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Thomas Rowlandson (1757-1827)

Blucher the Brave extracting the groan of abdication from the Corsican blood hound. 9 Apr 1814

RCIN 810922

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In 1804, Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France, and expanded his influence over much of Europe through a combination of war and diplomacy. But in attempting to invade Russia in 1812 he overstretched himself, and a series of defeats lost him the support of his army. This satire celebrates his abdication in April 1814. It shows the Prussian Field Marshal, Gebhard von Blücher, the victor at the Battle of Leipzig, shaking Napoleon (shown as a hound). Napoleon’s imperial regalia lies at Blücher’s feet. After his abdication, Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba (off the west coast of Italy), under the guard of the British navy.