Lord Kitchener Commemorative Napkin

Today we have one of the most delicate items I have ever added to my collection. This piece of tissue paper was printed during the Great War to commemorate the loss of Lord Kitchener at sea when a cruiser on which he was a passenger was torpedoed:

The piece of tissue is approximately twelve inches square and features a portrait of Kitchener himself in the centre, with a small eulogy poem beneath and a border of small violet flowers:

Kitchener was the great hero of the British Army at the start of World War One, having risen to fame during the Boer War. By the time of his death in 1916 he had been reponsible for spearheading the creation of the New Army, dozens of new units being raised from willing volunteers. It was Kitchener’s face that stared down on people from recruiting posters and he had become an iconic and larger than life character which ensured that his death was keenly felt by the British people when it was announced. It is therefore no suprise that commemorative pieces such as this were sold, often to raise money for services charities. What is remarkable is that this example has survived and in a complete and undamaged condition.

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