French Liberty. British Slavery
A tattered Frenchman warms his feet at a meager fire while dining on raw scallions and live snails. Deluded and nearing starvation, he declares that Liberté has turned France into a paradise flowing with milk and honey. In an adjacent panel, a portly, well-dressed Briton enjoys beef and ale while complaining about taxes. Gillray here employs the imagery of consumption to contrast the political realities governing France and Britain at the end of 1792. France had recently been declared a Republic and King Louis XVI imprisoned (he would be guillotined on January 21, 1793). Gillray’s Frenchman is a literal sans-culotte ("no-britches"), the nickname applied to the ruling radicals who eschewed arist ...
December 21, 1792
24.9 x 35.5cm
Image and text © Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019
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