With the Crimean peninsula in the news every day, it has been difficult for us not to think of an earlier Crimean conflict: the Crimean War of 1854–1856. Then, as now, the root of the conflict was a Russian super power with an expansionist agenda; though of course no story is ever that simple, there were other aggressors and other motivations at play.
In 2012 the BRLSI held an exhibition of Crimean Relics, which explored aspects of the Crimean War through items held in the BRLSI collection. Battlefield relics from the Siege of Sevastopol, contemporary weapons, and satirical cartoons from Punch magazine were used to explore the political, religious, industrial, culinary, and medicinal aspects of this conflict.
The whole exhibition is available free to browse on line, so if you’d like a chance to gain an historical perspective on this troubled region, just follow this link.
A re-working of a Punch cartoon from 1851, a parody of an Orthodox Christian icon, in which Tsar, now Putin, is seated on cannon balls, with a ramrod as a crozier, a mortar as a mitre, and a halo of bayonets.