Who are these people in this satirical cartoon of the Congress of Verona? Congress of Verona satirical cartoon

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Three men in military dress sit around a rectangular table - a fourth man has stood up so suddenly that he has knocked his chair over. His sword is half-drawn. A fifth man watches though a window and gives a warning:

Take care of that Bear, he has set his Mind on Blood, & his voracious appetite will gorge both East, & West, and he is only making you his Fools, to Cut each others Throat that he may devour you all the more easily.

You had better not – garde a Toi

There are two small men behind the rightmost seated man on his chair. There is a man under the table in a rocking cradle with "Pruſsia" (Prussia) written on it. The leftmost seated man has one foot on the bottom of the cradle, presumably rocking it. There is a prostrate man in blue beneath the leftmost man. The label is too small to be read. There are two prostrate men beneath the feet of the rightmost man, one in green, one in orange. Both labels are too small to be read.

Who are all these people?

Wikipedia mentions many people present at the Congress:

The Quintuple Alliance was represented by the following persons:

  • Russia: Emperor Alexander I and Count Karl Robert Nesselrode (minister of foreign affairs). Count George Mocenigo (Ambassador of Russia in Torino), was also present;
  • Austria: Prince Metternich;
  • Prussia: Prince Hardenberg and Count Christian Gunther von Bernstorff;
  • France: The duc de Montmorency-Laval (minister of Foreign Affairs) and François-René de Chateaubriand;
  • United Kingdom: The Duke of Wellington, who was taking the place of Viscount Castlereagh after the latter's suicide on the eve of the congress.

I'm guessing that the man in the window is the Duke of Wellington, the standing man is Emperor Alexander I of Russia and the seated man saying "garde a toi" is the duc de Montmorency-Laval of France.

Who are the other two seated men? Who are the six small men?

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    Guess based on the colors for the four around the table: Russia (green), France (blue), UK (red), and Austria (white). Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 4:02
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    Zooming in, you can just barely make out that the little figures are labelled Bohemia, Sicily and Saxony.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 4:27

1 Answer 1


Note that a satirical sketch like this does not necessarily portray the actually participants at a conference. Often, they feature a personification of the nations involved. In this case, as Denis commented, green, blue, white and red are the colours for Russia, France, Austria and England, respectively, derived mainly from their military uniform colours. So:

  1. The man on the left, in green, is Tsar Alexander of Russia.

    • The light blue figure on the floor is Bohemia
  2. The standing man next to him is France's Louis Antoine, duc d'Angoulême. He led the French invasion of Spain.

    • They appear to be looking at a map of Spain on the table.
  3. The man in white is Emperor Francis of Austria.

    • The two little figures under him are Saxony and Sicily - both kingdoms dominated by Austria. Sicily was invaded in 1821 to put down a revolution.
    • The two little figures sticking out of his back are the kings Ferdinand of Naples and Charles Felix of Sardinia, both of whom were relying on Austrian troops to crush revolutions in their kingdoms at the time. Note that Ferdinand was also king of Sicily where a revolution broke out, but he merged his kingdoms and formally styled himself King of the Two Sicilies after 1816, so this label was anachronistic.
  4. The man in red is the Duke of Wellington. Note that he is the one saying "You had better not – garde a Toi" - Wellington resolutely opposed the proposed French intervention.

  5. The man in the window is Prince Metternich, the Austrian chancellor and architect of the post-Napoleonic Vienna system.

Edit - As it turns out, Brown University has a high resolution scan of the work.. Check out the link for a better view, but specifically the close ups on the labels identifies all the little figures:

Naples and Sardinia: enter image description here

Saxony: enter image description here

Sicily, spelt as Scicely: enter image description here

Bohemia: enter image description here

  • 1
    Could you explain why these figures are what you name them? (reason for size, trampling etc) The baby? The 2 little guys behind the white man? What hat is Metternich wearing? And what kind of most holy alliance forming does this picture represent? (And seriously: good eyesight, from just using this pic, I do not see any clear labels but just me scratching my head: figure under right foot "Varda?" Perhaps Sarda, then Sardinia, not "Sicily"?) Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 7:47
  • @LangLangC The first letter is definitely ſ, so s, and you can see a i in the middle, with a a stroke under the last letter that I assume to be a y rendered faint by jpeg compression. I filled in the blanks and assumed it's Sicily, which Austrian troops had invaded just recently. If Sardinia was intended, I find it unlikely that they would render it as Sarda.
    – Semaphore
    Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 8:38
  • Cannot argue against these optics, but doubts remain, it's too small and lossy. Content wise however: It seems to me that succession to Sardinian throne played a bigger role than 2-Sicilies at Verona: "In the face of the concerted opposition of France, Russia, Britain, the Papacy, and Tuscany, Metternich in November yielded with as much grace as possible. It was simply another case of the cake not being worth the candle. Concluding that Austrian interests would be ill-served by further interference with the Sardinian succession, he discreetly suggested to…" (Irby Nichols) Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 9:19
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    Prussia seen as an upstart, childish; then at times passive during the event (not enitrely to all aspects or the whole time). Further minutiae: "(5) Article IV stipulated that the "two emperors" would give France an annual subsidy of 20,000,000 francs ($ 4,000,000) each to help her crush the Spanish and Portuguese revolutions, […] And why was Prussia exempted from contributing anything? When war came, France had to finance it herself. Finally, the reference to the "two emperors" is colloquial." Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 9:59
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    These optics now are convincing ;) Add some more background to the historical dynamics portrayed and it's perfect. Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 10:03

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