Exhibitions/ Art Object

The King of Brobdingnag and Gulliver.–Vide. Swift's Gulliver: Voyage to Brobdingnag

Artist:
James Gillray (British, Chelsea 1756–1815 London)
Artist:
After Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Braddyll (British, 1776–1862)
Publisher:
Hannah Humphrey (London)
Date:
June 26, 1803
Medium:
Hand-colored etching and aquatint
Dimensions:
sheet (clipped impression): 12 1/16 x 9 5/8 in. (30.6 x 24.4 cm)
Classification:
Prints
Credit Line:
Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1917
Accession Number:
17.3.888-313
Not on view
Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France, perches on the hand of his enemy King George III who regards him through a spyglass. Five weeks before this print was published, the tenuous Peace of Amiens between Britain and France had broken down. The title refers to Jonathan’s Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726), in which the protagonist visits a land of giants, describes his nation’s political system to the king, and provokes a disgusted response. At first glance, this seems a supremely confident image: the huge figure of King George can barely see his tiny enemy. But Napoleon’s swagger and unsheathed saber hint at danger. Indeed, once hostilities resumed, the French began to construct an invasion fleet at Boulogne, and Londoners feared that they might soon see enemies marching up Piccadilly. Gillray’s prints helped to establish a paradigmatic image of Napoleon.
Inscription: in plate: "Pub-d June 26th 1803 - by H- Humphrey 27 St James's Street"; bubble of text in plate: "My little friend Grildig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon yourself and Country, but from what I can gather from your own relation & the answers I have with much pains wringed & extorted from you, I cannot but conclude you be one of the most pernicious, little odious-reptiles that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the Earth-"
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine," September 13, 2011–March 4, 2012.

Wright & Evans 286; British Museum Satires VIII.10019; Grego, p. 298; reprint G.W.G. (1830) II.40; Godfrey, Gillray 96A
Nadine Orenstein, Constance C. McPhee Infinite Jest: Caricature and Satire from Leonardo to Levine Exh. cat.: September 13, 2011 - March 4, 2012. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Haven and London, 2011, Entry by Constance McPhee, cat. no. 130, p. 168 (and contents), ill.



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