A 1916 World War I poster by Z. P. Nikolaki, the pseudonym of Nicholas Panayotti Zarokilli, a Greek artist born in 1879 in Turkey, who worked in New York City doing art for posters and magazine covers, and throughout Europe painting portraits of royalty and writing for travel magazines. Nikolaki’s art also appeared on stamps, the one below from the collection of the British Library.
“The Queen of Hearts” by John Byam Liston Shaw (1872-1919) , an English painter born in Madras, India.
“Margaret Nettlefold before Her Dining Room at Winterbourne”
“The Boer War” to which title Shaw added two lines from Christina Rossetti, “Last summer green things were greener, Brambles fewer, the blue sky bluer.”
A German cigarette card from the 1930s for Admiral Tojo Heihachiro, Commander of the Japanese fleet that destroyed the Russian fleet at the Battle of Tsushima (1905), effectively ending, and winning, the Russo-Japanese War.
Included with Eckstein No. 5 and Rarität cigarettes, from Dresden, this card is from the “Great History of the World” series, Group 8: On the Eve of the World War.
“All participants lie in war. It is natural. Some often, some all the time: UN spokesmen, Croats, Serbs, Muslims, the lot. Truth is a weapon more than a casualty. Used to persuade people of one thing or another, it becomes propaganda. The more authoritative the figure, the bigger the lies; the more credible his position, the better the lies. Why waste time listening to an officer in a headquarters crank out the party line when you could see the reality of a situation for yourself in the dirty bunkers up the way? That others chose not to go to the scene of fighting was understandable. It was dangerous and frightening. On one level there was no match between death and 600 words on page fourteen. If you went, then you went for yourself. If you did not that was fine too; and, ironically, editors were probably happier with lies from names their readers recognized as power figures, than with real talk which they wrote off as ‘colour.’ Colour? At the front it was always laid out before you in black and white. No room for pretence and posture in the dying places, only an awful purity; the fear of death which democratizes the emotions, the struggle for survival which distils the life-force into a concentrate. Basic humanity. No colour there.”
– Anthony Loyd in My War Gone By, I Miss It So (1999); in the fourth sentence above, Loyd alludes to the quote, “In war, truth is the first casualty.” This is variously attributed to the Greek playwright Aeschylus, as well as to Samuel Johnson, who in 1758 wrote, “Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.” Also, in 1918, U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson noted in a speech, “The first casualty, when war comes, is truth.” Although many debate its origins, few question its accuracy.
The photo above is from the dust jacket of Anthony Loyd’s book. It was taken in 1995, days before the end of the war in the Balkans, by Gilles Peress. A Muslim soldier weeps after finding his home in a recaptured Bosnian village. His family had been executed by Serbs years earlier.
This is so brilliant. Read the whole history here, with thanks to Lee Kear for the tip.
“Lineman, Military Telegraph” by Isaac Walton Taber (1857-1933)
In the 1880s while memories of the Civil War were still fresh, the Century magazine commissioned a history of the war, drawing upon first person accounts and illustrated by the best pen & ink artists of the day. During the war (1861-1865), there was no good way to transfer a photograph to the printed page, and artists who sent their sketches in from the battlefields were at the mercy of those who engraved their art on wood blocks, always in a rush, for printing. But 20 years later, it was possible to hire the best artists and allow both artists and engravers the time to produce the best images. The history ran in Century magazine and when completed was published in four volumes as Battles and Leaders of the Civil War (1888). In 1974, the art from this collection was published as The American Heritage Century Collection of Civil War Art. These images are taken from that publication, with thanks to Steve and Wendy Osborne for the gift of the book.
“Chickahominy Swamp” by John Douglas Woodward (1846-1924)
“Kearsarge Gun Crew” by Isaac Walton Taber (1857-1933)
“Confederate Gunboat, Bayou Teche” by Frank H. Schell (1834-1909)
“The Lee House” by Isaac Walton Taber (1857-1933)