Set of original designs by Delandre for patriotic vignettes used during World War One, including two commemorating the ANZACs.
[France : Delandre, 1916]. A set of six original handmade designs, together with the printer’s proof sheet, for patriotic and propaganda charity stamps intended to raise money for the Triple Entente powers and the Red Cross in World War One. These designs were created and subsequently printed and issued as vignette labels (for use on mailing envelopes) by the French publisher Delandre, probably in late 1916. They notably include two designs commemorating the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), and two others encouraging investment in the Imperial Russian Government’s war loans of 1916.
I. Text: Glory of the Anzac! In honour of the Australian soldiers and officers. 92 x 75 mm; photomontage with gouache shadowing and lettering; laid down on original card backing; verso with contemporary inscription in pencil, in French: ‘Buste de La Guerre, par M. Bertram MacKennal, offert à l’Australie en mémoire des Anzac[s]’. Fine. (This design was published by Delandre, and an example of the issued vignette can be viewed at stampboards.com)
Note: Australian sculptor Bertram MacKennal first offered his bust entitled War, or Bellona – Goddess of War to the Australian government in 1916, to honour Australian soldiers, in particular the ANZACs. Although the government accepted the gift it would be another five years before the artist received a thank you letter, during which time the statue languished in a Melbourne cellar. The bust went on public display for the first time on ANZAC Day, 1921, on the steps of Parliament House, Melbourne. In 1926 it was relocated to Canberra, where it was displayed outside Albert Hall on Canberra Avenue. Since 1999 the work has been on display in the Australian War Memorial’s Sculpture Garden.
II. Text: Glory of the Anzac! 1914-1917 Egypt Dardanelles France. 60 x 92 mm; photomontage with gouache shadowing and lettering; laid down on original card backing. Fine. (This design was also published by Delandre, and an example of the issued vignette can be viewed at stampboards.com)
III. Text: Gott strafe Deutschland. [=God punish Germany]. 60 x 92 mm; photomontage with gouache shadowing and lettering; laid down on original card backing. Fine.
IV. Text: Florence Nightingale. In Memoriam 1916. 90 x 75 mm; photomontage with gouache shadowing and lettering; laid down on original card backing; verso with contemporary inscription in pencil, in French: ‘d’après le Monument commemoratif de St. Paul’. Some light marks.
Note: The Memorial to Florence Nightingale by Arthur George Walker (1861-1936) is an alabaster relief sculpture set in marble, completed in 1916 and installed in the crypt of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.
V. Text in Russian: ПОКУПАЙТЕ ВОЕННЫЙ 5 1/2% ЗАЕМЪ… [=Buy Military Loans, 5.5%]. 100 x 60 mm; photomontage with gouache shadowing and lettering; laid down on original card backing. Some light marks.
VI. Text in Russian: ОЕННЫЙ 5 1/2% ЗАЕМЪ… [=Military Loans, 5.5%]. 100 x 60 mm; photomontage with gouache shadowing and lettering; laid down on original card backing. Fine.
VII. Delandre printer’s proof sheet, 125 x 140 mm, featuring all six of the above designs in the colour (sepia tone) and the dimensions (up to 60 mm) which the published versions of these vignettes would have; two repaired tears on reverse.
‘Gaston Aime Camille Fontanille (1883-1923), also known just as Delandre, was a French entrepreneur and conman born in Valence, the son of a magistrate. One of Delandre’s many schemes was the invention of the Delandre vignette which was a popular form of label or poster stamp during World War I. He started by reproducing Italian regimental vignettes when the supply of originals proved insufficient for his needs. From there he expanded to include French army stamps and ultimately he produced over 4000 different patriotic stamps which have become a popular collecting area in cinderella philately. Delandre responded to claims of forgery of the Italian vignettes by claiming that they were ‘re-impressions’. He explained in a 1916 letter that he sold three types, real ones, re-impressions and new stamps that he created himself. He also stated that he had produced successful facsimiles. Detailed catalogues of Delandre’s oeuvre have been produced by Charles Kiddle and Walter Schmidt.
Following the success of Delandre’s other productions, the French Red Cross asked him to produce similar stamps for them in order to raise funds. Unfortunately, despite selling many stamps, Delandre failed to pay the Red Cross their share of the proceeds and in 1917 he was arrested. By 1925 he was on the run after perpetrating yet another fraud involving silver foxes. He ended up in Marseille and under the guise of Baron Edmond Picarat he began another fraud by starting a leprosy charity. On the verge of being discovered, he committed suicide by taking poison on 10th March 1927. He was buried as Edmond Picarat until his true identity was discovered some months later.’ (Wiki)