Foreign Amusements or the British Lion on the Watch (caricature)
Foreign Amusements or the British Lion on the Watch' comments directly on the international stand-off between Britain and the League of Armed Neutrality (Russia, Prussia, Sweden and Denmark) in 1800-1. Russia takes the form of 'Paulo the Bear' actively engaged in gathering the ships of the Baltic nation under his lock and key. It was common in eighteenth century caricature to reference - and at the same time lampoon - the nations of northern Europe by representing them as animals. In the background the army of Prussia, depicted as a series of double-headed Eagles, marches up a hill in support of Russia. Paulo the Bear intentions are clear: 'My Brother the Eagle, is doing the business by land - so I'll try a little by water'.
In response to the Baltic threat, a vigilant British lion looks on, ready to pounce and tame the Russian bear. With its sharp claws prominent, the lion responds to Paulo's taunts with controlled aggression: 'This may be pretty amusement to you Gentlemen - But if once I take a leap amongst you - you'll find a little difference.' The print would prove prescient: in March 1801, the Admiralty sent a fleet to the Baltic. The Battle of Copenhagen that ensued forcibly removed Denmark from the League, and saw the entrance to the Baltic re-opened. The following month, the Russian Emperor Paul was assassinated by a group of embittered army officers, opening the region once again to British trade.
S.W. Fores [publisher]
Original size: 226 mm x 345 mm
- Image reference: PW3936
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
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