Catalog Archive
Auction 161, Lot 489

Rare Satirical Map of Europe at Start of World War I

"European Revue. Kill That Eagle", Geographia Map Co

Subject: Europe, World War I

Period: 1914 (published)


Color: Printed Color

28.3 x 19.4 inches
71.9 x 49.3 cm
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This fascinating serio-comic map was created by John Henry Amschewitz and published in December 1914, at the beginning of WWI. 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. The eagle refers of course to Germany, which has its claw on Marianne's bayonet, while its other claw is being pulled by the Russian bear. Austria is depicted as a clown with the head of an ass in one hand and Italy croons the song lyrics, "You made me love you, I didn't want to do it...," written by American Al Jolson and first published in 1913. Britain is illustrated as a domineering John Bull accompanied by the words "Business as usual," a patriotic phrase coined by British businesses to indicate that business would continue in Britain despite the war. This map was later copied by German propagandists with a mis-interpretation of the phrase "business as usual" to prove Britain's war-mongering ways. Issued folding in original printed paper self-wrappers.

Although the human personification of continents and countries can be seen as early as the 14th century (on maps by Opicinus de Canestris), human and animal metaphors on maps reached a new level in Europe between 1845 and 1945 with political cartoon maps. The rise of these satirical maps reflected the momentous political and cultural changes that occurred during the time. Political leaders were caricaturized and European nations were given symbolic identities that lent humor and accessibility to the geographical map. Based on popular stereotypes, these visual representations even found their way into the classroom to help bring geography and politics to life. Original serio-comic maps are very scarce due to their ephemeral nature.


Condition: B

Bold color with moderate scattered foxing. The covers are toned and soiled.

Estimate: $2,000 - $2,300


Closed on 2/8/2017