Unattributed. "Imperial Botany - or a Peep at Josephine's Collection of English Exoticks. Vide the Champion Jany 30, 1814."
London: W.N.Jones, 1 March 1814. 7 5/8 x 20 3/8. With borders, but trimmed within platemarks. Etching. Vivid and attractive hand color. Folds as issued, scarcely visible on image. Otherwise very good condition.
After her divorce from Napoleon Bonaparte, Josephine retained her garden at Malmaison. In this caricature she is depicted as a stout woman showing her plants to the Marchioness of Hertford, who had been separated from the Prince Regent. She points to the Prince's image within a sunflower as the two women discuss gardening in terms alluding to their former lovers. The conceit of the caricature is apt: in reality, these two women had exchanged plants, seeds, and gardening advice during the Napoleonic wars, and Josephine had even received acorns from the great English oaks so that timbers could be acquired for the future French navy. Throughout this very complex composition are people, plants, and images that allude to current events. A complete description from Dorothy George's Catalogue of Political and Personal Satires will be provided upon request.