THE DOGS OF WAR HAVE BEEN LET LOOSE IN EUROPE…
“Hark! Hark! The Dogs Do Bark!” Lithograph map in colour made by Johnson, Riddle & Co of London in 1914. Size: without text approx. 49 x 71 cm, (approx. 56 x 73 cm for whole sheet).
A rare seriocomic pictorial map of Europe at the outbreak of World War I. Likely designed in September 1914, after the German advance on Paris had been halted with the aid of the British at the battles of Mons and the Marne. The comedic depiction of the protagonist nations as dogs reflects the optimism of the British at this early stage of the conflict.
The principal countries in the conflict are depicted as the Dogs of War. Germany is identified as an aggressive Dachshund wearing a Pickelhaube, attached to its Austro-Hungarian ally shown as a yapping mongrel. Opposing them is the dandified French Poodle wearing a Phrygian cap, and the British Bulldog who has chomped onto the Dachshund’s nose. Russia is depicted both as a traditional bear and as a massive steamroller driven into the heart of Europe by a determined-looking Tsar. A giant British sailor is puppeteer (presumably Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admirality) for a huge naval fleet, while a kneeling Turk with his lapdog in tow controls a small German fleet in the Black Sea. The other countries are also boldly caricatured with humorous illustrations – a Spanish bullfighter; a knife-wielding Greek ready to stab ready to stab his neighbours in the back; and an Italian carabinieri with pistol in hand ; a Swiss mountaineer overlooking the continent with his binoculars symbolizing neutrality; a Serbian wasp stinging the paw of Austria; Belgium a tiny and easily mauled Griffon; and a fat smiling Dutchman with cigar who, being neutral, hopes to make some money from in the war that’s coming.
This almost whimsical view of the war was of course short-lived. Soon Johnson, Riddle & Co. would be designing recruitment posters to attract volunteers into a war effort that had utterly lost the sense of playful optimism depicted here.
Provenance: collection of Martinus Cornelis Sigal (1888 – 1969), collector’s stamp on verso.
Price: Euro 2.150,-