intentionally destroyed by fire, leaving his troops no shelter against the winter storms. Because of the lack of shelter and the difficulty of maintaining supply lines over such a long distance, the French were forced to retreat.

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La Danse Impériale
France - Paris 1815
Creator Gagnebin
Quite obviously published after Napoleon's defeat by Wellington at Waterloo, this is one of several caricatures showing Napoleon dancing to the tune of the English. Wellington has Napoleon on a leash and holds a club over his head. Napoleon begs for mercy, asking Wellington to finish the dance, but Wellington insists he continue.

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Le Diable L'Emporte
France-Paris 1815
Creator Desalles]
Near the end of Napoleon's reign, he was often identified with the Devil. Napoleon is perched on the shoulders of the Devil, whose tail has the form of a snake with its teeth into Napoleon's arm. Napoleon is crying, perhaps from the pain of the snakebite or perhaps at the thought of his imminent plunge into the fires of Hell.

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The Corsican Bloodhound, Beset by the Bears of Russia
England - London - Cheapside 1813
Creator Elmes, William]
Napoleon is shown as a Corsican bloodhound, being chased by ferocious bears advancing on troops buried in the snow. Moscow burns in the background. From the kettle spills papers naming the disastrous results of this campaign: famine, death, destruction. Napoleon lost most of his Grand Army on this campaign. The climate was much worse than he expected, and the burning of Moscow by the Russians as they withdrew left him with no shelter for the winter. Napoleon retreated back to France, with his army starving and in rags. However, by the time this drawing was published, he was already gathering a new army and would go on to defeat the Allies in several battles before his downfall was complete.

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The Plumb-pudding in danger or State epicures taking un petit souper
Creator Gillray, James
England-London 1805
Caption on Image: The Plumb-pudding in danger – or State Epicures taking un petit souper "the great Globe itself and all which it inherit, is too small to satisfy such insatiable appetites". Vide McW_d_m's eccentricities in e/y Political Register
William Pitt and Napoleon, both in uniform, face each other at a dinner table, with the globe steaming like a plum pudding in the center of the table. Pitt is shown slicing off the oceans for Britain, while Napoleon takes a large chunk of Europe. The quote references a passage in The Tempest (Act IV, Scene I). It is attributed to William Windham and the Political Register, which is merely part of Gillray's satire. Windham was critical of Pitt's handling of the war with France, but he did not publish this quote in the Register.

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