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Visions of Britain 1914-15

Visions of Britain 1914-15

I don’t want to repeat too much I’ve just said in my previous post (and probably a good idea to read that first), but I thought it might be fun to compare the different depictions of the British Isles. One tends to encounter the plucky bulldog of Walter Emanuel’s “Hark! hark! the dogs do bark!" or the ruddy John Bull of Amschewitz’s "European Revue. Kill that Eagle!”, but these depictions range from mildly pro to downright hostile. Given the current state of the EU, satirists take note! That aside, I found it interesting to compare and contrast how the different artists had made use of the same geographical space.

Louis Raemaekers, 1914. Britain as clean-cut, claymore wielding Scotsman, with Ireland as his shield (a clever use of the cartography which could also be interpreted as making Ireland the first line of defence).

Walter Trier, 1914. A Scotsman again, but from another, hostile perspective … concealing the Grand Fleet under his kilt.

Karl Lehmann-Dumont, 1914. I described this one pretty fully in the previous post - apologies for the repetition: Bees issuing from the German hive are accompanied by zeppelins, one of which is jabbing Britain (this time an Englishman in a pillbox hat) in the guts, while a mailed fist emerging from the North Sea, smashing a devastating blow into his face, presumably represents the Imperial Navy’s High Seas Fleet. Ireland and India are both presented as liabilities: Ireland, a bottle in one hand, attempts to cut the chain which ties him to England with scissors held in the other, while an Indian snake is constricting the bulldog (all rather wishful thinking on the cartoonist’s part - the contribution of both nations to the Allied war effort was enormous, but this is propaganda … ) Note the sacks of money which the figure of the Englishman is standing on, supporting his weight. That’s a very old complaint indeed, going back to the Napoleonic Wars at least, that Britain could afford to bankroll others to fight her wars for her, stirring up trouble without risking British lives by intervening on the continent in a major way herself.

Karl Lehmann-Dumont 2, also 1914. On this second map tensions between Ireland and England are not apparent. Ireland has become the bulldog featured in the map above, and England a crocodile, it’s jaws restricted by a band labelled India.

E. Zimmermann, 1914. England is being shot in the backside, attempting to drag in a reluctant Ireland with a claw-like left hand, while holding a bulldog like a lap-dog under his right arm. Fleet/money are safely stowed where they shouldn’t come to harm. The snake is a reference to British propaganda - claims of ‘false victories’.

Fritz Elsner, 1914. A rather weedy, unthreatening Englishman in a pillbox cap.

Anonymous, c. 1914. Pretty ropey cartographically, even by the standards of these maps, but it makes the point! A German battleship threatens London and peppers the behinds of the scrawny, cowering British bulldogs while Ireland looks on in pleased amusement.

Vladislav Levinsky, 1915. As I wrote in my previous post, not the most flattering depiction of Britannia by an ally, but she looks capable! A reference to Britain’s naval might, with Erin keeping close company in an altogether simpler vessel.

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