The Plumb-Pudding in Danger
- Alternate Title:
- The plumb-pudding in danger: - or - state epicures taking un petit souper - "the great Globe itself, and all which it inherit," is too small to satisfy such insatiable appetites.
- The Plumb-Pudding in Danger
- Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection
- Gillray, James, 1756-1815
- Other Creators:
- Bohn, Henry George; Humphrey, Hannah, active 1774-1817
- Posted Date:
- ID Number:
- File Name:
- 1800 - 1869
- etching (printing process)
Other War & Peace
- 26 x 36 (centimeters, height x width)
- "'The plumb-pudding in danger' is probably Gillray's most famous print. It achieves its impact through the simplicity of its design and the brilliant economy with which Gillray captures the political situation. Napoleon Bonaparte and William Pitt face each other across a steaming 'plum-pudding' globe, both intent on carving themselves a substantial portion of the world. Pitt appears calm, meticulous and confident, spearing the pudding with a trident indicative of British naval supremacy. He lays claim to the oceans and the West Indies. In contrast Napoleon Bonaparte reaches from his chair with covetous, twitching eyes fixed on the prize of Europe and cuts away France, Holland, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and the Mediterranean."(http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw62708/The-plumb-pudding-in-danger---or---state-epicures-taking-un-petit-souper-William-Pitt-Napoleon-Bonaparte#subjects)
One critic regards The Plum Pudding in Danger as "the greatest political cartoon ever . . . The power in The Plum Pudding lies entirely in its capacity to make us laugh, which arises from the way Gillray portrays the two great statesmen: Pitt lanky and crafty; Bonaparte short and manic. (In exile on Elba, Napoleon said Gillray’s depictions of him did him more damage than a dozen generals.) Then there’s . . . something deeply preposterous about reducing the titanic struggle for global hegemony to a fight over a dessert. . . . It makes us reflect on the deeper, defining absurdity of two men who imagine that between them they can eat the whole world and everyone in it. The bathos melts inexorably into pathos. That’s what a great political cartoon can do.” Rowson 2015.
The quote, "the great Globe itself, and all which it inherit," is from The Tempest, IV, 1: "The solemn temples, the great globe itself, Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve," apparently not a thought entertained by Napoleon or Pitt. For another example of the same metaphor, see ID # 1129.
James Gillray was "the first master draughtsman to take caricature as a primary occupation. More than any other, [he] lifted his calling from a trade into an art . . . cross-fertilized the framework with parody, fantasy and burlesque, enormously extending its range and depth." Hill 1965, 1. For most of Gillray's adult life, his work was in enormous demand; "Gillray's plates were collector's items from the moment of publication." Following his death, and particularly after the Regency, his work became the target of Victorian moralists who attacked it as crude and depraved. Ibid. 2-6. Gillray is today again regarded, in the words of one critic, as the "king of the cartoon." Rowson 2015.
For other Gillray works in the collection, Search > Gillray. For "Comic Cartography" in general, see Murray 2011a.
For further information on the Collector’s Notes and a Feedback/Contact Link, see https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/about-collection-personal-statement and https://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/content/feedback-and-contact
- London : H. Humphrey, 1805 Feby 26. This copy is from an edition printed in 1851 from the original plates by Henry George Bohn.
- Private Collection of PJ Mode
- For important information about copyright and use, see http://persuasivemaps.library.cornell.edu/copyright.