Britannia Rules The Waves


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.
Walter John Ingram
Postcard / Illustration
Walter John Ingram
Held by:
British Library
© Patent and Copyright Office, Library and Archives Canada

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