From the beginning of human progress, artists have recorded, or have been instructed to record, not only domestic, mystic or hunting scenes, but also to depict scenes of fighting and warfare as well. Originally, they did this on flat rock surfaces with pigments, or by engravings in stone. The resulting images were one- dimensional. Later civilisations, like the Egyptians for instance, vastly improved this artform, and from there it developed creatively over the centuries until today. The guest speaker at our meeting on 12 March 98, ANGUS MCBRIDE, one of our foremost illustrators of military history, took us on a highly informative trip, accompanied by the showing of slides, from the (lost) baffle of Kadesh, where it was imperative to restore the King's tarnished image in the eyes of his people, via Greek, Roman and European battles, where military paintings and illustrations became successively more elaborate, crowded and dramatic,through to when they reached their pinnacle, during the reign of Napoleon, when war- and battle scenes - were cleverly manipulated to glorify the Emperor of France. From there it was one step to the present-day propaganda pictures that were produced to sway and indoctrinate people, with, perhaps, the exception of the Great War which created its own generation of artists who did not flinch from gory, depressing or brutal details.
ANGUS then turned to his own drawings and illustrations of uniforms, and vividly described the' scope of his research that was necessary before he could even start on a picture. To be able to be as accurate as possible, he has to take many photographs, make many sketches and talk to many military experts. His studies have taken him to many parts of the world: to museums, to exhibitions of weapons, to picture galleries, photographic collections and even to other illustrators.
Each one of his superior book covers, a selection of which was shown by Committee Member Johan van den Berg, demonstrates his love of his fascinating profession and his painstaking devotion to detail.
An appreciative, although rather small audience applauded the speaker for his interesting discourse, and Major Tony Gordon thanked him on behalf of all present.
Thursday, 14 May 1998 Meeting No.246
GERMAN PARATROOPS IN BELGIUM AND THE ASSAULT ON FORTRESS HOLLAND -1940 When German assault gliders landed on the roof of the Belgian Fortress Eben Emael with their teams of paratroops early on 10 May 1940, they initiated an entirely new concept in warfare that was to shape many subsequent military airborne operations around the globe. Talk by Johan van den Berg
The December 1998 edition of the Military History Journal will be a special Anglo-Boer War edition. Suitable contributions in written or illustrative form are invited from members of the public. They should be submitted as soon as possible, but no later than the end of August.
Meetings of the Cape Town Branch are normally held on the second Thursday of each month (barring December) at 20h00 (8.00 pm sharp), in the Recreation Hall of the SA LEGION'S ROSEDALE COMPLEX, Lower Nursery Road, Rosebank, (off Alma Road), opposite the Rosebank railway station, below the line. Visitors are welcome. Donation R 3.00. Scholars and Students free. Tea and biscuits will be served.
John Mahncke, (Vice-Chairman/Scribe), (021) 797 5167