Two devils in a laboratory produce statutes with the help of a genie; showing the repressive nature of the government of France under Louis-Philippe, especially concerning the freedom of the press. Lithograph by E. Le Poittevin, 1831.
- Lepoittevin, Eugène-Modeste-Edmond, 1806-1870.
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Credit: Two devils in a laboratory produce statutes with the help of a genie; showing the repressive nature of the government of France under Louis-Philippe, especially concerning the freedom of the press. Lithograph by E. Le Poittevin, 1831. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)
About this work
The print depicts the government of France under Louis-Philippe as a diabolical chemical laboratory, producing new laws at every opportunity to counter the freedom of the press. The 'loi de cautionnement' was one such law, which meant that political journals (including Philipon and Aubert's caricature journals) "had to deposit substantial amounts of money against convictions for offence to the king or government" (Wechsler, p. 67). As the caricaturists grew more wily, so the government grew more frustrated, and heavier fines and a stamp tax were introduced. These are among the papers being spirited out of the flask in this print. Also produced by the 'infernal laboratory' are notices for the seizure of certain publications and medals and honours for the king's friends. A bayonet end also falls out of the funnel, revealing the more physical aspects of the repression. The foremost devil bears resemblance to the comte d'Argout, a minister of the time. The other devil resembles Louis-Philippe (Lethève and Gardey, loc. cit.). Two years later, 'La caricature' was forced to close due to the combined effects of devastating fines and periods of imprisonment for Philipon and his illustrators
Laboratoire infernal. Willams B. La caricature (journal) ...
Paris (Galerie Véro-Dodat) : On s'abonne chez Aubert,  (Lith. de Delaporte et de Langlumé)
1 print : lithograph ; image 19.3 x 24.9 cm
Bibliographie de la France, 28 mai 1831, no. 464 ("La caricature (journal), n. 57. Facéties de M. Mahieux, huit petits sujets sur la même feuille. -- Idem, n. 58. Laboratoire infernal, par Williams B. Impr. lith. de Delaporte, à Paris. A Paris, chez Aubert, galerie Véro-Dodat.")--Image of France database no. 21812
Jules Brivois, Bibliographie des ouvrages illustrés du XIXe siècle, principalement des livres à gravures sur bois, Paris 1883, p. 77, no. 29
Jacques Lethève and Françoise Gardey, Inventaire du fonds français après 1800, Bibliothèque nationale, Département des estampes, tome XIV, Paris 1967, p. 70, no. 8
Judith Wechsler, A human comedy, London 1982
Wellcome Library no. 16442i
Attributed to Le Poittevin by Lethève and Gardey, loc. cit., as he favoured diabolical subjects. Signed and registered as by "Willams B.", who has not been identified: presumably identical with the "W.B." signature found by Lethève and Gardey, op. cit., p. 70, no. 15 ("Une planche signée W. B. pour La caricature, no. 107, 1832 : Pl. 220, Scène diabolique: les diables nous parodient ...")
- Caricatures and cartoons |France.
- Newspaper publishing.
- Locks and keys.
- Freedom of the press |France.
- Medicine bottles.
- Libel and slander.
- Decorations of honor |France.
- Political persecution |France –19th century
- Searches and seizures.
- France |History –Louis Philippe, 1830-1848
- Argout, Apollinaire-Antoine-Maurice, comte d', 1782-1858.
- Louis Philippe, King of the French, 1773-1850.
- Dupin, M. 1783-1865.
- Vidocq, Eugène François, 1775-1857.
- Scott, Walter, 1771-1832.
- Gaulthier de Rumilly, Louis-Madeleine-Clair-Hippolyte, 1792-1884.