A Gallic idol

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“A symbolical bust of Napoleon, dressed as a Roman emperor, is on a rectangular base on which are title and inscription : ‘Symbolical of the Effects produced by that Cause which the enlightened (Fox) [Depicted] in ye Eighteenth Century sagaciously predicted would ultimately prove a Stupendous Monument of Human Wisdom!!!’ The head is turned in profile to the left.; the features are conventional but express ferocity, with glaring eye and fierce frown. It wears a fantastic helmet wreathed with laurel from which blood drips. The wreath is entwined by serpents, whose (three) heads are clustered at the back with words in large letters issuing from their jaws: ‘Rapine’, ‘Lust’, ‘Murder’. The word ‘Invasion’ issues in the same manner from the mouth. Above the wreath the helmet is encircled by a band on which are quasi-zodiacal signs: a scorpion, a sickle, a crescent, an arrow, a caduceus, a goat-like monster. On the helmet sits a grinning Devil, playing a fiddle and spreading his webbed wings over the idol‘s head, while from under one wing Death, a skeleton, peers out; he holds a javelin poised to strike and a cup of poison inscribed ‘Jaffa’ [see British Museum Satires No. 10063]. The shoulders are covered by drapery, drawn aside to reveal (rotten) ribs and a torn and bleeding heart which is transfixed by a dagger and a barbed spear. A scroll floats from the dagger inscribed ‘Wilsons Narrative’; the spear has a scroll inscribed ‘British Press’ and is surmounted by a cap of Liberty. Fragments torn from the heart are inscribed ‘Acre’ [see British Museum Satires No. 9412], ‘Egypt’ [see British Museum Satires No. 9250, &c], and ‘Irel[and]’, while in the middle of the heart is a triangular patch: ‘England’. The heart is surmounted by a crown made of blood-stained daggers with a central fleur-de-lis.”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • PrintmakerBarth, J. S., printmaker.
  • TitleA Gallic idol [graphic] / J. Boyne del. ; J. Barth sc.
  • PublicationLondon : Published by R. Cribb, 20 Augt. 1803.

Catalog Record & Digital Collection

Call no TBD

Acquired October 2016