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French Conscripts for the years 1820, 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25. Marching to join the Grand Army.


Pub. by McCleary, Nassau St. [Dublin].

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In Collection: Volume two of a collection of caricatures, mainly set in Dublin
Description: Satire referring to the fact that in the aftermath of Napoleon's disastrous Russian campaign, on 10 January 1813 the French Senate agreed to a levy of 300,000 conscripts - allowing Napoleon to replenish his army by calling up the military class of 1814 a year early. Note this print is after George Cruickshank's "French conscripts for the years 1820, 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25. Marching to join the grand army", published by Samuel Knight, Sweetings Alley, Royal Exchange, Cornhill, London on 18 March 1813; see BM Satires 13486. This print is lettered with title "French Conscripts for the years 1820, 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25. Marching to join the Grand Army" with publication line "Pub. by McCleary, Nassau St." inscribed within image. A soldier whose tricorne hat and jacket is very worn is depicted wearing an eyepatch, lacking part of his nose and an arm (he has an empty left sleeve) and walks on wooden legs. He addresses a number of infant conscripts: 'Come along my pretty little Heros [sic, Heroes], I will lead you to the Horrible Climate, shure you shall see the Dancing Bears & play at snow balls & you shall get all the nice sugar plumbs & if you behave yourselves like good Children you may perhaps get a pair of pretty wooden legs & your heads covered with nice patches of Glory.' One infant conscript urinates against the soldier's wooden leg while to his left, an infant wearing only a shirt stands on his tiptoes, clasping a large musket, saying, "I vant to do home to my Mam-me." Behind him, another infant stands on a drum while wearing a cavalry helmet several times too large for his head and a pair of black cavalry boots with huge golden spurs. He says "Peep bo". In the left foreground, the legs of a child can be seen inside a cannon while above another infant sits on top of it. In the right foreground a child in uniform wearing a very large knapsack and a huge shako [hat] and a pigtail that trails onto the ground struggles to walk, weighed down by all he is carrying. In the right background a group of infant conscripts led by one wearing a large bicorne hat and cavalry boots march past a gibbet from which hangs a skeleton (surrounded by carrion); the gibbet also acts as a signpost - inscribed on it is ‘To Russia' - and it points right. Two infants in the group marching carry an Eagle with a 'Legion of Honor' banner while in front of them 'Over the Hills & far away' is played on a fife accompanied by another infant playing a drum.
Main Creator: Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878, artist
Created: [Dublin] : McCleary, Nassau St., [n.d., ca. 1813-1814?].
Language: English
Extent: 1 print : hand-coloured etching, image 22.2 x 32.2 cm., [cropped within platemark], on sheet 23.3 x 32.9 cm., mounted in album on sheet 27.8 x 37.2 cm..
Call Number: PD 2121 TX 2 (8) (Collection unavailable)
Rights: Reproduction rights owned by the National Library of Ireland.