Boer War Page 92q
Rare Boer War Discoveries
Below are some of the key items the Canadian Boer War Museum has added to its collections in its ongoing efforts to preserve important Canadian heritage memorabilia from this period.

Ultra Rare Great Boer War Discoveries (Jan. 2006)


General Gordon of Khartoum Jug - 1886

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Commemorative Jug, 1885, General Gordon
Orig. ceramic pitcher - Size - 7.5"
Found - Salisbury,UK
Fabulous: Doulton Lambeth set a new standard for commemorative jugs with the one that honoured General Gordon after he was martyred in 1885. That was shortly followed by a similar one for Emin Pasha, the man Gordon had appointed Governor of Equatoria in the Southern Sudan. These two jugs are a fabulous high-water mark for Victorian celebratory ceramic ware. To find them in superb shape after 120 years of being knocked about by passing generations is a special treat.

Parian busts were also produced during the 1890s by Robinson & Leadbeater, like that one below.

Khartoum - General Gordon

Seldom in History are a man and a place so bound up in tales of wild adventure in exotic places as are celebrated in this fabulously rare jug from an age when men gambled their very lives for the experience.

General Charles "Chinese" Gordon was the son of a career officer in the British Army and fought with distinction in the Crimean War (1853-56). As an engineering officer he volunteered to go to China (1862) to strengthen the defences of the European community in Shanghai which was being threatened by a Chinese rebellion. A year later he was head of a 3,500 men peasant army raised to defend the city. His men played a key role in suppressing the rebellion. He returned home a hero whom the press called "Chinese" Gordon, a name which stuck.

In 1872 he was appointed Governor of Equatoria - in the southern Sudan - where he mapped the upper Nile and established posts all the way to Uganda. He was promoted to Governor-General and vigorously suppressed the slave trade. But his tropical exertions taxed his health and he returned to England to recuperate in 1880.

Gordon returned to the Sudan in 1884 to evacuate Egyptian forces from Khartoum because a Muslim uprising was spreading through the region. A British relief column was sent to rescue him. But in a letter to his sister Gordon disdainfully dismissed the demeaning implication: "I decline to agree that your Expedition is for my relief." Rather it was for the relief of the men of the garrison.

But Gordon refused to move, and admit a failure of his generalship that that might entail, holding out past the last possible moment. The Mahdi's army of feverishly angry Muslims overran Khartoum and Gordon was killed on the steps of his palace.

His head was shown to the Mahdi and then spiked up in a roadway so that passing Muslim pilgrims could cast stones at it. At last each could display their personal anger at the foreigners who had come so far from their homeland to enforce their rule by arms over a helpless people of a different culture and religion.

(The parallels in the Middle East are strikingly similar today on every level.)

The British public was outraged that their government had done too little, too late to save Gordon of Khartoum and he became revered as a martyred warrior saint. The jug captures some of this anger with the word Betrayed replacing the customary Died in front of his death date.

This jug was produced to reflect and capture the idolatry that the British public associated with "Chinese" Gordon of Khartoum.

Historians have been less kind, suggesting that Gordon defied orders and could have safely evacuated his force until very late in the siege.

The relief efforts came too late to save General Gordon, but perhaps something could be done to save Emin Pasha, Gordon's Governor of Equatoria, whom the Mahdi's army had not yet captured.

See the Emin Pasha jug.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
Parian Bust, General Gordon 1885
Orig. parian bust - Size - 8.25"
Found - New York, NY
Signed & Dated, WC Lawton, R&L

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