Quadrupeds or Little Boney's last Kick

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Quadrupeds or Little Boney's last Kick
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George Cruikshank

Quadrupeds or Little Boneys Last Kick.

London, M. Jones January 1st. 1813, The Scourge

Etching

Original hand colouring

195 x 530 mm

Traces of old folds as issued.

£450

Alexander, as the Russian bear, and on a larger scale than the other figures, stands in the centre of the design holding Napoleon suspended in the air by one jack-booted leg, and plying a large birch-rod. Jack Frost (cf. No. 11918, &c.), a hideous goblin (right), tweaks Napoleon's nose; he has a lean, naked body, webbed and spiky wings, bristling icicles for hair and beard, huge eyeballs, a long sharp nose, talons, and a barbed tail, apparently adapted from No. 11474 by (?) Woodward. The victim, whose crown drops off, screams: "Save me, Save me from de big bore." Alexander wears fur-bordered dress and a small crown on his bear's head. He tramples on a French eagle and laurel wreath. The head of a French officer projects from a hole in the snow (left), saying, "By gar de Bears have caught us in our own Traps." On the left stalwart bears attack the fleeing French, using bayonets and swords; they have a standard on which is a Russian eagle. The little French soldiers have simian faces, and some have tails; they wear big jack-boots, some wear cocked hats, some bonnets rouges, one a cavalry helmet. Some of the French are struggling through, or drowning in, a piece of water on the extreme left, inscribed 'Sea of Troubles'. One soldier holds up an eagle from which flies a flag inscribed 'Leigeon of Honor'; another, floating behind him, clings to his long pigtail. On a snowy mound rising from the water is a gabled wooden cottage, with an open shop-front in which joints of meat are displayed beneath a placard: 'The Kalouga Larder Russian Fare'; from a side-door a bear looks out, aiming a blunderbuss, and saying, "No Admittence here." He addresses a French officer (with a tail) who has reached the hut but is caught by the leg in a steel trap, and staggers backwards, saying, "Ah de Barbare": "dey have not de pity." A placard beside the hut and pine-trees is inscribed: 'Steel Traps & Spring guns set in this gro . . .' Other French soldiers climb the hill behind him; one falls over a dismantled gun. On the extreme right General Kutusoff (not a bear) superintends the cooking of a number of tiny French soldiers in a frying-pan inscribed 'Moscow'; he spears a man on a fork, flourishing a large knife. The pan rests on a grid above a large fire. The soldiers shout: "dont Cut us off"; some have escaped from the flames and are fleeing to the left (towards Jack Frost). Behind and above them is a snow-covered hill, on which Count Platoff, hetman of the Cossacks, stands with outspread arms beside a fashionably dressed young woman. Between them is a tall staff supporting a placard: '100,000 Rubles and my Daughter to the Man who will bring Buonaparte Dead or Alive'. Money-bags are piled at the base of the staff. Between the lady and Kutusoff is a post inscribed 'Bait for Monkeys', from which hangs a bag inscribed 'Provisions & good Winter Quarters'. Galloping through the air above are Cossacks, riding over an arc of clouds, inscribed 'Cloud of Cossacks'. In the foreground, in front of Jack Frost, is a paper: '28th Bulletin This is Autum fine weather easy marches —Invincible General'.