Image collection

Assemblee mondiale de la paix, Helsinki juin 1955

The Library holds a unique collection of images like cartoons, designs, engravings, posters, maps and photographs. Together these images form a visual supplement to the book collection. They show important historical scenes, maps, objects or persons and refer to themes and subjects, that reflect the Collection Profile of the Library. A particularly fine example is given by the posters from both the First and the Second World War. They depict themes such as War, Peace and Anti-war movements, and give vivid impressions of the horrors of war, calling for support for the war effort and the fight against fascism.

Also also covered in this collection: Bolshevism, colonialism, communism, disarmament, drugs, environment, European co-operation, the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899, Hugo Grotius, human rights, humanitarian assistance, Interbellum, labour, the Marshall Plan, National-Socialism, occupation, peace and security, peace conferences, the Peace Palace, propaganda, reconstruction, remembrance, slavery, treaties, the United Nations, Winston Churchill, Woodrow Wilson, women.

Help us describe our collection

We aim at describing and identifying our collection items as accurate and as comprehensive as possible. On some of them we have very detailed information, but on other items we have very little information. Your knowledge and information can help us! When and where were these items produced or printed, and by whom? Enjoy our collection and let us know what you think of it.

Highlights

Cartoons on the peace conference in Lausanne (1922–23)

Guignol à Lausanne. Derso et Kelèn

For centuries, cartoonists have used their pens to fight a war against war, translating images of violent conflict into symbols of protest. These images tell the story of many journalists and cartoonists around the world struggling to promote peace, justice, democracy and freedom of expression. Cartoons may amuse, provoke, stress truth or paradox in a few lines only.

In this collection, an interesting selection of 25 cartoons by Alois Derso and Emery Kelèn concerning the peace conference in Lausanne, Switzerland (1922-23). Its purpose was the negotiation of a treaty to replace the Treaty of Sèvres, which, under the new government of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was no longer recognized by Turkey. The conference resulted in the Treaty of Lausanne signed on 24 July 1923.

The Derso and Kelèn collection consists of correspondence, writings, published materials, and over 900 cartoons and caricatures in varying media ranging from pencil sketches and ink drawings to richly-hued watercolors and limited edition lithographic portfolios. 

Alois Derso (1888-1964) and Emery Kelèn (1896-1978) were two internationally famous caricaturists and political satirists, of Hungarian origin, who worked at the League of Nations for fifteen years. They drew caricatures of the League of Nations delegates and politicians, as well as significant events such as the Lausanne conference. The vast majority of the works were produced between 1920 and 1950, the active period of their collaboration.

Peace Palace architecture

Building the Peace Palace, Summer 1911. Art and craftsmen working in the studio

The Peace Palace is a remarkable building. By Dutch standards it is a building of uncommon grandeur and a very recognizable sight in the city of The Hague. However, the Peace Palace might have been a completely different building. On 15 August 1905 the Programme of the Competition for the Architectural Plan of the Peace Palace for the use of the Permanent Court of Arbitration with a Library was sent out all over the world. The competition was open to all. On the closing day, 15 April 1906, no less than 216 plans had been submitted, covering a total of more than 3.000 drawings. The collection consists of the various designs and drawings of this competition. It features original photographs of the building process and impressions of the interior and exterior of the Peace Palace, as it eventually became. Also worth mentioning are the designs for the Peace Palace gardens by British garden architect Thomas Mawson, who was famous for his designs in which garden and building form a unity.

Peace Palace postcards

Peace Palace postcard 1914

As soon as the building process of the Peace Palace was finished in 1913 it instantly became one of the landmarks of The Hague. Over the past century numerous postcards depicting this building have been sent home to family and friends with “greetings from The Hague”. The Peace Palace is such an important and iconic building for the city that it is also one of the bestselling items on souvenirs and curiosa.

Photo Album Conférence de la Paix, La Haye 1899

Photo Album Conférence de la Paix, La Haye 1899. Chinese delegation

The Library holds two albums with historical photographs of the First Hague Peace Conference of 1899. These two albums were a gift to Jonkheer J.C.N. van Eys, secretary-general of the Conference and to Dutch foreign minister and honorary chairman, Mr. W.H. de Beaufort. All key figures received a personalized photo album with red cover and letters in gold: Conference de la Paix, La Haye 1899. Wilhelmina, queen of host country The Netherlands, received a more luxurious version of the album with her portrait displayed at the front cover.

The high quality photographs shown in the albums were taken by a Polish photographer Bolesław Matuszewski (1856-1943). Matuszewski was a photographer at the Imperial Court of Tsar Nicholas II from 1897 onwards. The assignment given to him must have been quite extensive as besides the many photos he took at the Conference he also portrayed most of the heads of states of the Nations represented at the Conference.

World War I posters

World War I poster. Souscrivez emprunt a Lots

Recruitment, propaganda, rationing, support for wounded soldiers, fundraising - during the First World War posters were used to inform and rally the public as never before. The War, a new low in the annals of armed conflict, coincided with a golden age for the relatively new art of advertising. Striking and colourful posters were produced throughout the years 1914-18 to recruit soldiers, promote investment, keep up morale and, naturally, to vilify the enemy. Prominent artists paired bold images with punchy text to maximise impact.

The Library's First World War poster collection is fully available online. The variety of posters on display show us the different approaches used by the countries using the poster as an instrument of the propaganda machine. But it also is interesting just to look at the variety in designs. For example, Germany produced posters with bold imagery and a clear message and France had an obvious tradition of art posters clearly seen in their decorativeness. Millions of posters were produced during the War. Although the United States was involved in the War only by 1917, this country alone produced 2500 poster designs and approximately 20 million posters.

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