October 16, 2012

Irishmen - Avenge the Lusitania. Join an Irish Regiment To-Day

Until 1922, when the southern counties seceded to form the Irish Free State, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. When World War I broke out, many Irish nationalists seeking independence for Ireland urged their compatriots to shun the British war effort. Some went so far as to conspire with German agents in various anti-British activities, but other Irishmen rallied to the British cause. Between 1914 and 1916, approximately 180,000 Irishmen volunteered to serve in the British armed forces. This poster, published in 1915 by the Central Council for the Organisation of Recruiting in Ireland, sought to capitalize on the feelings stirred up by the sinking of the Lusitania to encourage Irish enlistments. The British-owned passenger liner was sunk by a German submarine off the southern coast of Ireland on May 7, 1915, while en route to Liverpool from New York. Rescue vessels were sent from Queenstown, but out of 1,959 people on board, only 764 survived. The graphic image shows the ship in flames and sinking, with people in the water and lifeboats in the foreground.

Is Schleswig Danish? Schleswig is German!

This 1919 poster shows a map of the province of Schleswig and indicates the numbers of German and Danish speaking voters in 1912, the time of the last elections to the German Reichstag (parliament). Also shown are four views of the province: a farmhouse, a church in a town, a river or canal, and a coastal view. The text argues that the south of the province is “pure German,” and that the “majority of the population is German and feels German.” Schleswig had been an object of rivalry between Germany and Denmark for decades. In 1866, as a consequence of the Austro-Prussian War, the Duchy of Schleswig became a part of Prussia and was merged with Holstein to create the province of Schleswig-Holstein. Following Germany’s defeat in World War I, the Treaty of Versailles stipulated that the future of Schleswig was to be determined by a plebiscite. The vote was held in February 1920. Three-quarters of the population elected in favor of union with Denmark, and in July 1920 the province was incorporated into Denmark. This poster by Chr. Kreutzfeldt, published in Berlin, was part of the unsuccessful German campaign to retain the province.

Remember Scarborough! Enlist Now

On December 16, 1914, a German naval force of battle cruisers under the command of Admiral Franz von Hipper bombarded the English North Sea coastal towns of Scarborough, Hartlepool, and Whitby, killing 122 civilians and wounding 443. The attack was made as part of a German plan to draw the numerically superior British fleet out into the North Sea, where it would be vulnerable to German minefields and submarine attack. Scarborough was undefended, lacking any gun emplacements, and the British government and public opinion strongly condemned the attack on a defenseless town and the killing of civilians. The Germans believed that Scarborough was defended by gun batteries and was a legitimate military target. This poster, showing the figure of Britannia carrying the British flag and leading citizens from a pastoral landscape with a city in flames in the background, invoked what became known as the Scarborough Raid to encourage British men to enlist in the armed forces.

Bible (Old Testament) of the Ratisbon Dominican Order

This manuscript forms the first volume of a Latin Bible formerly in the possession of the Dominican Order at Ratisbon (now Regensburg). It comprises several books of the Old Testament as well as interpretations of biblical terms. The manuscript contains unusual miniatures by the noted German Renaissance painter Berthold Furtmeyr (active 1460–1501). Furtmeyr and his followers were important contributors to the ancient Ratisbon School of Illumination. An artist of great renown, Furtmeyr illuminated many impressive works, including this manuscript, the Furtmeyr Bible, the Salzburg feast missal in five volumes (all now at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany), and many other works. The artist showed his mastery of the difficult task of successfully combining pictures, ornament, and text with great authority. Furtmeyr is famous for his handling of colors, his brightly shining illuminations, and the extreme diligence that marks his craftsmanship. Although he was still deeply rooted in the Middle Ages, his love of color, nocturnal scenes, and female nudes mark a transition to the Renaissance.

Manuscript of a Mongolian Sūtra

This text is a representative example from the collection of Mongolian manuscripts in the Bavarian State Library. It is a Buddhist manuscript produced in the Beijing style, in which a sheet has been inserted in both the upper and lower cover. A silk curtain of different colors protects the sheets set in the recess. This type of book cover was developed in Beijing for Tibetan and Mongolian manuscripts and is sometimes also found among block print bindings. This example is one of the Mahayana Sutras (Yeke kölgen sudur): the popular and widespread Vajracchedikā, one of the Prajñāpāramitā texts. On the left of folio 1 is a miniature of the Buddha, and on the right, one of his devotees. Depicted on the lower cover, as is often the case with Mongolian manuscripts, are the four so-called Great Kings, or custodians of the world.

Gospel Book

This manuscript originated in the monastery of Saint Gall in eastern Switzerland in the late-ninth or early tenth century. Because of its typical style of decoration, it has been ascribed to the "Sintram Group" of manuscripts, after the scribe and calligrapher Sintram, who was active at Saint Gall in the ninth century and whose handwriting was known and admired in much of Europe. This decoration consists of an impressive script in monumental (square) capitals, the interspaces of which are filled with gold and silver, two-line rustic capitals, and uncial script or monumental capitals in gold at the beginning of texts. The canon tables display rows of arcades, drawn in red ink and decorated with floral and geometrical motifs filled in bright blue, gold and silver. The numerous initials are usually decorated with gold or silver floral or animal motifs or interlace. The miniatures in this manuscript, however, are not typical of the famous Carolingian school of Saint Gall and have been linked to exemplars from the court school of Charles the Bald (823–77). Two of the portraits of the evangelists, those of Mark and John, are preserved and are fine examples of Carolingian painting.