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James Gillray (1756-1815)
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James Gillray (1756-1815)

The Hand Writing Upon the Wall (G. 10072)

Details
James Gillray (1756-1815)
The Hand Writing Upon the Wall (G. 10072)
etching with hand colouring, 1803, on wove paper, published by the artist, London
P. 250 x 355 mm., S. 285 x 385 mm.
Special Notice

This lot is offered without reserve.
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

This print was published in August 1803 following Napoleon's claim two months earlier that it would take only three days of fog for him to become master of London, of Parliament, and of the Bank of England. Here Gillray depicts Napoleon sitting down to a sumptuous feast, in which the dishes are the English buildings he plans to master. Just as he is about to tuck into St James's he notices the inscription on the wall, and shocked by what it says spills wine over his fellow gluttonous diners. The inscription, a quotation from the book of Daniel, tells him that God has numbered his days; he has been weighed and has been found wanting. The pictorial source for this print is most likely Rembrandt's Belshazzar's Feast.

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