A large collection of press photographs of World War One.



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Two oblong folio volumes (measuring 360 x 505mm) containing 696 photographs, with some copyprints, most with images numbered on the negative, various sizes including 159 large format images measuring roughly 300 by 400mm; 238 measuring c.170 by 230mm, and 299 measuring 120 by 160mm. All tipped onto the leaves, many of them with a stamp on the verso reading "Vertriebsstelle Deutscher Zeitungen." Contemporary half calf (thought coated with a synthetic material), extremities slightly rubbed. With a manuscript list of photographs loosely laid in. Germany, Vertriebsstelle Deutscher Zeitungen [German Newspapers Sales Office], 1915 -

A remarkable overview of the First World War, documenting seven European theatres between 1914 and 1918. The images are all press photographs, sold by Vertriebsstelle Deutscher Zeitungen with their stamp on the versos. Many of the images are doubtless by official photographers - the portraits of officers, group portraits and the like all suggest so - but others show Germans troops in distress and do not shy away from the hardships and horrors of war. The striking large format images are rare and unusual for this period.


The photographs are organised geographically with each section marked by a corresponding laid in map of the region. Images of aerial reconnaissance, large-scale battle scenes, downed aircraft (both English and German), tanks, bridges, bombings, and obliterated landscapes, sit beside more intimate and amusing shots of recreational and ceremonial activities including dancing, musicians, and what might be half (the winning half?) of a "tug-o-war". Furthermore we gain insight to the experience of troops on the ground. There are shots of soldiers fighting, marching, in trenches, an Italian POW camp, a paratrooper caught in a tree, wounded soldiers recuperating in hospital, and men hastily constructing wooden crosses to mark graves. Included is a rare photograph of a soldier of African descent and another of a soldier apparently being executed. There are pictures of German planes coming to and from bombing raids, and English naval targets. Furthermore, civilians are depicted: French peasants, farmers driving cattle, women, children, refugees and an elaborate funeral procession. This is a grand attempt to document every aspect of the war in Europe.


Although the compiler of the album remains anonymous, it was doubtless someone who worked for the company, or perhaps one of the photographers whose work is included here. The album was probably put together in the years immediately following the war.


The entirety of the first album is devoted to the Western Front. Commencing in the north of France (Calais, Dunkirk) and Ostende, then inland to Arras and Valenciennes, to Montdidier, St. Quentin, and Meziers, finally the area  incorporating Chalons, Bar le Duc, Nancy and Remiront. It includes 321 photographs of which 69 are large size, 106 are mid-size and there are 146 smaller size images.


Northern Italy and Austria ("Die Front am Insonzo" and "Zu den Kämpfen an der Kärntner-Grenze"): 129 photographs, of which 34 large size, 53 mid-size and 42 smaller size images. This commences with two images "Uebesichtskarte über die Isonsofront" and "Insonzo-Offensive: Uebersichtsplan des Durchbruchgebietes." 


Russia and Poland: 146 photographs including 25 large size, 46 mid-size and 75 smaller size images.


Black Sea: 23 photographs of which 4 large size, 9 mid-size and 10 smaller size images.


Caucasus and Persian border ("Der Kaukasus und die persischen Grenzgebiete"): 20 photographs including 9 large size, 3 mid-size and 8 smaller size images.


Great Britain (“Karte um Fliegerangriff auf London am 13.6.1917.”) 46 photographs including 9 large size, 19 mid-size and 18 smaller size images. 


Baltic states: 11 photographs including 9 large size and 2 mid-size images.   A fascinating collection which also covers political events (meetings and conventions, portraits of politicians among others a portrait of Leo Trotzky) during these four years.


A fascinating collection which also covers political events (meetings and conventions, portraits of politicians among others a portrait of Leo Trotzki) during these four years. 



Stock Code: 231049

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