Artist Unknown: “A Happy New Year to our Gallant Soldiers” 1914.

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Artist Unknown: “A Happy New Year to our Gallant Soldiers” 1914.  We can’t improve on Dr. John Johnson’s excellent text describing this very very rare poster:   “Toward the end of 1914 as the war bogged down in the winter mud, it became clear that predictions that it would be over by Christmas had been  naïve.  Lord Kitchener had been right that the war would last much longer.  In this poster, the “gallant soldiers” who were already serving were wished a happy new year, though, of course, few of them would ever see the message.  Potential recruits, who would see the poster, are encouraged to make victory possible in 1915.  Perhaps they would be encouraged to do so by the sense of gratitude that the poster’s message implies, its sunny prediction that victory is possible—even certain—in 1915 with their help, and by its subtle appeals to patriotism and camaraderie.  The adventurous young man may want to enlist before the war ends.  Contemporary with this poster and in a similar spirit of caring for the serving soldier and with optimism about the new year, Princess Mary sent the soldiers at the front a brass tin containing small gifts, which was accompanied by her photograph and a message wishing the men a merry Christmas and a victorious New Year.”  30×20 near mint, conservation backed.