Mirages to order

Accession Number ART02421
Collection type Art
Measurement sheet: 62.8 x 43.1 cm; image: 62.8 x 43.1 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description pen, brush and ink, pencil and blue pencil, white gouache on paper
Maker Land & Water
Place made United Kingdom, 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


This cartoon was published in 'Land and Water' 4 December 1915, in London, and comments on the German idea that the East had been made to take the place of Paris, Calais and Petrograd, Russia as the 'Gates of Victory'. The cartoon depicts a weary German peasant, with a skull in the foreground, carrying a German war lord, in uniform, over devastated fields towards a mirage of an Eastern city, with towers, domes and minarets, with a figure of a similar war lord towering above the imaginary city. When published, the text accompanying the cartoon was, ' German peasant: "But will this one dissolve like the others?" German war lord: "If it does, I will find others to take its place". From 1915, a number of Dyson's caricatures were published, characterised by his response to Germany's military monarchy. Using a figure loosely based on the Kaiser, Dyson identified the 'common enemy' and attacked it with vigour. When some of his anti-German cartoons were published in 1915, they were accompanied by the following foreword; 'Mr. Dyson...responds to all the fearful pressure of this war in cartoons. He perceives a militaristic monarchy and national pride a threat to the world, to civilisation, and all that he holds dear, and straightaway he sets about to slay it with his pencil...he turns his passionate gift against Berlin." 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.