The Old Print Shop

Bonaparte in Trouble.

  • ARTIST: Amos Doolittle

  • PUBLISHER: Published by Shelton & Kensett.

  • MEDIUM: Engraving,

    DATE: 1814.

  • EDITION SIZE: Image size 9 3/4 x 14" (24.8 x 35.5 cm).

  • DESCRIPTION: Title in banner top center, “Explanation” key below. 1 the infernal spirit enticing Bonaparte with the Crown of Russia - 2 Bonaparte arrested in his progress by the Russian Bear. - 3 The British Lion attacking him in the rear, having already wrested, from his power the Crowns of Spain & Portugal. - 4 The confederated eagles of Austria & Prussia plucking the feathers of the Rhinish Confederation. - 5 The Genus of Europe breaking the Scepter of Bonaparte and loudly proclaiming Louis the XVIII. <br> An American produced satirical print on the defeat of Napoleon in 1814. Beneath a floating banner announcing “Bonaparte in Trouble,” Bonaparte, emperor of France, sits upon a stumbling horse, hemmed in on all sides by allegorical animals representing the major powers of Europe, as well as the Devil luring him to his downfall with visions of expanding his empire into Russia. This impression lacks the lower publication line of Shelton and Kensett that is normally found below the lower key. It is our opinion that this is an unrecorded first or proof state.<br><br> Amos Doolittle (1754-1832) One of the earliest American engravers on copper.<br><br> Doolittle was born in Cheshire, Connecticut and lived and worked the majority of his life in or around New Haven. At 12 or 13 years of age he apprenticed to Eliakim Hitchcock, a silversmith and jeweler and later set up his own shop in New Haven. It is believed that he taught himself engraving and later became a prolific producer of engraved prints, including historical scenes, bookplates, portraits, maps and biblical illustrations.<br><br> Doolittle most important prints were a set of four different views of the battle of Lexington and Concord. Doolittle was a member of the “Governor’s Guard” of New Haven, under command of Captain Benedict Arnold. Upon news of these historic battles, the unit quickly assembled and marched to Cambridge. Upon arrival there Doolittle along with the artist Ralph Earl, visited the battle sites sought out eyewitnesses and minutemen who fought the battles. He asked them what happened, where and when and recorded what he heard. Upon his return to New Haven he quickly engraved and advertised the four prints, both plain and colored. Today these prints are considered to be the only accurate visual recording of the battles and are of the utmost rarity and importance.<br><br> Other titles of importance include a view of Federal Hall, A display of the United States, A New Display of the United States, The Looking Glass and a set of four images of the Prodigal Son. He also engraved many maps, both as separates and those to be included in atlases.

  • ADDITIONAL INFO: Unrecorded variant state, likely first. Lacks the Shelton & Kensett imprint line that is normally found just below the title. I

  • CONDITION: Overall in good condition. Folded into quarters. Some paper loss in lower title margin.

  • REFERENCE: Stauffer, "American Engravers" #530 (2nd state); Shadwell, W. "American Printmaking:The First 150 Years." p. 50; pl. 97.