A New Phantasmagoria

magic lantern.jpg
After George Moutard Woodward (1760-1809). A New Phantasmagoria for John Bull!!, 1 February 1805. Hand-colored etching. Published by Rudolph Ackermann, London. Graphic Arts British caricature

George Woodward was a caricaturist from Stanton-by-Dale, Derbyshire, whose drinking habits are perhaps better known than his art. When he moved to London his inheritance had already been spent. More often than not, he provided the drawing of an idea to publishers and to other caricaturists, rather than a completed etching. He very sadly passed away one night at his usual spot in his local tavern.

In this print, John Bull is seen as a sailor wearing striped trousers, a sword in his right hand. He looks towards two figures poised on the beams, which radiate from a magic lantern worked by Napoleon. Other beams reach a bear standing on a rocky island on the horizon behind John. Napoleon says: “Begar de brave Galanté Shew - for Jonny Bull.” The two lantern-figures include a French officer, holding a tricolour flag in the left hand, and young woman. He says: “Here we come Johnny - A Flag of Truce Johnny - something like a Piece! all deckd out in Bees, and stars and a crawn [sic] on her head - Not such a patch’d up piece as the last.” John answers with a distrustful stare: “You may be d——-d and your piece too! - I suppose you thought I was off the watch - I tell you Ill say nothing to you till I have consulted Brother Bruin and I hear him grouling teribly in the offing.” (from M. Dorothy George, Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires in the British Museum, VIII, 1947)