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Description

"[T]he earliest of Gillray’s portrayals of Bonaparte as the symbolic personification of France." - RMG Catalog

One of the great cartographic caricatures of the Georgian Era. This lampoon of Napoleon after Nelson's victory was drawn by James Gillray and published by Hannah Humphrey in London on November 20th, 1798.

From the British Museum catalog (1851,0901.945):

A British sailor, firmly planted astride the globe, is severely punishing Bonaparte, who, with one knee precariously on 'Turk[ey]' (Egypt), is about to fall backwards into space. Bonaparte wears a huge cocked hat, is naked from the waist, but wears sleeve-ruffles, according to the old gibe on the beggarly French fop. He is much emaciated, and gashed with wounds; 'Nelson' is inscribed on his solar plexus. Blood gushes from his nose. Jack Tar's right leg stretches across central Europe, the toe supported on 'Malta'. Clouds form a background. 20 November 1798

From M. Dorothy George, 'Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum', VII, 1942:

One of many prints illustrating the elation at Nelson's victory, see BMSat 9250, &c. Malta broke into open rebellion against the French on 2 Sept. 1798; the revolt was supported by a British blockade, but the French garrison at Valetta did not capitulate till 5 Sept. 1800.

From the Royal Museum Greenwich catalog entry for the Edinburgh edition (PAD4792):

This is the earliest of Gillray’s portrayals of Bonaparte as the symbolic personification of France. Here he is caricatured in a manner deriving from earlier 18th-century lampoons against the French, particularly by Hogarth, in being shown semi-naked and emaciated. Gillray also plays upon Bonaparte’s Corsican roots, notably in the Italian spelling of his name in the title. Seated atop a globe, he is being knocked down and has his nose bloodied by a stout British tar with the profile features of George III. It is a simple but effective piece of propaganda, casting France with the dark, benighted side of the globe, and Britain with the bringing of light. At the same time, the fusion of the King with Jack Tar is a brilliant means of suggesting a national unity between the upper and lower orders that was, at this time, far from being the case.

Condition Description
Etching and aquatint on wove paper. Original hand-color. A small splatter of stains in the upper left corner.
Reference
BM Satires 9268. Grego, 'Gillray', p. 248. Wright and Evans, No. 212. Broadley, 'Napoleon', i. 122-3. Reprinted, 'G.W.G.', 1830. Often reproduced, e.g. Wheeler and Broadley, ii. 178; Grand-Carteret, 'Napoléon en images', 1905, p. 55; Fuchs, p. 161 (small copy).