The Freedom of the Seize

Accession Number ART02256
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 60.4 x 52.9 cm (irreg.); image: 60.4 x 52.9 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description brush and ink, charcoal, blue pencil, white gouache on paper
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made 1915
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts a large hand rising up from underneath the sea to grab a sinking and on fire ship. In the background another ship can be seen about to be grasped by a hand rising out of the water. The cartoon comments on the sinking of the 'Arabic', a large passenger ship, on 19 August 1915, despite orders from Kaiser Wilhelm II that passenger ships should not be attacked, this caused the temporary abandonment of the German submarine campaign. This cartoon was published in the 'Daily News', London, 21 August 1915, as 'Freedom of the seize (Teutonic Version) '. Dyson's distinctive biting satire aimed at war and directed at Kaiser Wilhelm prompted his works to be seen as epitomising the prevalent anti-German sentiment. His series of caricatures published in 1915 characterised his response to Germany's military monarchy and used a figure based loosely on the Kaiser, attacking it with vigour.

Will Dyson was the first Australian official war artist to visit the front during the First World War, travelling to France in December 1916, remaining there until May 1917, making records of the Australian involvement in the war. He was formally appointed as an official war artist, attached to the AIF, in May 1917, working in France and London throughout the war. His commission was terminated in March 1920.