Drawing of a horse and mule sale in Belgium after the war

Percival drawing own photos (formal digitisation happening but using this in short term OK).jpg

Description

This is a drawing of a market scene in a Belgian town. It shows Australian soldiers involved in a horse and mule sale, which is taking place in a marketplace full of civilians, children, and animals. It was created by Cecil Percival in 1919.

Context

This drawing depicts a scene from a period after the Armistice, in which Australian soldiers are participating in a horse and mule sale in a Belgian town where they were encamped waiting to be demobilised. In the marketplace, soldiers interact with the civilian population, indicating a process of the return to normality during the period of demobilisation. After the Armistice, all Australian Imperial Force soldiers went into camps awaiting demobilisation via troop transports to Australia. At the end of the fighting, there were around 92,000 Australian soldiers in France waiting to be transported home. By May 1919 the last Australian soldiers had been removed from France.

The artist who created this drawing, Cecil Percival, was a cartoonist and illustrator who, during the war, contributed to “Aussie”, a newspaper for troops in the trenches. He also worked with the Australian War Records Section in London and, after the war, became principal cartoonist for the Sydney “Bulletin.”