“Napoleon and Josephine are in the centre of an elaborate processional design. Individuals and groups are identified by eleven captions in the lower margin. The background is formed of close ranks of French soldiers, with a forest of caps, spears, pikes, and banners receding in perspective. The front row, facing the procession, are grenadiers at attention with bayoneted muskets, the letter ‘N’ in front of their bearskins. They are in shadow; those behind Napoleon are obscured by dense clouds of smoke from a censer; next them (l.) grenadiers blow trumpets and French horns. The procession is led, as by a drum-major, by the posturing and theatrical figure of ‘His Imperial Highness Prince Louis-Buonaparte Marbœuf – High Constable of the Empire’ [Marbeuf was his godfather] on the extreme right. He wears tight-fitting archaic dress, with a feathered coronet, a cloak trailing from one shoulder, buskins, and sabre. He carries a tall staff surmounted by a fleur-de-lis. Next come ‘The Three Imperial Graces, viz. Thier Imp. Highs Princess Borghese [Pauline], Princess. Louis (cher amie of ye Emperor) & Princess Joseph-Bonaparte’ [Hortense and Julie] – three slim young women, very scantily draped, scatter roses. All wear feathered coronets with long snaky curls on their shoulders; they resemble the sisters of Napoleon in BMSat 10072. The ground (l. to r.) is strewn with the flowers they have scattered. Next walks ‘Madame Talleyrand (ci devant Mrs Halhead the Prophetess conducting the Heir Apparent in ye Path of Glory’. A grossly fat woman leads by the hand the little Napoleon-Charles, son of Louis (b. 10 Oct. 1802). The child goose-steps arrogantly, holding out a sceptre in his left hand. He is dressed much like his father, but with the addition of a ribbon and star. Mme Talleyrand wears a feathered coronet and an enormous nosegay; she holds a fan on which is a goat. This, and her patched face, indicate her dissolute past. Slightly behind her, and on her right., hobbles ‘Talleyrand-Perigord. – Prime Minister & King at Arms bearing the Emperor’s Geneology.’ He is burlesqued, with a ‘cheese-cutter’ shin, and a r. foot supported by blocks under the shoe. On his left. shoulder he carries a framed genealogical tree, and hung to his person are crests and symbols in rectangular frames. Napoleon’s family tree issues from ‘Buone Butcher’ and, passing through ‘Buone Cuckold’, terminates in ‘Napoleone Emperor’, which is crowned. The collateral branches are illegible, but one is followed by ‘Hang’d’. …”–British Museum online catalogue.
- Printmaker: Gillray, James, 1756-1815, printmaker.
- Title: The grand coronation procession of Napoleone the 1st, Emperor of France, from the church of Notre-Dame, Decr. 2d, 1804 [graphic] / Js. Gillray invt. & fect.
- Publication: London : Publish’d Jany. 1st, 1805, by H. Humphrey, 27 St. James’s Street, [1 January 1805]
Acquired January 2020