Spanish Patriots Attacking the French Banditti – Loyal Britons Lending a Lift

James Gillray British

Not on view

Gillray here develops a satirical etching published in London on August 15, 1808. His dynamic conception responds to the Battle of Bailén, won by Spanish and British troops on July 16–19 against a superior occupying French forces in southern Spain—a victory that proved a rallying point for Britons during the long, bleak Peninsular War (1807–14).
Red-brown wash was used to lay in forms with elements strengthened using black ink. Distant massed battalions roil behind a frieze-like array of fighting figures in the foreground. At center, a dagger-wielding nun grasps the hair of a French officer whose tall, thin physique identifies him as general Pierre Dupont de l’Étang (the word “Buonaparte” inscribed below suggests that Gillray considered placing Napoleon here, even though the emperor was not present at the battle). At left, a group of Spanish patriots load a canon, balanced at right by a British grenadier who skewers underfed French soldiers on a bayonette. That gruesome image embodies the "lift" of the title and creates a verbal-visual pun typical of Gillray's unflinching wit (see 17.3.888-81 for the related print).

Spanish Patriots Attacking the French Banditti – Loyal Britons Lending a Lift, James Gillray (British, London 1756–1815 London), Pen and gray and brown ink, brush and colored washes

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