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 

818.11.18.01+

Acquired October 2018

The last jig, or Adieu to Old England

Click for larger image

A scene in a tavern cellar, with a young woman, gaily dressed, dancing a jig with a man wearing an apron; at left, a sailor playing the violin, at right, a sailor sitting on steps and leaning forward, smoking, resting his arms on a barrel, another beside him holding a bowl, a young woman standing behind them with a hand on the shoulder of each; behind, three amorous couples, including a sailor sitting on another barrel.

  • Artist: Rowlandson, Thomas, 1756-1827.
  • Title: The last jig, or Adieu to Old England [graphic] / Rowlandson del.
  • Published: [London] : Publish’d January 20th, 1818 by Thos. Tegg, No. 111 Cheapside, [20 January 1818]

Catalog record & Digital collection

818.01.20.01+

Acquired November 2012