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ALLENBY, Edmund (Field Marshal, 1st Viscount Allenby, 1861-1936) – Jerusalem Captured: The Holy City Wrested from the Turks. [No place or date, but probably London: c. 1918-1919].

Very large poster celebrating Allenby's capture of Jerusalem.

Poster (592 x 845 mm.), large panoramic vignette in upper half of the city of Jerusalem, seen from the Mount of Olives, with 4 smaller vignettes including 3 further views of Jerusalem and a portrait of Allenby. (Printed on one sheet and later dissected into 8 equal-sized panels, the whole expertly reassembled with tape to verso, pinholes at each corner and central upper margin, general light creasing and scattered stains outside of main image, one insignificant 25 mm. tear at lower right margin and dogear at lower right corner, otherwise in very good condition.)

The main body text of the poster narrates the British Empire’s capture of Jerusalem from the Turks, preceded by the conquest of Beersheba, Gaza and Jaffa from October to December 1917, as the British rolled northwards along the Palestine Front.

The news of the capture of Jerusalem was received with great admiration in Britain and was exploited by the press as a romantic victory in contrast to the muddy slaughter of the Western Front. The text in the current poster interprets the victory as one steeped in Biblical history and the romance of the Crusades in order to serve the purpose of uplifting the general morale of a broken nation. Allenby was congratulated by the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, claiming the momentous moment as an event of historic and world-wide significance. The present poster survives in several languages - including Spanish - demonstrating the narrative’s appeal to an international audience. Conscious of the city’s special significance for three of the world’s great religions, in a deliberate act of humility and respect, Allenby entered Jerusalem on foot through the Jaffa Gate on 11 December 1917.

The American journalist, Lowell Thomas, found in the battlefields of Egypt, Palestine and Arabia a romantic contrast to the Western Front, and was able to use the Middle Eastern theatre to encourage America to support the Allies in the war. In T.E. Lawrence, the liaison officer with the Sharifian Army appointed by Allenby, Thomas found a modern-day romantic hero. Dubbed 'Lawrence of Arabia', both TE's and Allenby's public profiles were raised by English impresario Percy Burton who brought Thomas' stage show 'With Allenby in Palestine and Lawrence in Arabia' to the London stage in 1919. In this context, the present poster with its photographic images, panorama of Jerusalem, and headlining text, may well have served the purpose of promotional material related to Lowell’s famous travelogue.
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