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Vers le Châtiment! [Heading for Punishment]

  • Author: ANONYMOUS (after JOHNSON RIDDLE & Co)
  • Publisher: Wilford (Liverpool)
  • Date: c1915
  • Dimensions: Image: 59.7 x 44.6 cms / Sheet: 61.5 x 47.5 cms.


Scarce French copy of Johnson Riddle’s 1914 satirical map of Europe, printed in Liverpool, probably for Belgian refugees

About this piece:

Vers le Châtiment! [Heading for Punishment]

Printed colours. A few cosmetic repairs and verso reinforcements. Small area of very light original blue ink staining to image in central France, otherwise fine.

This is an exceedingly rare, perhaps unique, derivative copy of Johnson Riddle & Co’s well-known satirical war map, “Hark! Hark! The Dogs do bark!”, which had first been published in London in November 1914.  This map was probably issued shortly afterwards, perhaps in early 1915.

Printed in Liverpool by local printer, Wilford (whose details we have, as yet, been unable to trace), the skilled anonymous artist copies the design of the original Johnson Riddle map almost exactly. Interestingly the two German ships in the Black Sea are now specifically identified as the Goeben & Breslau. It was their flight to Constantinople in August 1914 & subsequent transfer, with their crews, to Turkey, which precipitated the latter’s entry into the war on the side of the Central Powers. The artist omits the descriptive “Note”, which had originally been provided by humorist, Walter Emanuel [1869-1915] and translates all of the place names into French as well as providing a French title: Vers Le Chatiment! [Heading for Punishment!].

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the map is the dedicatory inset, which pays homage to the fighting monarch of “plucky” Belgium, King Albert I [1875-1934], here depicted amid the ruins of his homeland, the powerful protective presence of the British Lion at his side. After the German invasion of Belgium in August 1914, Albert had taken personal command of the Belgian Army. Their spirited defence in the initial weeks of the war enabled the British & French to prepare for the decisive Battle of the Marne (Sept 1914). Through the Siege of Antwerp (Aug-Sept 1914) & the Battle of Yser (Oct 1914), Albert witnessed his country reduced to a small coastal strip, where, in the trenches behind the River Yser, he & his small Army would remain ensconced for the next 4 years.

The map’s French text and Belgian focus, suggests that it may perhaps have been produced to satisfy the patriotic passions of the rapidly growing influx of Belgian refugees now arriving & settling in Britain in late 1914 & early 1915, especially in maritime ports such as Liverpool.