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MASQUERIER, John James (1778--1855)
A description of the great historical picture of the First Consul Buonaparte, at the grand review of the Consular Guard, on Quintidi the 5th Nivose. December 26, 1800. Two days after the explosion of the machine, in the rue St. Nicaise. Exhibiting at No. 22, Piccadilly, opposite the Green Park. Admission one shilling.
London: printed by W. Thiselton, (at his Circulating Library), No.37, Goodge Street, 1801.
[2], 8, [2] p., etch. frontis. ; 24.0 cm. (4º)

This guide was sold at but did not give admission to the public exhibition of Masquerier's celebrated painting 'Napoleon reviewing the Consular Guards' (20 x 27 ft; present whereabouts unknown), two days after an unsuccessful assassination attempt. Attracted by the novelty of Masquerier's claim that his picture of Napoleon was the 'ONLY LIKENESS, in London, painted from the Life', more than 20,000 people are said to have visited his exhibition (including the Prince Regent and, one may fairly safely assume, John Soane). Although Masquerier and his principal partner and investor in the enterprise, the engraver Charles Turner (1774-1857), apparently cleared £1,000 profit between them, a quarrel ensued over the division of the spoils which may or may not have motivated Turner to annotate his copy of the pamphlet to the effect that Masquerier had 'obtain'd the composition of this Picture by giving the valet of Isabey the Painter a premium to let him trace his drawing of the same subject ...' ; that the 'head of Napoleon was from a small china bust; all the officers were copied from Prints he brought over'; and that 'He never saw Buonaparte or any of his Generals.' (quoted Alfred Whitman, Charles Turner ARA, London 1905, p. 254). Turner went on to claim in this note that he himself had 'painted all the Bridles, Saddles; & Mr. H.B. Chalon the horses'. For further background on Masquerier's painting see R.R.M. Sée, Masquerier and his circle, London 1922, pp. 49-62. The final page of the guide advertises a subscription proposal for Turner's mezzotint of the painting which duly appeared on 1 January 1802 (see Whitman, op. cit., pp. 253--254, no. 794). Hooked on Books 9.2.

Copy Notes Loose pamphlet.

Binding Stab-stitched in original early C19th blue paper wrappers.

Reference Number 2741


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