Drawings of the Franco-German war of 1870-71: a new acquisition at Cambridge University Library

Last year Cambridge University Special Collections acquired, with the help of the Friends of the Library, a notebook of 47 drawings, probably produced by an unidentified soldier towards the end of the 19th century (MS Add. 10300). This acquisition adds to the library’s holdings of primary material relating to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, which ranges from bound volumes of contemporary caricatures (KF.3.9-14, see the earlier blogpost) to directories of caricaturists and their work (such as Berleux’s La caricature politique en France pendant la guerre, le siège de Paris et la Commune, 1870-1871, Lib.5.89.27 and Gallica) and facsimiles of posters produced during the Paris Commune (See Les murailles politiques francaises and Les affiches de la Commune). The interest of the notebook does not lie in the artistic talent of its creator, but rather in the examination of his visual culture, through the identification of the illustrations from contemporary books and prints which inspired his own drawings. The investigation of the sources he used reveals the kind of illustrated material he had access to, which is also key for the dating of the manuscript.

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CUL, MS Add. 10300

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