A kiss at the congress

Louis XVIII, grotesquely obese (left), and the Tsar kiss, their lips touching

“Louis XVIII, grotesquely obese (left), and the Tsar kiss, their lips touching. Louis, whose head is much the larger, grasps the back of Alexander’s head; the Tsar bends from the waist to reach beyond the King’s paunch. Louis, with the gouty legs and old-fashioned gold-embroidered coat and waistcoat of English caricature, wears the order of the Saint Esprit. The Tsar, in uniform, has the high pinched waist and bulging breast of the dandy (cf. British Museum Satires No. 13029) with enormous cavalry boots to the thigh, huge epaulets, and a sash, but no sword. He says: “My Dear Legitimate Brother (tho I believe I call Boney the same) I am happy to serve you tho your cursed Country Men almost destroyed my country–” Louis answers: “Ma Chere [sic] Ami, I am so rejoiced at your Brotherly Kindness in putting off our payment & takeing off your Troops that I could Devour you.” The embrace is watched by two Frenchmen on the left, and on the right by the King of Prussia, the Emperor of Austria, and a young man (? Napoleon’s son). Frederick William wears dandified uniform like that of the Tsar but with long trousers; he supports a large sword hanging from a belt, and holds a huge cocked hat; he watches the embrace with distaste, saying, “I am obliged to follow the Leaders at Present.” Francis I says: “I must agree for the moment but I have a Grandson.” One Frenchman wears uniform with top-boots; he says: “De Legitimate francais be too much for John Bull de manoeuvre by Gar ve want de Time & we show dem vat ve intend.” His companion, an elderly man wearing a court suit with a powdered wig (Richelieu attended the Conference on behalf of France) says delightedly: “Ah-ha he do him vid Compliments & den we do them out of the Money.” Behind them is a row of melancholy knock-kneed Grenadiers.”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • Printmaker: Heath, William, 1795-1840, printmaker.
  • Title: A kiss at the congress [graphic] : a legitimate embrace at Aix la Chapelle between Alexander the Great and Louis the Large, & others of the dramatis persona.
  • Publication: [London] : Pub. Nov. 18, 1818, by S.W. Fores, 50 Piccadilli [sic] & 114 Oxford Street, [18 November 1818]

Catalog Record 


Acquired October 2018

The head of the great nation, in a queer situation

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“Napoleon, a little figure with a big head, stands with legs astride, head turned to the left, hair on end; his arms are extended, fingers spread, mouth open as if shrieking. He has a grotesque profile with corvine nose and wears high jack-boots with large spurs. At his feet lies a broken baton inscribed ‘Magic Wand’. Five allies threaten him at point-blank range, and from a circle of cloud an arm emerges holding a conical ‘Allied Extinguisher’ above his head. On the extreme left Wellington aims a blunderbuss, saying, “Take a good aim at the Head Gentlemen, & we shall soon settle the Business.” On Wellington’s left stands Francis I, aiming a small pistol; by his head are the words: ‘A way Mr Boney the Hand of Justice [see No. 12247] will put your Night Cap on at last.’ On the extreme right a fat Dutchman, wearing a conical cap as in No. 12105, stands behind a small cannon holding a lighted match and a cannon-ball inscribed ‘Orange Boven’; he says: “I’ll deal out my Oranges to him Wholesale.” Beside him are piled cannon-balls inscribed ‘Orange’. In his hat are orange ribbons inscribed ‘Orange Boven’ and a tobacco-pipe. Next him the Tsar leans forward, aiming a large pistol; he says: “I’ll rattle a few Snow Balls at his Cranium.” On Alexander’s right stands Bernadotte, aiming a small pistol; he says: “By gar we shall mak de head look like de plomb Pudding.” All but the Dutchman wear uniform with cocked hats. A background of smoke or cloud is indicated.”–British Museum online catalogue.

  • Printmaker: Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878, printmaker.
  • Title: The head of the great nation, in a queer situation [graphic] / G. Cr . fect.
  • Published: [London : Pub. Dec. 1813 by S. Knight, Sweetings Alley Royl., December 1813]

Catalog Record & Digital Collection


Acquired November 2013