La dernière Cuvée. by (NAPOLEON).

La dernière Cuvée. by (NAPOLEON).

~ La dernière Cuvée. ‘À Londre’ [?but France], 1815.

Etched and engraved print (c. 260 × 325 mm), hand-coloured. Quite closely cut, closed tear of c. 60 mm at lower margin but running c. 20 mm into image (no loss), trace of old vertical fold visible on verso and some browning from the colouring. Nonetheless, a good copy.

A satirical print on the defeat of Napoleon, probably French rather than English and one of several variations of the same plate, with different captions. ‘French soldiers are being cooked or drowned in a big round vat built of stone, under which a fire is burning. [The Prussian General] Blücher (left) and Wellington (right) stand over the vat, holding long-handled perforated ladles with which they skim the surface of the water, fishing out the soldiers. Blücher (left), saying “Mon cher Welington je commence a écumer j’espere que vous me Seconderez,” holds on his level ladle a hussar in large busby, braided tunic, and boots. Wellington holds up on his (tilted) ladle a man hanging head downwards. Beside the vat (right) is a rocky cone from a fissure in which the flames of Hell emerge; Cerberus, a monster with three serpentine necks and webbed wings, reaches from the opening towards Wellington’s captive, and devours his legs with two of his great jaws. Wellington answers: “mon ami Blucher je sais pret a vous suivre mais surtout travaille fort cette nuit.” Other soldiers struggle to get out or sink back hopelessly. An eagle (standard) projects from the water, on which float many tricolour cockades. Wellington’s victim, who has a moustache, is not Napoleon, who is a subordinate figure, struggling to get out, and extending his arms towards Wellington (BM Catalogue online, too good not to reproduce). cf. BM Satires 12573 for a version with captions.

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