Britannia Rules The Waves

Description

English

What is this?

The start of the First World War saw the publication of large amounts of supportive, patriotic ephemera designed to appeal to the market of war supporters. This postcard uses powerful British colonial troops – sea-power, imperial songs and the Union Jack – and overlays them onto something peculiarly Canadian – a birch bark scene. Birch bark scenes are still common in Canadian arts and crafts, harking back to Wiigwaasabak (birch scrolls) used by First Nations people to illustrate geometrical patterns and shapes. In this postcard then we can see the birch effect as a Canadian base over which British colonial messages are overlaid.

Full title
Britannia rules the waves. With design of birch bark scene, flag and motto. Photographer: Walter John Ingram.
Published
1914
Created
1914
Format
Postcard / Illustration
Creator
Walter John Ingram
Held by
British Library
Copyright
© Patent and Copyright Office, Library and Archives Canada
Shelfmark
HS85/10/29331

Related articles

Fighting for the Empire: Canada’s Great War in photographs

Article by
Philip Hatfield
Theme: 
Race, empire and colonial troops

Curator Dr Philip Hatfield draws on photographs taken in Canada during World War One, including scenes of enlistment and arms manufacturing, to consider the range of contributions made by Canadian citizens.

The War at sea

Article by
Louise Bruton
Theme: 
The war machine

In the lead-up to World War One Britain and Germany were engaged in a naval arms race. Archivist Louise Bruton examines how the war heralded a new form of naval warfare that featured dreadnoughts, submarines and trade blockades.

Propaganda for patriotism and nationalism

Article by
David Welch
Theme: 
Propaganda

Professor David Welch explores nations’ reliance on propaganda in World War One, with a focus on symbols and slogans of nationhood and patriotism.

Related collection items