The Hidden History of WWI comes to Cessnock Library
It’s hard to imagine finding the ‘amusing’ side of war, however acclaimed World War One cartoonist Hal Eyre did just that with his highly regarded satirical cartoons.
This rarely seen view of the War will be on show at Cessnock Library from 14-26 April 2018 in a free display of Eyre’s work, drawn from the State Library of NSW collection.
The display consists of ten panels that feature reproductions of 20 of Eyre’s cartoons, which are beautiful and enlightening illustrations of the debates and controversies of the time.
“Cartoons provide valuable social commentary on key historical events and Hal Eyre was one of the most important social commentators on the war,” said Cessnock City Library Services Co-ordinator, Rose-marie Walters.
Hal Eyre (1875–1946) was born at Sofala, NSW and attended school in Forbes and later Bathurst, where he began his artistic career by caricaturing his schoolteacher. Eyre’s cartoons were in great demand during the war and in 1908 he was employed as the regular political cartoonist for the Daily Telegraph.
According to Ms Walters, many of the Hal Eyre sketches hold hidden messages and were products of their time.
“He used animals as metaphors for nation-states and drew fascinating caricatures of well-known European and Australian leaders. Enemy nations were often represented as prevailing racial stereotypes.”
In 1920, the State Library of NSW purchased 357 original drawings he produced for the paper during World War One.