Copyright Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996-1999-2005
This picture actually captures the real horror of the battle at Colenso, and war generally. Men and horses get slaughtered.
Hayman's pen and ink sketch has wonderfully captured the look of panic in the horse's eye as it surveys the ghastly scene in front of it.
No dumb animal, it knows this is no place for man or beast, though the political leaders of the day, who orchestrated this event, feel otherwise.
It is not a horror they want shared with their electorate, who might just be as appalled as the horse at what is unfolding and refuse to support a war which is ghastly beyond belief.
Below on the left one horse watches as two of his mates are down. One is spurting blood from its mouth; another is going down on the right.
And men are down: a driver is pinned and probably dead under the dead horse, his hand under its neck; another is crawling in anguish in the back; a third is being trampled by a team in the rear.
The real horror of what is going on cannot be appreciated until one notes that the white clouds along the ridges, are, in fact, solid walls of gun smoke from a deadly rifle fire, at close range from hundreds of Boers firing non - stop into the helplessly exposed men and horses. Very few survived.
(In fact it is probably the worst massacre of a British artillery unit in history. The Boers captured 10 of the 12 British guns. Losing any gun is the worst disgrace an army could suffer in Victorian times.)
Broken limbs, bodies, blood gushing... horrible. But it's what men do to each other in war...
A fine realistic picture, but no press baron would publish it in 1900 lest it undermine the war effort.
Hundreds of thousands of horses were killed in the Boer War, and thousands of British soldiers, in the most photographed war in history.
Yet it is virtually impossible to find any photo of a dead horse, or a dead British soldier, published in any British publication, during the most "pictured" war in history, with tens of thousands of war images published from October 1899 till December 1900.
We have seen one photo showing one or two dead horses at Colenso (out of scores that were killed.) And one at Elandslaagte. That's it pretty well, for the whole war.
Sometimes British artists sketched one "tastefully dead" horse in a picture.
No blood; no gore; no twisted limbs: no horrid death throes like those shown in the Hayman sketch.
Though the British did publish a few pictures showing Boers blown apart.
The Boers retaliated by publishing numerous large and famous photos of the British dead, grotesquely distorted after the Battle of Spion Kop, from which the British retreated in January 1900, after losing hundreds killed.
These famous propaganda photos are collectors items today.
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure||
Another fabulous pen and ink sketch of the same event, the loss of the guns at Colenso, by W Hayman, which he drew only weeks after the event.
But what a difference; same event but totally different images. Will the real historic event please stand up...!
We now know this is the picture of what really happened; the John Innes picture is what the press barons at the time wanted people to see.
Innes - probably paid by a newspaper publisher, "John, give us a heroic, patriotic spin" - took pay to tart up a picture that would win popular support for the war so the public would continue to fund the conflict, and young men more eager to sign up to fight and die for their
Hayman gave us a picture no newspaper baron at the time would publish. But it would have undermined public support for a war the political elites wanted.
Colouring the news is what media calumnists in any country are paid to do, which is why there is such a feverish, ongoing clamour by the rich, especially in "democracies," to get total control of all media outlets so they can impose their views on what "news" citizens will be allowed to get. You got it; exactly like in the Fascist dictatorships, for the same reason.
|Loss of the Guns at Colenso - W Hayman, Feb. 1900|
Orig. pen and ink - Image Size - 30 x 46 cm
Superb Creative Artist - Another look at how John Innes used a pen to create form and shadow in an action picture.
Not to mention depth, perspective, dust, atmosphere...
And the coiled body mass of a leaping horse, and a straining driver inside his uniform...
Oh, and don't forget the noise John Innes gets you to hear - horses whinnying as they leap and come crashing down, harness leather creaking, chains clinking, hoofs pounding, whip cracking, driver yelling... and overall the buzzing of bullets cutting the air, and slapping into horse flesh...
Some may feel the stirring of emotion, from the killing of helpless horses...
All done with black ink only, and one thin pen, but the enormous talent of a truly creative artist - John Innes.
Now go find any of this below in this - is it any wonder? - "untitled" work by Canadian modernist artist Riopelle.
Actually we may be confused here. Perhaps this was actually done by famed Canadian painter Emily Carr's pet monkey, Woo... OK, admittedly, perhaps on a bad day. We're not sure.
But we are sure it is not capturing a fine Canadian heritage moment, or a stirring human drama documenting the people, places, and events of a major conflict and battlefield tragedy which saw scores of horses and scores of men cut down.
We actually believe that Riopelle has "lost it" - the chance to create a Great Canadian Heritage Moment... choosing instead to merely waste his time doing "decorator" art for some corporate executive washroom wall...
|Great Canadian Heritage Treasure||
A fabulous Victorian pen and ink drawing from another master artist, Canadian John Innes, who drew this in the patriotic frenzy in the opening months of the Boer War, when everyone in the British Empire was transfixed with the celebrated Loss of the Guns at Colenso, in December, 1899.
It was one of the three huge British defeats at the hands of the Boers, during Black Week, but British and Canadian artists snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by concentrating on the heroics, instead of the awful losses, and the actual retreat of the British Army from the site.
Refashioning the truth to fool the masses, in effect, turning defeats into victory, is still, in 2010, the main job of journalists and media calumnists, who are working overtime for their rich bosses to make it look like the Canadian Forces and their NATO partners are actually winning a war against those dastardly Muslims in Afghanistan, when, in fact, they have lost more men, territory, and hearts and minds, with every passing year.
|Pen and Ink Drawing, The Loss of the Guns (at Colenso) - John Innes|
Orig. drawing - Image Size - 33 x 49 cm
Hallowed Ground - Canadian historian John Goldi stands in exactly the spot where the driver in the sketch is trying to control the horses on the battlefield at Colenso, South Africa.