CARTOON MAP OF EUROPE AT THE BEGINNING OF WORLD WAR I
“European Revue, Kill that Eagle” Lithograph designed by John Henry Amschewitz in December 1914 and published by Geographia Ltd. In London. Size (paper) 57 x 81 cm.
Despite its initial appearances the map has a serious message to convey.
It is showing Austria-Hungary at the centre, depicted as the tragic and buffoonish Pierrot character of European pantomime, who eternally pines for an unrequited love. Is it Germany’s love that Austria pines for? While grasping itself to the German eagle, which is currently clawing the French bayonet, he is watching horrified as the brown bear of Russia lashes out at both of them, grabbing ankles and talons. A small dog (Serbia) grasps him in his coat. Great Britain and France are ready to attack the eagle. France is represented as Marianne avec le Coq Galois, the two emblematic symbols of the French nation.
Great Britain is represented as a domineering John Bull with his arms already bloodied from physical conflict. The blood is not his own. He marches across the Channel toward the conflict armed with a sword and has the armies of Ireland, India, New Foundland and the ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) behind him as support. He views the situation as ‘Business as usual’.
In the south, Italy is depicted as an opera singer crooning “You made me love you, I didn’t want to do it” written by American Al Jolson and first published in 1913. Italy later backed out of the Triple Alliance. The Ottoman Empire is pushed, unwillingly it seems, sitting on a barrel of gunpowder, towards the conflict by German interests. The smaller (neutral) countries of Europe watch intently from a distance, looking cautiously and nervous, with the maelstrom of European affairs surrounding them.
Amschewitz was a British born artist who was unable to enlist for war service due to an injury he sustained while working on a mural project in Liverpool. Instead Amschewitz focused on his interests in art and theater, themes which are apparent in this map and even the title itself: European Revue.
Provenance: collection Martinus Cornelis Sigal (1888 – 1969), with collector’s stamp on verso.
Price: Euro 1.950,-